Beautiful drive up from Bonn to Westerfalia. Ulf powers us up the road with just the one ice-cream break and a quick stop to buy a memory card. Garrison Starr knocks out a cover of 'Gin and Juice' on the car stereo and I can't get over how brilliant it sounds...'motherfucker' never melted so sweetly. We arrive at Beatrix and Guido's place, what a welcome, great folk and a beautiful wee room for myself in a stunning spot...we're freshened up and fed and we're off...touring is a grind. I kind of doze on the way and miss the name of the town and spend all night forgetting it (I'm a visual learner) Venue is mental...a crazy attic section of a big old house converted into a quirky, warm, inviting music venue. They've even made Shane a wooden dolphin display on the stage matching the artwork of his new album, he's gob smacked, now there's a way to start a night. The show starts a bit later than planned as the stragglers arrive, which is fine by me as it gives me more time to check out this mad wee place and chat away to Manuela who owns the big old Mercedes bus out front and the lads and lasses who booked the show. I do a six song warm up, the crowd are lovely and the room sounds great. I even throw in a song I just finished this afternoon and forget half the words and chords but no one minds and sings along anyway! A lad from over the road with a mad laugh christens my new untitled song 'Polish' which was fair enough cause it probably does need wee bit more shine on it. I later find out that he's newly arrived in Germany from Poland and so far only speaks two words of German or English 'Polish' and 'Minimal'...I suppose on reflection 'Minimal' would have hurt more. Shane's up and he knocks out the show, drawing on the fantastic and warm crowd singing along and getting them involved...the new album material goes down a storm and aside from a minor guitar strap malfunction the night is a belter! A wee impromptu acoustic session breaks out after hours and the lads and lasses are belting out the tunes, I manage a respectable 2 am before my head starts to nod on my chest and Ulf & Mel fire us back along the road...'Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice...laid back'...a long sleep awaits...motherfuckers.
Mornin Germany! Fairly fragile the day after the evenings escapades! A smooth and tortilla fuelled eight-hour train ride from Vienna to Köln via Frankfurt at 290 odd kmph, picked up by the brilliant drivers, hosts, fixers, Mel and Ulf and straight to The Fiddlers in Bonn for a Songwriters Night. Well obviously you'd have to throw a few beers at it to loosen the vocal chords but I'm not sure if all of them were really necessary. Bonn is a great wee city of 300 000 people on the Rhine, South of Cologne (Köln) and The Fiddlers is a beaut of a spot...beams, ancient walls, nooks and crannies and Kölsch beer which Shane swears can't give you a hangover...a truth that has been tested and found wanting. The night begins with a couple of local lads on their first gig a wee electric and acoustic combo, cracking voice and melodies, fair play, great wee tunes! No one wants to go second... so I go second. Seems like a good idea at the time, tactically it leaves me even more time for beer and nattering to the locals. Shane Ó'Fearghail smashes it up on stage and the pub is singing along already...some boy! Some great acts tonight, including a redheaded duo (twins or the whisky?) and a lovely fella Shae from Belfast...place is hopping. One last song with Shane 'Twa Recruiting Segeants' bit wobbly but a forgiving audience.
I'm now smashed and hungry...one of the owners Maggie kindly rustles us up a late night sandwich and I'm poured into Mel & Ulfs spare room and I've been thoroughly introduced to Germany. Wakey wakey eggs and headachey. Next show tonight direction Hanover (I'm on a need to know basis) a cheeky two and a half car ride and we're offski!
Wahey! It's like waiting for buses...very happy to announce that I'll be supporting the ridiculously talented Shane Ó'Fearghail on four dates of his 'Almost Summer Tour' in Germany at the end of May. Shane's just about to bring out his third studio album on 9th June 2016 (release show at WUK Vienna) and I'll be lucky/foolish enough to warm up his audiences for him...lord knows I wouldn't want to follow him. Check out his website if you get the chance...fantastic and hard working Irish musician based here in Vienna as well...suck em and see.
Great news that I just landed a spot on the Exposure Festival line-up this year! A beautiful festival that I was lucky enough to play at last year...fantastic artists and organizers, enthusiastic audiences and a glorious part of the world...really looking forward to this one again! Also great news for some fellow members of the VSC (Vienna Songwriting Circle) Claudia Heidegger and Jack Roots will also be treading the boards this year as well. Doug Andrews also rumoured to be joining us for the road trip and a helping out with a wee workshop...it promises to be a weekend to test the resolve and the livers of us all...cannae wait!