Sunday, 21 January 2018

Gigs and dive bars,

Hoping you all had a great festive season. After a short rest we start 2018 in earnest!

We finished 2017 in the snow of Germany. With a short 5 date tour, taking in the historic city of Nurmburg. We arrive the night before the show, and go of for a wander to discover the delights of this ancient and beautiful city.

It is late and the bars are sadly closed. The cold starts to bite and we despair of finding a local hostelry that will sell refreshment to the weary traveller, such as we.
Luckily, one of our party spots a bar closing, the wrought iron chairs scrape along the pavement alerting us to their presence. Inside the small dark venue as the heavy velvet curtains are drawn tight.

We ask if perhaps there is time for just one quick drink, after which we will be on our merry way, all the better for the refreshment we can hope to find within.

Our gracious host explains that we are of course welcome, however, we must know that although in all appearance closed to the outside world. The bar is in fact well known to the locals as a sort of speakeasy.
A small wrap on the window allows entrance to those wishing to have a small nightcap before retiring to rest their weary head.

I think we left a 4am, not really sure. But a fantastic bar, Not a large choice of spirits, but what they did have was good and we sampled the lot!! Cool and friendly people too, who showed a lot of interest in the strangers from a strange land.

Of course, when in Nurmburg a visit to Zeppelinstrasse just has to be done before heading to sound check. A good show to start the ball rolling and an extra-long Moby Dick from Pete the Beat. He is from Liverpool y’know!

We have illustrious company with us, and with a day off to enjoy this great city of Berlin , I thought a city tour would entertain our guest.
A short cab ride and we find ourselves in the Boho part of town, in the old East Berlin sector. Where graffiti adorns the walls and trendy dive bars appear every few yards.

Well, to fend off the hag of winter our first stop is a cool looking dive bar, just fortify ourselves for the walk around town in the biting cold, that gnaws at our feet. Full of locals who are all very charming and welcoming to us.

I forget just how many double Amarettos we consumed. But that bar became the extent of our city tour. Before braving the winter cold back to our hotel.

Great city Berlin, love it.

Knowing that it is near the end of the tour, we are doing 4 or 5 encores a night now. Everyone is full of festive spirit, oh, and full of other spirits too,

To Erfurt then, and a lovely old medieval town where Martin Luther lived as a monk.

At last we finally get to do the authentic German Christmas market!
Gluhwein, even an Amaretto version. And upon tipping our gracious Taverner he will ring a bell and bellow at the top of his voice something about drinkgeld, money for booze!
Good man!

Then the snow came.

The last of the Germany shows was fantastic, NEURUPPIN - Kulturhaus Stadtgarten. After 5 encores we left the venue to the small scattering of snowflakes falling gently upon us from the dark and doleful sky.
Very pretty of course, but with a three hour drive to Frankfurt airport the next day we decided on an early start as not to miss the flight due to the adverse weather conditions.

We made it home ok, and made it to Amsterdam for the final show of 2017. Always good to play Amsterdam. To see so many regulars and new friends too.

2018 got of to a fantastic start when I heard that Liberation, one of the most important national newspapers in all of France has a music section, one that most artist would kill their bass player to get even a sentence in this prestigious publication. Well, guess who got the whole page front cover picture? Yes that's right, your truly!

But I digress, last night the Hertford Corn Exchange, Really good venue, and only a 50 minute drive home for me to Ealing, Do you know Ealing? Marvin Gaye sang about it?
His big hit from 1982?

‘When you live in Ealing hmmmmmmm………….. that …….. Sexual Ealing ……ahhh yeah’
Oh c’mon you must have heard it?

As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of Led Zeppelin, this is the theme of our tour this year  Performing the entire spectrum of the music from this most iconic of bands.
A good turn-out from  a lively audience, who lapped up every second. Not only great to get out and play what seems an eternity. Even though poor Andy is still suffering from the crippling after effects of the Flu. We all put in a fine performance, blew away the cobwebs and a chance for us to try out some new material for the up and coming tour of Spain which starts in just over a week.

From whence I am sure, there will be more tales of gore!

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