November 20, 2017
"When I meet people, I don't say, 'What do you do?' I ask, 'What are you passionate about?'"
Superfan Schimmi wants you to know about the ducks.
The venue we played last night has a sunken stage. It’s not really a music venue. It’s a restaurant/café with super high ceilings and, as I said, a sunken area where we set up. The building sits right along a riverbank, so the river basically comes up to the windows behind the drum kit. There were ducks on the water, drifting from shore to shore. It was a very peaceful setting. Very serene.
So we blew that joint up.
It was a charity gig in a quaint little German city called Lippstadt. Originally it was supposed to be a stripped down acoustic performance, but when we found out they planned to cram 200 people into that space, Sarah made the executive decision to plug in and give them the real show. And we brought it, friends. The band is getting tighter and tighter with each show. Most people don’t realize this, but Deni’s first show with Sarah was the first gig on this tour. I’ve only played with her a few times and just in the past year. We’re new, but we’re killing it.
The show was in support of an organization called Archemed that sends doctors, nurses, and various tradespeople to work with people in Africa. Definitely a good and necessary cause. We had a long drive from the Stuttgart area to Lippstadt – six hours on the highway that felt like two because we were listening to cool podcasts and talking and laughing like we do. We’re still dealing with the Virus of the Van, but the drive fired us up.
We were greeted upon arrival by two striking, beautiful, lovely new characters in our story: Heike and Tanja, who organized the event. We had coffees in front of us before we had our jackets off. Then everyone pitched in to help us unload our gear. Again, so willkommen. We set up and soundchecked as usual, and then had yet another fantastic dinner. Chili con carne for me. In Germany! And that bread. I’ve eaten so much bread over here and it’s just so good. After dinner we had a bit of time to relax in our hotel before the show.
I love arriving to the gig as The Band. When we load in and soundcheck we’re in our van clothes. When we return for the show we’re in our stage clothes. Hair down. Like Clark Kent emerging as Superman. Sometimes it feels like getting into character. It’s a cool feeling.
Our opener last night was a singer/songwriter named Dimi of the band Dimi on the Rocks. Cool beard. Facial piercings. He has an interesting voice too – kind of a Tom Waits vibe. He got the crowd going for us. They liked him a lot. Then we went on and it was another really good show. Sarah handled sound, which means we sounded great, and the audience loved it. I know I say that every time, but every time it’s true. Sarah Smith is the real deal, people. If you’re reading this you already know that, but it’s worth repeating. Again the crowd wanted multiple encores. This time Dimi came up and did Knocking On Heaven’s Door with us. It was a really fun time.
Afterward, as is the custom, Sarah went to be mobbed by the people and the rest of us went to work tearing down the stage. That’s how it works in the indie world. We don’t have roadies. We don’t have a crew. The work doesn’t end when the show ends. We turn into stagehands and grunts again and it’s fine. It’s part of the job. Last night after we tore down, we got to hang with Heike and Tanja and some others. There was traditional German music playing – evidently the Deutschland equivalent of last call. The idea is that playing the music will make people want to leave.
I guess they weren’t counting on Canadians in the restaurant.
At one point Ken and Deni jumped up to dance to the music. Sarah never saw a dance party she didn’t like, so she busted her way in too. Such charming foreigners. I’d have joined them, but as the archivist I was obligated to shoot video. You can find it on Facebook. All in all another wonderful night on this tour. It just keeps getting better and better.
It’s occurring to us that the tour will be over soon. We’re down to around a week left, and while we have shows every day to look forward to, there’s suddenly an airplane full of KLM Viking flight attendants on the horizon. I was prepared just now to be a bit sad about that, but I think I’ll leave it for now. There’s a lot left to do. There’s a lot left to experience. As I type this, the rain is splattering against the windshield and we’re on our way back to The Netherlands to see our Friesland friends again. Who could be sad under those circumstances? We’re making a triumphant return. We’re a different band than the one that left them just a week or two ago. We’re road tested. We’re lean.
The best is yet to come.