​Bayreuth, Marburg, and Dusseldorf: Midweek Checkup

I feel super fortunate to have the day of the week on my little Timex Easy Reader. We’re in a different city every night, playing on a different stage, and sleeping in a different bed. But I can’t seem to keep the days separate, even with all the changes. So my watch tells me the day of the week and the date. And today it says THU. So hooray. Three cheers for little watches.

 Photo by @rockthatmood - hey thanks Nadia!

Photo by @rockthatmood - hey thanks Nadia!

We’re a few days into a string of seven shows in a row. I’m gonna rattle off a few stories from along the way.

 

Bayreuth

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Bayreuth is a town in Bavaria with about 70,000 people. It’s near a university, so there’s a pretty good mix of folks, but our hosts said that they tend to live in their own little sections.

Matthias booked our show in his little space called Subkultur. It’s sort of a community space in the old city, located in a run down old building with legitimately the spookiest abandoned upstairs rooms that I have ever walked through. Folks pay a tiny monthly fee, and then can host cultural events for everyone to enjoy. When we walked in, the walls were covered in drawings - they recently had a drawing free-for-all night. They just papered all the walls and had at it.

Matthias studied Literature in college, but didn’t see a bright future when he looked forward to the professor world. In Germany, he says that PhDs could work and teach at a university for decades before ever becoming eligible for a tenured or tenure-track position. So, he was looking for other options. At the time, he was in a band playing keyboards. Someone else booked the shows, but they we’re very good. Matthias actually enjoyed it, and had a knack for it. Now, he’s a booker around town, and runs Subkultur as a little nonprofit side project.

We all ate dinner around the corner at a pub popular with the univeristy students. We stuffed ourselves silly - Dan with a big ol hamburger, and me with a killer schnitzel.

These moments are probably my favorite ones on tour, and definitely the ones I’ll remember the most. We talked with the folks around the table about other things going on.

Poland apparently is in a sorry state right now. Protests are being squashed by the powerful right wing establishment and rights are being taken away slowly but surely. Young people are leaving the country for brighter futures elsewhere, and as long at the EU is intact, it’s pretty easy for them to do so. Poland already has some of the strictest laws prohibiting abortion across Europe, and they’re aiming towards banning it outright.

So, yet again, we’re talking to other kind, helpful, and artsy folks about some of the same things that we’re facing politically back home. I won’t remember the shows, but I will remember these chats.

 Photo by Matthias - hey thanks!

Photo by Matthias - hey thanks!

The show was packed tight in a tiny room with folks spilling out into the hallway and adjacent room. It was one of my favorite places on the tour. I think it was the smallest venue - but we sold the most CDs here.

Marlene made sure we had a place to sleep at her amazing flat. It felt like a jungle gym for grownups, and we slept on mattresses at the tippy top in a loft. We scrambled up and down little stairs to get there, and luckily didn’t fall down in the morning.

Marlene works in research and conservation - there’s plants all over the house. She fed us a great breakfast and sent us on our way to Marburg.

 

Marburg

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Marburg may be the prettiest place we’ve stopped so far. A castle on top of a hill, little central gardens in residential neighborhoods, painted houses gripping to the hilly landscape - all of that and more. We got into town and stayed with Jorge. He’s this eccentric dad who runs a cafe and music venue called Q. (He always called it The Q when talking to us though.)

We met his kids, who were completely used to artists and musicians sleeping in the spare room. When we walked in, they didn’t even look up or bat an eye. He made sure we felt right at home - it’s easier for everyone that way.

We played. I say in a red and gold throne of a chair. We sold CDs to strangers. Jorge and I hugged a lot. We slept in and got a late breakfast with him and the fam. Then they sent us on our way.

 

Dusseldorf

 Photo by @rockthatmood - hey thanks Nadia!

Photo by @rockthatmood - hey thanks Nadia!

I’ve written all of the above in the green room at the venue. We got in a bit early, and Paschal got us set up and ready to roll. Finn check our sound lickety split, so I got to eat some pasta in this backroom while typing up the last few days.

When I think about what’s happened so far, the parts that I’ve written about seem to stick out the most. I’ve tried to keep up with the great things, writing them down so I don’t forget, but also so I appreciate them. Sometimes I think I should explore a city more often, but I really love being able to sit down and commit some of my favorite moments to this little journal. And then commit them to memory by default.

I only have five more shows left to play with Dan. After that, I have five more shows to play in Germany at all. I’m trying to soak things in and talk to as many people as I can. And I’m trying to make a few notes to remember a bit of their stories.

I’m going to write a setlist now. And then play some songs with a good friend. And then go to sleep. And then wake up. And then do it all again in Karlsruhe tomorrow.