Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Bent Moustache "tour" report

Last week proved to be a busy week in our band schedule. 2 gigs and a radio show! Hey, thats alot for us. We've been trying to get shows everywhere, but Dutch venues don't even reply to our requests for shows, even though you send them cds and bios. Its either sheer indifference, or the live experience is slowly dying a death over here. Strange that, as they never have a problem filling their agendas with Yank or Brit bands!

On Monday 1 May, we played in Amsterdam at the Bitterzoet. A fine venue this is too. I never knew of its existence before. A good alternative to the Paradiso / Melkweg duopoly. We rehearsed during the day and brushed away the cobwebs...and boy were there a few. In the evening we made our way into town in Wilf's old banger.....just the 3 of us with all our gear squeezed in....elegant slumming.....but we wouldn't have it any other way. 2 bands played before us...Dusty Blinds from Amsterdam. An excellent 3 piece...2 gals and a guy....on that whole Sleater-Kinney tip, but better. The other band...The Enablers from San Francisco...were just awful. Our turn arrived and we did a luxuries afforded to us. The set itself was good, with a couple of numbers played a wee bit too fast, but the energy was there. I felt strangely reclusive re. stage presence....couldn't look at the audience. Afterwards, my showbiz adviser, Uncle Siem, gave me good hints on how to wow the crowd, but I already knew these and would have to ensure I carried them out in force next time.

Thursday 4 May....we hit Zaan Radio for a live broadcast! It was Remembrance Day and at 8pm the nation observed a 2 minute silence. A strange experience is that. Sitting in a radio studio surrounded by radio bods who all actually keep schtum for longer than 10 seconds. We played 2 sets of about 20 mins each, interspersed with interviews and tracks from our favourite records. All the kids from my football team listened and were especially wowed by the fact that I gave them a big shoutout. There's nothing like getting a request played over the ethernet when you're young. Bob and Ditmer were our special guest musicians, who played bass and sax respectively on a couple of numbers.

Saturday 6 May....our big day out to Groningen. This was the first gig that The Bent Moustache had done outside of our region. And what a place to start. The Vera club....probably my favourite venue anywhere. The rush that you feel when you wake up in the morning knowing that you are going to be performing that night was there in full effect. Nothing can beat that feeling. Loading in the van is a more pleasurable experience than normal as you are preparing for an event that means alot to you, and you are united with your bandmates / friends / your gang. The strength of feeling between band members is even stronger at this time as you are on a road to glory. We hit the road on a beautiful summer afternoon, joined by our good friend Ditmer Weertman who would play sax on 3 numbers. I manned the wheel north. Great music poured out of the speakers and the kids sat back, reading the newspaper, talking, staring out of the window. Petrol station stop and fuel up on ice cream. We stopped at the halfway point on Afsluitdijk (the long road that stretches over the water at Ijselmeer...a great piece of Dutch engineering) to admire the view and have a break. Arriving in Groningen, we met several old friends at the Vera. Exactly a year ago, Dinosaur Jr. pitched camp there for a few days to rehearse, and play the first show of their reunion tour. For many of the staff, it was interesting for them to see me not behind the mixing desk, but onstage. Hedwig, our webmistress, was also there, and very nice it was to see her too. The gig took place in the cellar bar, and was nicely filled for our performance. The general feeling amongst the band was that it was a cracking show, and this time I took uncle Siem's showbiz tips and did my best to wow the crowd! The Groningen kids were down for some good house rockin' on a saturday night. Left the place to head back home happy and intoxicated.

Live at VERA Groningen I Photos by MarkS


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