Sep 2013 - European Tour (Austria, Germany, Slovakia) & Radio.
September for us was mostly consumed by planning a "European Tour" of sorts, as well as actually being on it from September 19th until the 29th, so I'll try and give a day by day account and focus on anything important that happened to us during the tour. I was told by some people that I must be their "eyes and ears".
» DAY 1 - Driving North (20.09)
07:30 - We arrive in the village of Köstendorf on the morning of Sept 20th after an 8 hour drive from Italy the night before. The view on the left is from our hotel window, and from where we will set off to every gig. We check in with Mark & Helen (owners of Gasthof Dorfwirt), and are introduced to Charlie the chameleon. We try and sleep for a bit, but I'm not really sure it worked.
We set up in the bar of the hotel for a warm up gig we'll do later and start to trial a couple of new arrangements including using familiar album sounds on songs like "Letter From Abroad". We do the gig, sell some albums and go to bed, I mean - sit up talking in the bar all night.
» DAY 2 - Klagenfurt, Austria (21.09)
The next night we're in an Irish bar in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, the region we're staying in. It's called The Claddagh and is owned by a couple from Co. Galway. There's a wedding party in including the married couple who met originally in the same bar and are now holding the reception. We play a set of 14 songs including a few which will be on the forthcoming second album, we sell a couple of albums and Francesco receives a Bushmills Irish Whiskey polo shirt to take home to his growing collection of brewery merchandise.
» DAY 3 - Villach, Austria (22.09)
We had no gig on Sunday so we went to Villach, the nearest city, to see what it had to offer. I bought a few things in a health food shop. as various people have been falling sick on the tour so far and obviously it will be me next, especially with 4 gigs in 5 days coming up and little prospect of sleep. We keep a photo diary for the whole tour, which you can see in full here. There are at least a couple from Villach in there.
» DAY 5 - Bratislava, Slovakia (24.09)
15:20 - We arrive in Bratislava, crossing the Danube (obviously) after driving about 370 km from the hotel. We're met by an old friend from the 1990's, Miroslav, who feeds us Goulash quickly in his apartment and something highly alcoholic which temporarily burns away the symptoms of my growing chest infection. We meet his wife and exchange gifts, one of the band thinks we've had dinner with the promoter. To the venue...
Hlava XXII is a great venue, literally meaning "Head" and decorated with golden heads around the walls. It's a jazz venue and sounds great because of acoustic treatment on the walls and ceiling. You hear what the band sounds like, basically. We played with a Slovak band called Chick & Tin, who each had a brilliant feel for their instrument. Thanks also to Hudba.sk (Slovak music website) for this excellent preview article before the gig.
» DAY 6 - Bratislava, Slovakia (25.09)
08:00 - After the gig we go back to the house of our promoter Gabor, who despite having to leave early for work goes out to get us Brioche for breakfast. Showing us the scene of a famous movie outside his apartment (translated as "Fountain for Suzanne"), we depart each other on our separate ways and walk towards Bratislava's old town, which is starting to open up. We visit the Nový Most (New Bridge), which is the symbol of Slovakian independence I'm told, complete with revolving restaurant on top, and the Bratislavský hrad (Bratislava Castle) which has been a symbol of the city for centuries before independence. We eat in the Slovak Pub, trying much of the menu between us, and agree that Slovak food is very good. We upate the photo diary.
» DAY 7 - Munich, Germany (26.09)
00:30 - We complete a 370 km drive from Bratislava in the north east and try to sleep for a while before doing a 345km drive north west to Munich. "Shoulda Said Something" was played by Laury Reichart on his Plattenbau show on Radio PULS in Bavaria the evening before while we are driving back from Bratislava. Mark from our hotel records it for us, which our can hear now. We appeared after Lily Allen.....
16:30 - We arrive at the Garage Deluxe venue, home to a lot of influential American bands in the Rock, Blues & Metal genres. It's the height of Oktoberfest, fully grown men in lederhosen consume the subways and streets, and it's raining for the first time on the tour. We leave some concert fliers around and give some out by hand. We load the venue, set up a merch table, meet the other bands - Coruna High & Rent-a-Fab (both excellent, which is why I picked them), and complete our sound checks. Peter is engineering tonight, and turns out to be one of the best engineers we've had, laughing like a hyena the whole time, but doing a great job and helping me figure out the best release times for my noise gate. Some people start arriving including some that I recognize as having bought our album leading up to the gig tonight.
21:00 - Rent-a-Fab plays his set (brilliant) and Coruna High play their set (brilliant), and then we play ours, which is being recorded tonight in stereo. So check next months blog and a live album should be ready for download (need to check with the people at Essential Credential!). We hang around with the bands, take some photos outside for posterity, and decide to come back to Munich when we are next given the chance. Here we are with the particularly supportive Manu outside the venue. If Carlsberg made fans...
Ourselves with Coruna High and Rent-a-Fab outside Garage Deluxe.....
» DAY 8 - Innsbruck, Austria (27.09)
21:00 - We arrive in Innsbruck in heavy rain, trying to find an LPG station which are pretty rare, then we find The Early Bird. The owner cooks for us and shows us what he's done with the venue since he opened it in the last year. It's empty up until shortly before we're due to play at 9pm, although there are a few couples who come in to ask about tonight's band. Before the stage time though, people start pouring in and as we are playing it's close to full with most of the crowd in a loud and supportive mood, shouting out questions to us, clapping & dancing. A particularly good night for album sales too, coupled with a generous hat donation organised by The Early Bird. Everything went great in the end, sometimes you just get them like that!
23:20 - Here we are with some new owners of "21st Century Redemption Songs", Senta & Bettina (left) and Helen (right). Thanks also to Gabi & friend, Florian, Juliet plus anyone else who bought the album that night.
» DAY 9 - Salzburg, Austria (28.09)
20:30 - We're in Oberalm, in the greater Salzburg area playing our set. It's been advertised heavily by The Hot Rod, so it's packed and noisey. We chop and change the order of the songs and try some new stuff. The Hot Rod is an American themed diner with great food, we bring the PA & do our own sound. I can hear my vocals when I'm singing, excellent. We sell another stack of albums, meet a bunch of people (including one from N. Ireland like myself, strangely), we thank the owner and leave.
» Next Month...
Not expecting any live dates in particular during October, so there will be serious progress on the recording of tracks for the second album, getting a few of them mastered or ready for mastering. The recording of the Munich gig should be ready for download, with probably 10 tracks from that night. There should be more news about the music video award we announced last month and when we might start work on that. So look out for those in next month's blog, along with anything else that might happen....
There's a lot of free music at unquietnights.com/music, but if you download there as opposed to buying the album, atleast join the mailing list, our facebook page, or follow on twitter so we can stay in touch.
Until the next one...