Well with only just two weeks to go, what a trip it has been! I met some really cool people, had some epic adventures, and played some very special gigs! In my last post I was just about to leave Paris for Berlin, and so much has happened since then it’s gonna be tough to fit it all in…
On reaching Berlin I was at once struck by such a cultural city it was and the strong community of musicians that were present in the city. At my first open mic I was invited to sit at a table with a hole bunch of them and we chatted about what it was like being a musician in the city. I was even put in touch with another open mic night at the Prachtwerk gallery the next night. This turned out to be one of the best I’ve been to, taking place on an impressive stage in a massive venue full of people. This was a great warm up to my gig at Cafe Fincan, and I met some more like minded musicians to drink with until the early hours. Cafe Fincan turned out to be the perfect venue, a community based project aiming to encourage music in the area, and the space its self was almost church like with amazing acoustics. A very well run venue and a great gig to boot.
I then made my way to Prague which unfortunately just didn’t compare on the music front, it was the one city that I really struggled to find a booking, a warm up slot at an open mic night the best I could manage, and the rest of my time there was spent either hungover or getting well on my way to being hungover the next day. The gig it’s self wasn’t bad at all, playing at Bar Baryton, a basement bar home to some local musicians, the organiser of the night who agreed to play drums for me, and some enthusiastic locals.
The next stop was Kraków, were my percussionist Tekin joined me again and things improved greatly on
the music front. We played a nice little warm up gig in a bar that was stumbled upon drunk, the owner kindly agreeing to let us play the next day after Tekins great blagging. The places name escapes me now but it was a great underground bar right in the old town area of the city. It was then on to play at Cafe Szafe a fantastic venue at an arty cafe next to one of the cities biggest tourist attractions, the castle and cathedral. It was a great night followed by an enviable bout of drinking. It was at this point that Tekin had to leave me and I faced the rest of the tour alone.
I now ventured into Russia and the white night season, were there was only a few hours of darkness every day, and the beautiful town of St Petersburg. Here I managed to squeeze in a bit of sight-seeing before my gig at the The Liverpool bar, one of the cities oldest music venues and a tribute bar to the Beatles. Despite the venue changing hands since I was last in contact, and a mix up with new owners, the gig went ahead as planed and I smashed out a three hour set to a enthusiastic and friendly crowd. I then disappeared into the night to try out some local hot spots, an adventure that lasted the rest of the week.
By the time I reached Finland I was defiantly feeling a bit broken and travel fatigue was beginning to take hold. So I took a couple of days off to recharge the old batteries. Helsinki was a great city with a thriving music scene, especially in the summer months when the town really comes alive after the depression of the winter, and festivals and outdoor gigs happen regularly. I was treated to playing a small set at an open mic night at On the Rocks, a rock venue right in the centre, it was the perfect appetizer to the fantastic gig that was to follow. Musta Kissa (or black Kat) was the scene of what turned out to be the most memorable gigs of the tour, a great little venue right in the trendy part of the city. I played on a make shift stage right outside the bar not only to the terrace full of people but also to a local park full of people opposite. And what an amazing experience it was to perform on a wonderful sunny evening (it was ten o’clock at night) to such a great crowd, in the bar, park, and passers-by. There was a pretty funny thing that happened after the gig, which I couldn’t possibly go into here, safe to say it will make a great story one day that’s for sure.
And so with only two weeks left unfortunately I have been forced to become just a tourist as my last two gigs have been cancelled due to problems with the promoters. I’m sure plenty of shenanigans will still ensue, and hopefully I can find a replacement venue or an open mic or two.
Until next time…