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Day 28: Finally a Good Fire in Nürtingen, Germany


AVT: 7h (Tot. 79.5h)

ADT: 460 km (Tot. 5,893 km)

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“I have a box full of cards at home that we filled out but never mailed to anybody.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

- Ken/Deni/Ken

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I like it when they laugh.

I mean full-on, can’t-breathe, tears-in-their-eyes belly laugh. We laugh all the time in this band. You can’t hang with Sarah, Deni, and Ken and not have jokes dropping like the Hamburg rain. It’s a carnival of mirth most of the time, but there are moments when it goes beyond and I love those moments. We had one in Nürtingen last night, long after the show was over and the people had gone home.

It’s never anything especially funny, by the way. Ken and Deni got into a riff about a pillow case and a sausage and trick-or-treating and Halloween, and the bizarre stroke of absurdity that gets you sometimes got them. I tried my best to capture a moment of genuine laughter in pictures. They don’t do the moment justice, but no blog ever does the moment justice, just like no video shot via cell phone ever does a show justice. Life is better experienced in person, kids. Don’t forget it.

Anyway, here you go:

I’m thinking about language this morning as we roll down yet another Germany highway. I’m still working away at my Deutsch. The results are slow to come, but every now and again something pops out of my mouth that I wasn’t expecting and I smile to myself. I’m using an app (and my conversations with people) to learn some of the language, but what I find interesting is that language is so … let’s say “unofficial” in every day life. I hear this from my German friends a lot. A lot of them speak English very well, but they’ll hear us Canadians talking to each other and be mystified.

For example, someone may teach you even a loose colloquialism like, “Hello, how is it going?” That’s hip, right? And if a non-native speaker said that to me I would understand perfectly well what he or she said.

But how do we actually say it?

“Hey, howzitgoin’?”

Or perhaps, “’Sup?”

I mean, now that I’m more attuned to it, I realize that we have entire conversations in slang. In dialect. I’m a language person, so I find this kind of fascinating, especially since I’m trying to learn a little bit of German.

Probably you’re more interested in what we did yesterday than my musings on laughter and language.

Sorry about that.

For the record, I use words like “colloquialism” in these posts because I know that our friend Lexi is translating some of these posts into German to share them with German speakers and practice her English. So there you go, Lexi. I’m feeding you little lessons as we go. (Sorry for all of the words I’ve used that I invented as part of my idiom. If you find anything in my posts that you don’t recognize, let me know and I’ll try to explain.)

Yesterday we were back on the road for real after a few days of relative civilization in Lippstadt. It was a seven-hour stretch from Lippstadt to Nürtingen, through those rolling German hills that look like postcards come to life. At this moment we’re passing by a massive orchard that could be right out of the Okanagan Valley. Germany is such a beautiful country. I think I could live here. It’s certainly in my genes, courtesy of my late grandmother, Olive Reinhart, and her ancestors.

The drive was fine. Canadians don’t blink too hard at seven or eight hours on the road. We were excited not just to be back in the wild, but to share a show with our friends Nicole and Diana and their band Gracefire. First things first: I love the name Gracefire. It’s a wonderful band name and they also have a super cool logo. Sarah met Nicole and Diana during one of her solo tours a few years ago. The rest of us met them last year when they came out to a couple of our shows. They’re both awesome rockstar girls.

Last night we got to meet the rest of the band too. Annika the drummer and Simon the bass player are a badass rhythm section and great people. Gracefire is a straight up rock band. Think Heart or Pat Benatar. It was a hometown show for them, and lots of their fans came out to Club Kuckucksei e.V. – an equally straight up rock club – on a Wednesday night. They went up first and played a killer set. I’ve been around long enough to recognize a well rehearsed band when I see one. They have the look, the talent, the work ethic you need to transcend and it showed in their show and in the audience reaction. It was fun to listen to their fans singing along with them. Well done, guys!

The Sarah band went on next. Well, I should say the Sarah band went on after an unexpected delay. Funny thing: Annika and I talked at one point about how equipment failure never happens during rehearsal. It’s always during shows. A bass pedal explodes. A floor tom leg collapses and the drum tips over and rolls across the stage. Snare wires snap mid-song. Last night it was Ken’s turn. We plugged in and got ready to rip, but there was a disturbance in the Force across the stage.

Kein bass, und therefore kein Ken.

There was nothing coming out of the bass rig. Everything worked perfectly two hours earlier during sound check. There was much wiggling of knobs and re-plugging of cords, but nada. Something with the guitar was kaput. Fortunately Simon from Gracefire had enough fire in his grace to let Ken borrow his bass for our set. This is the sort of thing that can happen on the road. Someone else also stepped up with a bass we could take with us for the rest of the tour, which is an incredibly generous thing to do. I mean, would you give a bass to some strange touring band that you don’t even know? The kindness of strangers, friends.

The show was fun. We’ve been playing acoustic gigs over the past few days, so it was nice to plug in and bang around in a rock club again. I think the band played really well. Once again I was impressed by a German audience that came out to listen to and support a strange band from far away. Man, we appreciate that so much. They got into the show with us and made it a good one. Cheers, cheers, cheers. Encores, encores, encores. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’m going to single out Deni on this show and others. He’s really crushing it with his lead guitar playing on this tour. He’s always been more of an ambient/rhythm kind of player. Agreeing to play leads with Sarah two years ago was a big step and he’s really nailing it. You don’t need me to tell you that Sarah and Ken are nailing it too. They are both awesome at what they do.

Yours truly manages to hold his place well enough.

So the show was great and the post-show hang was great and everyone went home happy. There were no wine tastings in the lads’ room last night. It was bed time for after a long drive and a show and four weeks on the road. Sometimes you just need to go to bed, do you know what I mean?

Or, more colloquially, knowumsayin’?

*Cover photo by Sky Blue (Sunny)

And now, here's a little Gracefire:

#SarahSmith #Tour #TheRoad

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