Photo: Team V

Denver, Col. – We had an off day in the Mile High City this past Thursday and a gig there at The Church. It went like this:

11:30 a.m.: I’m woken up by the sound of things crashing onto the ground. I assume it’s my toiletry bag that was chillin’ on the top bunk, so I try to go back to sleep. Shortly, the beeping of the refrigerator outside of the studio/bunk-room door tells me what really happened. Once again, Markus was the last one to bed, and once again, the fridge has flown open during our bumpy ride. Markus! The smoothies, deli meats and hummus all survived the fall. The glass jar of pickles, though, has created a stinky danger zone.

1:40 p.m.: “All I want to do today is go for a bike ride.” It’s not long before he realizes his bike is still chained outside of the hotel in Austin. Markus!

10:30 p.m.: For the first time, we get a really good chunk of the crew together to go out on the town. We spend an hour or so at Shotgun Willie’s for “Dirty Nerdy Girl” night or something like that, and I think that what this production is missing is go-go dancers.

12:30 a.m.: I’m in the restroom at Denver’s Beta club, overhearing a girl who is freaking out because Markus Schulz is in the house. Indeed, he is hanging out behind Super8 & Tab during their set, which includes their remix of “Perception” from his Scream album. KhoMha is there, too, being greeted by fan after fan, and Markus smiles, “I love watching this part. Give him five years of this, and…” he makes an upward motion with his hand. When we depart, he is handed a flyer for his own show at The Church tomorrow.

April 26 (show day)

11:15 a.m.: Time to ditch the cozy hotel and board the bus to the venue. We’re all a little slow this morning.

“You missed it last night,” Markus pipes up. “We got stranded at IHOP! The manager eventually had to drive us all home.” And that is another reason I don’t do after-party “dining.” He pops in a classic WWF DVD. The audio to that is fun to listen to while watching the webisode that was posted by our documentarians about the first few days of the tour.

3:00 p.m.: Since Markus has bought a new bike, he takes it around the city, stopping at Wax Trax – a classic haven for vinyl junkies. When I worked for him at Plastik Records back in the day, I thought that vinyl would never die. Now that music is stored on USB sticks, life is easier for everyone. Veterans like Markus, however, still have thousands of pieces of old vinyl in storage containers.

Photo: Sarah Gianetto

7:15 p.m.: Sound check. New parts are being added to the show, and there’s a renewed giddiness coming from Markus. He’s also excited to bring his production to the venue where he has performed for the last four Thanksgiving Eves in a row. I’m thrilled to check out The Church myself, and get lost exploring the maze of rooms of what used to be an actual house of worship. The M Machine is back from a one-show hiatus, having played Atlanta instead in of Tulsa. “I’m happy to be back with my family,” smiles Swardy.

Markus returns to the bus and watches more WWF. “If you could wrestle another DJ, who would it be?” I ask.

“Well, we’d need a heel… because obviously, trance is the good, so we would need someone from another genre that the crowd wants to fail.” He gets distracted by his favorite wrestler, Sugar someone-or-other, and doesn’t complete my interview.

11:30 p.m.: Tonight’s meet-&-greet begins with Markus playing bartender in the green room (except for me, because he’s a bully) and ends with goth dancing in the basement. KhoMha doesn’t skip a beat before joining in. We have time to groove to one song—the original “Midnight City” by M83—before Markus has to get on stage. I sneak down once in a while during his set and dance some more by myself (don’t tell). I feel complete when I have danced to The Church at The Church.

2:30 a.m.: “How much fun was downstairs tonight?” Markus glows, back on the bus. He uses YouTube to pull up some classics: Front242, Nitzer Ebb, Lords of Acid, The Smiths, and again, The Church. Every day, KhoMha learns some new cultural history on this tour. I continue my solo dance party. This make me happy.

It’s 3:03 in the 303, and Markus is ending his ’80s set with U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name.” I say that it was trance before there was trance. He adds, “It’s so epic… moments like this make you want to be alive.”

I can’t believe that we’re hitting the road again. I can’t believe that we have another show tomorrow. And I can’t believe that this is going to end soon.