Thursday, July 30, 2009

The End Of The World

Onward to coastal France. Leave Cologne and bid farewell to Tina and Nani. One we will see within a few hours time, the other regrettably we will say goodbye to for the rest of our journey. Germany falls beneath our wagon relatively quickly as the language barrier ratchets up in our first Belgian port of call. We arrive France in roughly 8 hours time. First order of business, find the sea.

Le Havre is not a typical French town. Badly damaged by the conflict which stormed through in the early 40's most of the original architecture has been levelled. Predominantly replaced by squared symetrical brick ediface.
It would later be explained to us that for this very reason our town here is not one of the most renowned tourist spots. We disagree and we are thoroughly tourists.

Arrive beach. Dash to the Atlantic. 3 pints of the finest Belgian and off to meet Pierre.

Pierre, strikingly handsome with beautiful family, hands over keys to a flat located in an old part of town which has obviously managed to elude some if not all of the bombing. The hospitality we are offered is beyond generous and equally appreciated.
Arrive Nani. Quiet evening in with a movie and early nights sleep. This is a first.

Morning, 3 Americans and 1 German motor to the site of the invasion. Lunch at the harbor. Trace the steps of Sword beach conflict, complete with climbing through abandoned bunkers and a swim. Very surreal to witness. Seen the films, read the books, watched the mini-series time and again and here we are.
Back to town. Dinner with our gracious hosts. Show is set in an Irish Pub near the center. Walk off the fatigue.
Post show A/P with entourage wander to the 'end of the world'. Beach singalong with guitar and assorted drinks one as unnecessary as the next. Wander in turns into stumble out and through the town some in song, some in drink, and some just keeping pace a wave of friends weave through the dark streets of a place where these tourists will absolutely be visiting again.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Away From Berlin

Back in Cologne. Chips and beer at local Imbiss. Discuss astrology with the landlord and realize how cosmic Travis' birthdate really is. Hoffi calls to let us know the show will be accomplanied by Portland band Portugal The Man. Aces.
Stereo Wonderland, great spot in town immediately next door to the Rose Club, a host of all night dance parties everytime we've been here.

Crowd is expanding at the door.

Post show dinner at Tinas, very nice way to end. Garrett skates back to the club to settle up. 1am, 2am, 3am decide collectively (with a little persuasion) that Rose Club is the best option. Dance party is on. At this point in history we have been inundated with Michael Jackson singles for better and worse. Granted a reprieve by the Rose Club which is primarily decent R&B with the occassional flare of bad hip hop. Portugal the Man/AP+ leave as the sun begins to rise.

Sleep in a bit. Hit the road and we are passing through Belgium before we realize how we never have enough time in this beautiful city. Someday.


Stopover in Cologne courtesy of Tina to break up the marathon drive from Czech to Holland. Early night and some skateboarding in the morning. We always leave this city on a wonderful breakfast and a positive vibe. Onto Rotterdam. Show in December was one of our favorites, so very much looking forward to it. Arrive with the rain to Watt and load in, soundcheck, and enjoy Dutch hospitality. Quick wander though the city to reconnect with coffeeshops and cafes of days past.

Right shoe = almost completely destroyed.

Somewhere exists a live recording of our set. Officially sold out of tshirts. All 6. Regroup with the locals afterward and head off to the spot. Nice to have some friends in town now.

Rain pulls all stops, floods our outdoor position. Back to the hotel.

Next morning, staff gorillas too boring to elaborate on block a stress free departure as we collect our gear. Lates.

Back to Cologne.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Country Living

En route to Prague, short stopover on the way, first encounter with German wildlife. Chance photo of a particular moment in history turned into a horrorshow. Couldnt feel it, couldnt hear it, but as I stood to ready my camera the largest living beetle ever seen dropped out of the left leg of my jeans. A frantic dance coupled with a near blackout and on to Czech.

Prague is an old city. In the summer its feels a lot easier to lose track of time and purpose. Sat on the river bank, stared at the panoramic beauty and fed the ducks.
We met quite a few fantastic people at the show.
After sundown, another walk around the city and then a drive to the country.
Thank you Farah, you are a particularly bright light in the vast realm of highlights which we have accumulated over the weeks.

Morning, Czech breakfast courtesy of Chateau Guichard and the lovely Blanka. Rolled around the hills for a spell and then a swim in the local community pool. Beautiful country. Endless sunsets.

France is waiting.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Day 2, easy drive to Bremen. Morning and early afternoon we spend on a thorough walk in the city. Many photos to take. Relax in the park briefly and then off. Atlantic/Pacific to a local waterfront restauranteur: 'Sorry, do you know of a venue named festival?' Venue didnt exist but the Bremen Festival did. The Bremen Festival is a massive 3 tent affair which consists of pretty much the entirety of the city. Local food, and drink and an enormous roster of bands set on the riverbank. We play our second outdoor show under a large red and white tent. Sky opened immediately after and soaked the grounds. Thank you to everyone who made it such a surreal and magnificent evening.

Post show we are given the keys to a beautiful home on the outskirts of the city equipped with a front and rear garden as well as full fridge. Germany, we love you.

Blogs are nearly impossible to keep up with but we are trying. First few days was spent fighting jet lag. Everything after that has been constant motion and lack of wifi. Hopefully we get better at it.

Berlin is next and so is Phillip. Look out.

Thank you Bremen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hello Hamburg

Tuesday morning apartment rehearsal. Newark airport. Anxiety, excitement, extremely full flight, and not a single minute of sleep. Arrive Berlin. Hello Travis. Car, slight GPS language barrier. Autobahn and 4 hours later. Hello Hamburg.

Hamburg, though we've seen you 6 months ago feels like we were here yesterday. We are scheduled to play at the music building atop the roof of a concrete bunker commissioned during the fiercest of WWII fighting. Sold out.
Familiar avenues inundated with German wall art lead us lazily through to our afternoon destination. Breakfast finally and then an impromptu rehearsal at the local spielplatz. Children pull up benches in front of ours, at least a dozen, and we have our first proper show. At first they were intrigued then gradually slipped back into their waterballoon business. We were happy to play for them.

Spiral concrete stairs. No sleep in 36 hours. Soundcheck.
First show goes on remarkably well considering physical and mental condition. Post show. Drinks. We are approaching 72 hours awake. Lights out.

Morning. Wander Hamburg. Beautiful weather. Docks. Hundreds of photos. Off to Bremen.