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tour diary: autumn 2006

I don't mind the 10 hour crossing to Swansea, I slept for over half the journey and the tedious drive through Wales and England is also shortened by docking in Swansea instead of Fishguard. Dunkirk always makes me think about the obvious, especially at nighttime, I usually conjure up the most vivid images in my po? ol? head. The mud and trenches, the killing fields of Flanders, the sinister chess games that led very quickly to the next big human sacrifice?.. and all of a sudden I'm in Aachen, truly knakkered. After a good rest I picked up some final pieces of instructions and directions from Chris Hermann at the WabiSabi office.

Hammtorkrug in Neuss, in a packed back room,(I'm pleased to say), I took to the stage with a small dose of nervous energy due to the fact that I hadn?t been gigging very much and a hunger to be out there doing it again. There was a great buzz here throughout the evening and I left feeling rejuvinated and even more eager..



The Rover in Aachen was, as always, a most enjoyable experience, I love the venue since it's beginnings way back in the 80s and now it's even better with a more diverse programme and some refurbishment to the listening area adding to the already great atmosphere here.

Steinenhaus in Soilngen is a truly amazing building, acccording to Klaus there, it's over 200 years old and it's current occupiers preserve the surroundings impecibally.This gig always warms my heart, I had a small but very enthausistic audience and the performance was recorded by local group of short film enthauists. it's too early to tell but we might have something we can post on site by way of short DVD.

Singer/Songwriter nights have been in my experience, affairs where people gather and "listen" to the songs and stories of the performer. Unfortunatly, this was not the case at the Singer- Song- Salon @ The Rode Pimpernel in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. Most of the words and tunes got lost down some big black hole of irrelevance.Perhaps the guys there should bill the evening as something other than a singer songwriter night.

This was far from the case at The Folk Club in Moenchengladbach. A full house. a listening audience, a great gig! Thanks to Rolf there for ensuring that everything goes according to plan.

As a very honest guest writes in the guestbook, only a handful of people turned out at Molly Malones in Marburg, but I still love the place. Molly's was always willing to diversify from the folk/trad Irish stuff that's normally assiociated with the Irish Pub scene and cater for contemporary Irish and British music. No borders!It's easy to see why the great and the famous have threaded the boards here over the years.

I love little old German towns and Oberotterbach in the Wein Strasse area of Baden- Wuertenberg is amazing.When you turn a corner, on one of the little cobblestoned "gassen" you can be greeted by a 60 year old tractor, making it's way to the farmers yard, which is probably right bang smack in the middle of the village, followed by a "state of the art" Mercedes Benz. Musikantebuckl is run by Alphonse, and poets,actors, comedians, singers, songwriters and story tellers take their place right next to the big open fire, in this incredible old building and just become part of the audience for 90 minutes. I'm already looking forward to a return visit in 2008.

Faced with a rather noisy Saturday night audience in Aschaffenburg, I kinda' just went through the motions. I guess I felt like Bob Dylan must have felt the last time I saw him at Nolan Park in Kilkenny. Over half the audience there, neither listened or reacted. I want to add that it was in no way the great man's fault. I listened and reacted.

The upstairs room in the new Burren Bar in Darmstadt has the potential to be a great venue for the more listening type audience. But I fear that German burocracy and licencing for live music, coupeled with the GEMA, the German royalty collection agency who can be very heavy handed, will make it virtually impossible for Gerry and Sabina who genuinly do love contemporary Irish music as well as the more traditional stuff..However, I hope they give it a go?

Zum Storchen in Homburg (Saar) is typical of a music pub run by a musician. For many years now, Chris Clemens has had the cream of the crop visiting his venues. People believe him when he says "check this guy out"! I enjoyed my night there very much.

The 2nd Dillinger Guitar Festival kicked off it's two night programme at The Romerhalle in Dillingen Saarland.Catching up with German blues player Biber Herrmann and Wolfgang Goeringer and meeting Stephan Raap was a big plus for me. The concert itself was a great success insuring it will be on again in 2007.This is due to the great and passionate attitude of Helmut Deihl who started the whole project almost single handedly in 2005.Long live the Dillinger Guitar Festival!!

Gleis 1 in Waldenburg is a hall at the local train station taken over by a group of art loving people. Hans A. Graef & Co. hold art exhibitions and concerts, seminars and readings here a few times a month and I love the place very much. The gig was one of the highlights of the whole tour. It?s a beautiful setting in a very beautiful little town.We even had a lock-in after this gig and sorted out CAP, subvention, intervention,American foreign policy and a range of other political and social problems, ah shur, this has to be done too?

Rory and Scruffy and in no small way, myself, were trying to keep the best side out after a hard weekend. This cozy Irish Pub in the middle of Karlsruhe had a very positive and relaxed atmosphere on a quite Sunday evening.Candles and calmness?
Enter Switzerland and I'm excited,even on the journey there. A chance meeting with the Buddhist monk,Phrathepkittimoli only served to whet my appetite for this little adventure. His bodyguard/driver told me that the Holy man had the highest honour bestowed upon him by the King Of Thailand. On realising that I was in doubt as to what the appropriate response to this news should be, he ensured me that this was, in fact a very good thing.
Almost as soon as I got waved on by the border guards, I was completly overwhelmed by the beauty of this country, with it's huge, rough and very rugged mountain peaks, deep valleys and dark, wide, beautiful lakes. Following a little pep talk with Paul, at BRAMBUS RECORDS in the tiny mountain village of Muehlehorne we took off for the city of Chur.

Werkstett is a small venue in the old town and prior to going on I must admit I thought to myself, "will they like this?". Within the first 10 minutes I just knew it would be a great gig, the audience had a great understanding of English, I was happy about that, I love to tell a story or two over the evenings proceedings and of course I like the idea of song lyrics being at least as important as the music, rhythm or melody.

The Irish Nights Festival at Kammgarn in the quite border town of Schaffhausen was fantastic. Schaffhausen by the way is the womb of the mighty, (though now highly polluted) River Rhine.The group of people responsible for this 3 day feast of Irish music and film were absolutly fab.Warm in their approach and insuring that everything ran smoothly. My one hour set went over time, I?m pleased to say, due to the positive response to my brand of "Irish Music". I'm sure, a portion of the audiences expect something entirely different from an Irish musician but usually after a song or two they warm to the fact that self composed songs are very much part of the tradition of Irish music too.I hope this festival will fit in my tour plans again soon.

My first night in the famed MAHOGANY HALL, in the capital city of Bern didn't go all to plan, with seat numbers down, big cities are becoming increasingly tougher to promote for underground artists, the serious marketing/billboarding, reserved for the more commercial acts.Anyway, I enjoyed playing to the little bunch of loyal fans there who came across my music through the mp3s on this very site?Yes, it does work for the independant acts?

To try to push my point home, the following evening, in the little mountain village of Obstalden, we had a full house!Great gig!!It was a nice surprise for me to learn that "small talk", with the locals quickly trandsens the usual polite snippets of conversation and pretty soon I'm armed with a synopsis of Swiss history from Napoleonic times to the geo political structure of the Kantons in modern day Confederata Helvitica.

I arrived in Greiz in the late afternoon of the night of vampires and ghouls!The dark red brick of the Bahnhof, with the town name in big old black Germanic letters, reminicent of the pre 1990 reunification.There are still some small,former DDR towns that have that feel to them and I must admit that I like it. Thiugh I?ve been told that the lack of big company investment is not good for the local people. But fear not,the plasticisation of the neon-o-cons is just around the corner?I wandered around the very beautiful ?old town? and found the venue I was to play.A lovely room in the castle of the town.The building, a veteran of two wars, survived to be a centre for arts and culture. It only takes a few people to make this sort of thing work and Evelyn and Ralf there, sure do "make it happen"?

Freiberg, Saxony was my next stop and I always love coming here.An ancient stone mining town with a beautiful town square. My gig is at Pubagai, a family run establishment in the town centre.The Rupprechts, Lutz, Monica and Johanna always make me feel right at home and their hospitality is very much appreciated by this weary traveller..A good lively Friday night atmosphere to it and it?s great to see familiar faces in the crowd, even singing along a bit to my recorded songs..

On to Chemnitz,formerally, Karl-Marx-Stadt, a great city of culture. Arthur e.V is the venue for my gig and I love the place. An acoustic theatre, packed to capacity and completly unplugged.I love to play totally acoustically when it?s practical to do so, if the venue is the right size with good acoustics, etc..

Stadtpark in Frankenbergis a relativly new auditorium, built to highest standards, insuring that the locals get their dues by way of performances and exhibitions.Thomas Loetsch, an old friend of mineruns the arts programme there and promoted my concert to perfection. The gig had a late kick-off, so that seating could be rearranged and safety standards ashered to,due to the fact that a huge crowd turned out for this Sunday afternoon show.Yippee!!

BERLIN, one of the best cities in all of Europe, even the world! A great vibe in the quarters of Kreutzberg, Prinzlaurberg and Wedding. My first show was at Zimmer 16.A great gig in a small theatre with a big agenda. Plays, politics and poetry readings are just part of the bill of fare. Loved it!

The second gig at Gallery Wallywoods was a relaxed evening as I played among the people,paintings and sculptures that adorned the place.Cool!

On my way home and one to go, Cafe Waak, Haarlem, near Amsterdam and I took the wrong direction on the A4 towards Liege instead of Eindhoven!!Arrived late to a packed house of curious to see the tardy Irish singer that my fellow Irishman and musician, Danny Guinan (ex Speranza) had arranged for me.Potentially embarrassing, but I need not have fretted,this Dutch audience gave me a very, very, warm welcome and like all good gigs, it was over much too soon. Ilook forward to a return visit there and now I even know the way.

So, a big thank you to all who turned out, even in the bad weather to spend a little time with me..


23.11.2006 00:11 Age: 12 Jahre