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Germany - 17/04 & 18/04
Topic Started: Jan 31 2009, 09:08 PM (782 Views)
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The Captain
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17/04/09 - Prinzenbar, Hamburg (part of the "P!O!P! Weekender" festival)
18/04/09 - Ost-Pol, Dresden
...and should be one or two more added.

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Mrs Platypus
Lop-eared Delinquent
I'll be there! Well, in Hamburg anyway!

Scarlet's Well on Friday, new born baby elephant on Hagenbeck Tierpark on Saturday and German design shopping and bar hopping in between.

Hooray!!!
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C's M
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Heel Scratcher
And for me it's perfume sniffing while the shops are open - in the Gänsemarkt and Alter Wall districts!

Hope to join Mrs P for a spot of bar hopping too...!
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THE LOVE ZOMBIE
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Castaway
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M's M
Apr 10 2009, 10:43 AM
And for me it's perfume sniffing while the shops are open - in the Gänsemarkt and Alter Wall districts!
Hope to join Mrs P for a spot of bar hopping too...!

Dear Ladies,
Have just got back from Lisboa and Oporto..which were wonderful, but am now suffering from depression and envy (in equal measure) at the thought of missing
out on the above gigs. I hope you have a wonderful time and hear some great music. All the best!
TLZ
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SeaUrchin
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Jaunty Djinn
Oh yes, good luck with the German gigs AND the perfume AND the baby elephant ... I'm in the same green zone as LZ but a detailed report will keep the depression at bay.
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Mrs Platypus
Lop-eared Delinquent
Have not quite recovered yet, but will post a brief summary of the exciting night in the sin-ful quarter of St. Pauli, Hamburg.

After a brisk walk from our base in the cool Sternschanze area, we, 3 Swedish ladies and 1 English gentleman (Legspinner) arrived at the infamous Reeperbahn, where we were joined by another lady, C’s M. The venue, Prinzenbar, were just around the corner, and the first band was supposed to be on stage in about 15 minutes. It turned out to be seriously delayed though, and the soundcheck was going on inside, although there was already a queue of people waiting. We then went for a thai meal around the corner, and were joined by 2 more ladies from the Stockholm team.

When they finally opened the doors, we desperately were looking for the cloak room. It turned out it wasn’t opened that night, so we were shown backstage and put our coats on top of the various band’s instruments and bags. It was an interesting interior, both scruffy and beautiful at the same time, but very atmospheric.

Scarlet’s Well were 2nd on the bill. The first noticeable thing was the sound quality – which was fantastic. The bass and drums were really heavy and the violin was heard more clearly than I ever noticed before. The following songs were played, if remember correctly (not in order):

Dream Spider
Purple Rushes
This is the Story
New Friends
Mr Mystery’s Mother
My Little Doll
Blubberhouses
Raven
Mid-Morning Lily Songs
I am a Canvas
Piepentube

…and possibly a one or two others. I’m very fond of the songs of the new album myself, but must say that they did the best versions of Raven and Mr Mystery’s Mother, I have ever heard live before, well, in fact, these two were even far better than the album versions. It was a brilliant gig, with a very nice and friendly atmosphere in the audience. Everyone was hoping for an encore, but unfortunately there was no time, as there was many bands on the bill that night. What a shame!

It was a very enjoyable night, which everyone in our little group agreed on. Was hoping for some dancing, but most people left after the last band finished. So, we forced our way through all stag night gangs and other groups of drunken lads on Reeperbahn, had a Curry Wurst and a Börek before heading back to Sternschanze again.

The rest of the weekend in Hamburg was incredibly nice too, with warm and sunny weather. Flea markets, Hagenbeck Zoo, cool bars & cafés, interesting architecture in Hafen City, hip boutiques with clothes from young local designers – and a Scarlet’s Well gig – what more can you ask for?

And last, but not least, it’s always lovely to meet C’s M, who was very patient with all the yappering in Swedish…

Mrs P



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The Captain
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Both good gigs.

Was especially pleased with "finding another city that we might be able to go back to" with Dresden. Very relaxed, nice place and people.

Flight to Hamburg- only two viable options, EasyJet to Hamburg or Ryanair to Lubeck. Ryanair's Musical Instrument Charge (which is a surcharge of about £25 per instrument) and other charges often make them more expensive than even large airlines, I also don't fancy the long trek from Lubeck. Hamburg airport is (relatively, for a major city) close to the centre, and taxis are (relatively) cheap (reason for taxis, see below), so fuck Ryanair.

Have sandwich and coffee at Luton airport at around 13:00.

Hamburg flight arrives late afternoon, at 17:35, so we have to get 2 taxis into town, straight to the venue for a late-ish soundcheck. There is some grub backstage, so I peck at a couple of things. After the check (short one, we don't need to fuck about for half a day, unlike some), there's not much time, as we're on early- second out of five, which is ridiculous for a band of such quality, which is to say, us, yes, indeed.

It's a very nice venue, but not too big. Either Days or us playing an ordinary gig could have got at least 80% of the audience that did turn up. It's a funny old world.

And colder than we expected, just for the two days that we're there, typical.

Everything's running late due to mental lassitude outside of Scarlet's Well. We do finally get on at 21:00, but I take a couple of songs out of the set and we don't do an encore. Thanks, guys.

Very good gig. Afterwards, I have to go down the road to a little bar and play a couple of songs at a wedding reception, some friends of a friend, etc. I carry my guitar with a purposeful air past the peering prostitutes to the bar, do the gig, say hello to the very nice couple, get a drink, and walk back past the prostitutes to the venue with my guitar, slightly sweatier, but with a glass of red wine in my hand.

Meet Alex, Moritz and Mo's gang. I have another dry roll and tiny pork ball. Hang around a bit, but an early start tomorrow forces me off. Some of the others stay for a little bit. Have a shower, go to bed hungry. Keep meaning to take rice cakes, or some hippy stuff, with me on tour.

Since the early 80s, I've taken showers at night. It's a habit.

Wake up at 4:30 in a cold sweat; have caught a chill. Wake up again with the alarm on my mobile at 6:00. We get 2 taxis to the train station, get four "Happy Weekender" tickets at the machine. Each of these are €37 for 5 people, to travel anywhere in Germany, as long it's not on the express trains. So, 2 tickets for 2 days, Sat & Sun. And a long slow trip to Dresden, with a few changes, but it's cheap as chips. Grab a coffee at the station, but I'm too sick to drink much, and can't eat anything.

Start the journey, which goes amazingly smoothly, only once was a train two minutes late.

Our route was Dresden, Schwerin, Berlin, Elsterwerda, Dresden. 3 changes. It's not as awful as I thought it'd be. Pregnant Lady manages ok. We can use this Happy Weekender thing again, but not for such a long route, maybe. It's nice to go from centre to centre, rather than having the stress of traffic and one-way streets.

I'm ill all morning, but by midday, I feel better. At Berlin, there's even time to get a coffee, which I actually drink. We haven't eaten much in the day, but have all been tired and kipping. By the time we get to the Dresden club at 17:30 (tram from train station), we are hungry. Food is provided, but not until later, so I go to a nearby Subway (for the first time ever) and grab a thing. It's actually not bad. First "meal" I've had since the sandwich at Luton airport, yesterday midday.

Schwervon! are there, very nice couple. The PA is only being set up, what a surprise, so I go with the promoter to check in at the hostel. It's a really nice place, like an abandoned mansion. Go back for soundcheck. Go back to hostel with band to change. No time to wash. Go back to venue to eat a little pasta.

There is an additional support band on, a couple of guys doing Johnny Cash covers. They run over time, so we can't do any encores. Thanks, guys.

I note that either Schwervon! or us could have got 80% of the audience that turned up, something not lost on the promoter, especially as he paid us both as main bands. Well, you know, I did say...

Hopefully, we'll go back as a main band plus some ex-Stasi Elvis impersonator as support next time.

Very good gig. See some Schwervon!, very good, but then go to a nearby kebab place and get a Turkish pizza. We don't stay too late, as it's an early start on Sun. Go back to hostel, climb lots of stairs with gear, have shower, go to sleep. Wake up with my mobile at 5:45, take sheets off bed (fucking hostels), also strip Peter's bed as he showers. Train station is just around the corner (coffee and croissant), and happens to be on the route to Altenburg, which is where we get the shuttle bus to the godforsaken ex-military "airport" that Ryanair uses.

Yeah, Ryanair...this fact...that they charged me €5 for using the credit card to book the flight...€5 for EACH seat on the booking...even though there was only one payment...and we had to book extra seats for the guitars because they trash the cases, no matter how strong they are...€50 extra on the bill...tells you all you need to know about Ryanair. I didn't want to end in Dresden because of this, but we didn't play more gigs for other reasons.

Get back to Stansted, trains cancelled, etc., etc., welcome to Britain. So, from the point I woke up, 4:45 UK time in Dresden, to the point I got home, 16:55 in Streatham...12 hours, 10 minutes.

I note that it'd be about the same time and price to go all the way by express train. "Cheap flights" sound fine, but most of the time it's not possible with a band, either due to the gear or, mostly, with having to book flights late 'cos the promoters take so fucking long to confirm (or not).

Now, I'll sleep and eat slightly more than usual for a couple of days.

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C's M
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Heel Scratcher
Wow! I am uncharacteristically late to the reviewing party, which is due to the fact that I was corralled into gardening by my mother-in-law-equivalent almost the minute I woke up yesterday. But the front lawn looks immaculate and you could eat your dinner off the garden shed floor. Bid sounds as though he needs to.

Yes, as the others have mentioned, Hamburg was sunny and cold on the day of the gig and as I weaved (wove?) my way through the prostitutes who were trying to pull off a difficult look best described as "saucy ski wear", I realised that I was not wearing enough clothes either. I turned up half an hour early for my rendez-vous with Mrs P, partly due to asynchronous texting issues, and stood in the doorway of a petrol station round the corner from the gig in a bid to get out of the wind. Bad move.... It was the Reeperbahn after all, and despite the Kate Adie-style trenchcoat I attracted some unusual glances. So I moved to a Chinese restaurant opposite, and sat in the window there, looking out for the Swedish party. Much better location.

As Mrs P has related, there was some confusion about the start time, though while we girls got stuck into our Thai food, Legspinner kindly volunteered to hang around at the gig and alert us to the imminence of SW's appearance. Good plan, as we got there just in time for their delayed start.

A word about the venue, perhaps: from the outside it looked like any other dark night club, but the actual room where the bands played resembled a crypt or a chapel, with stone walls, a domed ceiling and bas-relief(?) cherubs. There was a huge chandelier and a stained glass window in the roof. The space also had a gallery area, where Legspinner perched for some of the night, while I stood with different permutations of Swedish women in the "stalls"!

I agree with Mrs P about the arrangement of wotsit Mystery's Mother, which was almost Indian in style, and most original. Mrs P has mentioned most of the songs I can remember - was there the Dream of the Hesperus as well, perhaps?

After the all too short appearance of SW, I stayed on and watched a couple of the other acts, including Days (whom I remembered from Arhus), but left with a couple of the girls in our party when the "main turn" came on, an 80's throwback technopop band with disturbingly short drainpipe trousers and prissy neckerchiefs.

I missed out on the backstage experience - also as a coat depository - but then, being a bit nesh, I never know when I might get cold and want to put it on again.

I think one thing we have learned from this experience is that as well as keeping Bid watered - though he will sometimes take the intiative here and swipe your drink mid-gig(!) - we should all carry snacks with us to administer as required. At my old agency, it was a company rule in fact to carry a banana and cereal bar on long sales trips with the MD, in case he got peckish just as we were going into a meeting, so perhaps we fans could also be better prepared in future...

The rest of the weekend was a pleasant blur of perfume sniffing with the blogmistress of the leading German-speaking beauty site, and hanging out with the posse of Swedish women, led by Mrs P. No need to apologise for the "yappering" in Swedish - there was a lot of English spoken, and I also enjoyed the lilting musical Swedish language washing over me, even learning the word for apple strudel, which sounded like "eppel kokker", but my spelling is a little approximate.

Sounds as though we missed a good night in Dresden, but the logistics looked too punishing for someone averse to early morning starts! I travelled Ryanair and didn't have a problem in either direction, but with equipment I realise that it is a whole different ballgame. Lubeck airport is extremely low on stimulus, mind. I think I was in and out of the perfume section in five minutes, and then there is nothing left to do except sit on the hard plastic chairs and dodge the draughts from cracks in the PVC walls...
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The Captain
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What I forgot to mention was my heavy-ish case (CDs, leads) and heavy guitar case (for the Baldwin, won't fit into a modern lightweight one), on top of my shoulder bag. And whenever we went up or down stairs, I'd give my guitar to Sian and carry her keyboard case (the huge, heavy thing) in one hand and my heavy case in the other.

Mighty Captain!

I would slap my thigh, but I can't move my arms.
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C's M
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Heel Scratcher
And all this impressive physical exertion on a dry roll and tiny pork ball!
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Leg Spinner
Macaw Mucker
Maybe one solution to avoid airport/airline hassles is to do as I have just done and travelled overland from Hamburg to London.

If you use Stena Line they sail twice a day - one day-time and one overnight, Harwich-Hook of Holland, which is a good gateway to Holland/Germany/Belgium.

When I sailed, overnight, I didn't even notice the ship move.
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The Captain
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Well, the problem with sea travel is the extra time involved, and I have to always watch the days-off-work thing. With most working, I only have a certain amount every year to play with...

German Wings to Stuttgart are still really cheap and nice, and if I can end the tour in the west, we can get the train back (or vice versa). But I'll look at trains/boats for all trips in future, though DBahn is particularly cheap and good.
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