Delta Riffs, Texas Sagebrush, American Blues
2015 European Tour Blog Part 2
We hightailed it out of there and drove 160 kph (about 100 mph) the whole way, got there 30 minutes before the gig start time, set up and hit the stage about 15 minutes late. Not too bad! And not too good either. We don't have any crew with us - no tour manager, Front of House mixer, merch salesperson. So I do all of the logistics, and I didn't check the start time. 3 PM on a Saturday gig? My bad.
Our gig there- at "Zur Sonne" turned out to be one of the most interesting experiences we had. The place was a bed and breakfast house that also hosted small events like wedding receptions and family reunions, and bands once a month. They have a nice little stage.
The crowd sat on picnic chairs at little tables and chewed their food while watching us play. It was a nice day- about 72° and few clouds in the sky. They had a little bar next to the stage, and the beer was flowing. After the gig they served us hot dogs and french fries.
A little while after we finished our sets,the matron Alida Hisku grabbed the microphone and belted out a traditional Albanian song! Apparently she was a sensation back in Albania and surely misses the spotlight.
We spent the rest of the evening drinking beer in their living room which had been converted into a bar. They had a small aggressive dog that fearlessly growled at me in between drinking cap-fulls of beer. As the night wore on, the dog got belligerent and was ejected from the room. Alida talked about singing for 3 hours everyday, kept our beers full and gave us some old Albanian currency.
The next morning the proprietor Thomas took us on a tour of the nearby town of Fulda, and its impressive baroque architecture- churches and government buildings that were spared the mass bombings of World War II. Golden pineapples adorn the rooftops of some of these old buildings, and symbolized great wealth back in the mid 1700s.
The south of Germany has a charm to the rolling countryside. My imagination ran wild with the thousands of years of human history that transpired in those hills and valleys. The old stucco and wood farmhouses lend the place an elegance in its advanced age. Our drive that day went right through the heart of this countryside to our next stop (was one I was really looking forward to) Reichenbach an der Fils, a small town southeast of Stuttgart. The venue is a big hall up on a hillside with a large stage and excellent lighting and PA system. The first time we played there the crowd was small (60 or so) but enthusiastic. The guy that ran the lights told us it was one of the top 10 shows he had ever seen there, and that next time there we could expect a bigger crowd. Sure enough, there were a lot more this time. It's fantastic to see the progress that we make tour after tour.
It was a good place for me to have my pic taken with the Tonehunter amp I am lucky to use (thanks again Ralf!). I always get great compliments on my tone from the audience and sound techs when I use the Tonehunter. If you are a gear head, check out Ralf's site HERE. Aside from the excellent circuit design and tone stack, Ralf always uses the absolute highest quality components and everyone can tell the difference.
The next morning we got rolling early and headed back north to Vriezenveen, back to Anko and Helga's place. We had an early gig there- this was a Sunday- at a bar in town right next to the Shamrock (our go-to place to eat). Anko's good friend Thijs Jeurissen-Borst was there and took some great pictures (see below).
After a few shows, we were really hitting our stride and refined our sets. The new tunes we added were working quite well, especially the title track from the soon-to-be-released CD, Skin and Boneswas especially fun to play. John, Eric and I trade 4's (4 bars of soloing) on Freddie King's Going Down, and that became one of the highlights of the night!
We had the next two days off, and did some laundry at Anko and Helga's place. And of course we hung out at cafés...
"Yes. I know we have coffee shops in the US, but you are more likely to see people glomming free wi-fi, bent over their laptops in private worlds, or else grabbing a go cup of some high-end mocha. I think go-cups must be an American phenomenon, representing everything a European café is not.
In Europe, when you occupy a table you have that table for an indefinite time. There is no sense that you are on a schedule, and must be constantly consuming something to justify your existence there. At first we thought the service was just bad until we understood that their waiters did not hover expectantly. If you want something bad enough you can walk over to them. It's a courtesy really, not intruding or rushing you." - John Kessler
Wanting to get some exercise, we rented some bicycles in Dem Ham and rode into the little town of Ommen. It was a perfect day, and the ride through the countryside was fantastic!