Tuesday 9 June 2009

It was a rainy day in Paris...

But, first it was a stormy night in Lyon. We found ourselves back at Sonic and playing with our friends Troum. This is also a favorite venue of mine. The obvious reasons are that it's a boat in a really beautiful city with portholes that one could look out at the city through.

The other reasons probably have something to do with us playing with good friends here and Pierre, who's books our shows, is one mega-amazing cook. Inevitably, though, a night in Lyon means a night in Pierre's crazy apartment on the top floor of building that is older than Canada.

Next up, Paris!

We arrived a day early to our really great accommodations care of Ziad, who essentially gave us his apartment while we were in town. Also, just a few blocks from the venue, Les Instants Chavirés, where that night Peter Brötzmann and his pals were free-jazzing it. Lucky, as we sometimes get.

It was pouring rain as we attempted to whip around the city, but whip around we did to the basics, as it was a sad Monday and the museums were closed. Eric took some great pictures and you should look HERE for his account of how things went down.

The show itself was pretty great and the super soundguy even taught me a neato trick to keep my crappy bass grounded - I, of course, then worried about potential electric shocks; but then, I tend to create terrifying scenarios in my head that aren't likely to occur.

Saturday 6 June 2009

Riviera Riviera Pomodoro Tomate

We left Genova and took the scenic coastal route along the Mediterranean - we had a bit of a rough start as the Italian Riviera is seriously congested with both people and cars and pedestrians think that just because traffic is moving slowly it doesn't mean that they will not walk into cars and freak everybody the hell out.

I was pretty excited to wade into the Mediterranean, but as we pulled over in Menton, FR and wandered over to the shore, I'll admit it was pretty icky. However, I was kind of determined so we found a rocky little chunk of shoreline that didn't have any visible garbage floating in the immediate surf and in I went, only to emerge with itchy legs...

I guess it's all pretty resorty along this coast, that is, unless you're 'that' kind of rich and we were not, so we moved along to stay with friends we've never met who live in the lovely country side of Provence.

I just have to say here that a day off with Jerome, Alex, Jules, Charlotte, and one crazy kitten was exactly what we all needed. We were met with good food and the sweetest, nicest family in all of France.

La tres jolie Charlotte was my stand-in as I took a couple shots of really beautiful and old Pertuis.

Friday 5 June 2009

Bella Italia

After a really dizzying drive over, through and around and around the Italian Alps, we arrived in Brescia (IT) to play a really weird show in a restaurant. We felt oddly unwelcome, but this is only because of the way things are done here and we were probably just as welcome as any band that comes here - I'm not exactly sure on specifics of how things are actually done, but it was strange and we slept in the restaurant owner's apartment, in the room next to his grandmother's. (Actually, our suspicions lead us to believe there was no grandmother on the premises and he just didn't want us to use his couch pillows to cushion the floor a couple of us slept on; but, I digress...)

We were fed really well and drank some great Campari cocktails. Also, we played pingpong.

I really sadly didn't get to see either Venice or Milan as we drove through Northern Italy, but we stopped for lunch in tiny town near a fountain and a church.

Our next stop in Genova was both a treat and possibly the scariest driving exercise I've ever had to endure. It's a really big, old city built on a cliff at what seems like an 85 degree angle. If you miss your turnoff, you have to drive up the mountain and then back down, all on really curvy and very narrow alleys - with really tight u-turns, all with a couple dozen death-wishing scooters buzzing madly around at all times. We finally found our way to Burrida, a huge old villa turned arts complex perched on a hill - but also down into a valley.

On a short walk:

Today, we set out along the Italian Riviera and into the French version making a pit stop in Menton, FR to wade into the surprising dirty Mediterranean before our day off in Provence.


Wednesday 3 June 2009

Germany's Ottawa Equivalent & A Garden Show in the Southwest

Left Berlin Monday morning after a power breakfast, but Eric is still a little jetlagged.

Our first stop is Frankfurt (DE) and I have to admit that I don't really care for this city. It reminds me of Ottawa in it's dull, concrete-ness with touch of self-awareness so they plant a few gardens and trees. We've also never had a good time in Frankfurt, whether we're playing a show or waiting for a train. However, this time seemed a little more promising as we were set to play in squat on University grounds - probably the only interesting thing to happen in Frankfurt was the formation of the Frankfurt School based within the University and probably the only reason a squat was allowed to exist on it's turf. This buoyed my expectations, but the show itself remained in the 'just alright' realm. You could look here for pictures of the show that an attendee took. The following is small sampling of the graffiti and a poster found at IVI - I could wax on and on about the politically contradictory holes one finds oneself in when not thoroughly thinking through a strong viewpoint, but I won't.

The morning aftermath was a pleasant and delicious breakfast under a tree and near a wall, this helped me feel the tour will only get better.

We arrived in Esslingen (DE) to find out we would be playing an outdoor show in a really amazing garden-house-thing. Villa Merkel is a gallery that co-produces shows in it's yard with a local youth centre. After last night's show, we thought sound problems would plague us for the rest of the tour, but these dudes knew what they were doing and it was all super.

This is thisquietarmy's set in the still sunlight.

It was dark by the time we played and Eric took this picture.