Friday, 1 November 2013

Day 9 Maastricht, NL to Potsdam, DE

We had decided to get up at 10 the next day so we could have a jam with Kees in his practice room downstairs. As per usual we got up late, but still went and had a jam. Kees has a totally cool set up; a beautiful piano, drums and a butt-load of synths. We jammed for about half an hour, a totally great way to start the day. We went back upstairs and wanted to get a nice photo of us all together on my birthday, here's what came out:

We said goodbye to our good buddy Kees and set off on our way to Potsdam. Having a 6.5 hour drive on your birthday isn't always the one, especially when you're running an hour late. We sent a text to Katja (in Potsdam) letting her know that we would be an hour later than we'd hoped and she replied saying that there was no rush!

It was motorways all the way on the 400 mile drive to Potsdam, 300 miles of that being on the same road. By the time we arrived we were feeling tired, smelly and a little bit mental. Tonight we were playing at the Black Flecke, a really cool squat in Potsdam, which is about an hour south of Berlin. We came here to party after our show the last time we played in Potsdam and had an absolute blast. We were greeted by the ever beaming Katja who had prepared and INCREDIBLE meal of soup, salad, mashed potato and baked vegetable parcels amongst other wonderful things. Katja had also made me a birthday cake!

We were playing with an Italian band called Fuzz Orchestra, who had already arrived and were sitting down ready to eat with us. We'd also be playing with them the night 
after in Leipzig, so it was wonderful to find out that they were super nice people and complete dudes to boot. We finished eating and had a beer, we were starting to feel a bit more like human beings. Sam had made my birthday super great by getting everyone we had played for on the tour to sign a card as well as bringing party poppers, some PBR (really great\crap beer from America), candles for the cake and giving me a book on Engrish. What a lad.

We finished dinner and went downstairs to set up the gear in front of the stage. Quite a lot of people arrived and we played at 11. We played quite loud and pretty well, I think we're starting to get into the swing of it now! Finally it was time to relax after a really long day... and by relax I mean have a lot of beers and watch Fuzz Orchestra. It was really nice talking to people after the show, some people had seen us play on our previous tour in Potsdam and other places. It's great to see that people are coming back to see us play. We went to bed at about 5.30am in our bunk beds (bunk beds!). What a rad evening.

Day 8 Reims, FR to Maastricht, NL

Francesco - Possibly the coolest guy in France.
Like every morning so far, we woke up. Francesco and his lovely girlfriend popped out and picked up a cooked chicken from their favourite local shop, as well as some nice fresh bread. We were touching on 'brunch' territory so Francesco enthusiastically suggested we upgrade our breakfast and add pasta into the mix. What a great choice this was. Smashing meal! Francesco also suggested some alcohol to accompany our brunch but we happily declined (on this occasion). We listened to more music which included a band Ségolène & Francesco have together, named 'TRAPS', which we approve of. This would lead the conversation onto actual 'trap' music - a style of hip-hop with a lot repetitive vocal samples. If you imagine a hyper-active child who's just discovered Fruity Loops, vocal sampling and the loop button…. then you're half way there. Not really an appropriate brunch soundtrack, but Introducing Francesco to CLEVER BOY was. (We advise you to go listen for yourselves.)

Ségolène signs Mike's birthday card behind our great brunch
We finished up and headed to the car. Parking in a secure underground car park with a car full of music equipment is great, what isn't so great is when you don't have the only remote to open the gates. Slight problem. Francesco began to work through the long-winded manual process  of opening the gates, but before he could finish his very, very lovely neighbour opened it for us. Absolute winner!

It's a 3 hour drive to Maastricht in The Netherlands. This journey was pretty uneventful, unlike the journey a few days ago from Gent to Rouen when we got stopped by the French police (we failed to mention this in our previous entry). Engine off, keys out and asked to stand against a wall while they checked our papers. A local man in his late 70s had a front row seat as stood in his front door an arms length away, I think he found it rather hilarious as he watched on just laughing. The police dog began to sniff our manly bits and because we're well behaved English boys and don't have anything we shouldn't have, the dog came away without any joy. With a stern, disappointed nod of approval from the dog handler to his colleague, we were told to be on our way. Aaaannnnnd relax.

Arriving to a town you've been to a few times before makes navigating much easier. With ease we arrived at our much loved LBB to the beaming smile of Kees (pronounced 'case' for those who wish to try it). I could literally write on and on about the lad that is Kees, but just understand that he is an absolute top guy and we were excited to catch up with him again. 

Today's dinner was a very tasty nutty, potato and salad combination. We were the only band playing this evening  but afterwards they open  the venue up as a jam night for anyone who wants to turn up and rock out. Apparently it's the same blues, funk songs every week, so having us was a welcomed break for the punters and residents of LBB. The residents of LBB have just produced a photo book documenting the activities happening at  LBB across the course of a year. It's a lovely photo book (which I of course had to purchase) by a very nice gentleman named Bert Janssen, who just so happened to be there that evening. 

We played the show and it was a lot of fun, there weren't too many people there when we started, but by the time we were half way through the place was quite busy. Kees joined us on two older songs; he played drums on 'Webbs' and synth on 'Lungy Media'. After we finished playing we hung around by the bar and chatted to some of the people who live there. When the clock struck 12 it was Mike's birthday so we had a beer to celebrate.

After another great evening at LBB we packing up our gear and heading 5 minutes drive away to Kees' new pad. This man has a lot of great records from all eras in all different styles. As we made our way through Kees' gabber, breakcore and electro collection, we danced, sung and drank  late into the night.

Kees putting his stamp on Mike's birthday card