After the music marathon in Ghent, we headed on to Amsterdam to play an open mic night there at a bar called Jet Lounge, this was a completely different set up but just as fun. We were staying with Naomi’s friend Wouter and his housemate Bart. Naomi met Wouter when she was volunteering for a chocolate company in Peru. When we got to the venue there were loads of musicians already there, which was a good sign and there was only one space left so we quickly signed ourselves up and sat down to listen to the other songwriters.
The venue is part of the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild and the night is run by a guy called Max Vanremmerden. He made us feel very welcome and the night had a really good vibe. We tried to get some video of the night but unfortunately the adapter issue raised its head and the camera stopped after a few minutes. Despite our false start with the keyboard power lead, we were given a great reception and it was a lovely gig. We only had time for three songs so we chose Falling (a new song), Little Things and So What.
The next morning we wandered around the beautiful canals of Amsterdam before heading on to our next stop - a beautiful country house in a town called Krefeld (Forsthaus), where we stayed with Anke, her husband Philip and her family. Anke is a friend of Naomi’s from when she studied in France as part of her University course. It was nice to have a day off doing nothing, enjoying their garden and catching up. We then spotted the piano in the corner and couldn’t help being drawn towards it. They asked us to play a couple of songs, which turned into a couple more and before we knew it, we were playing our first house concert.
We now have our youngest fans, 2 and 5, who were allowed to stay up especially to hear us play and listened with big smiles on their faces. We found out later on that Freddie has named his toy “Charlie” and recognised us on our CD that Anke played in the car the next day. We stayed on the next morning to do a bit of songwriting - making the most of having a piano to play - and a new song idea popped out that will hopefully be fully formed soon. After that we packed up our things, got on the train and headed off to Bonn.
After a quick and easy train journey - Interrail was so easy throughout the tour - we found ourselves meeting another old friend of Naomi’s, Anja, who was waiting for us on the platform with her two boys. We drove out to Königswinter, where they live, dropped our bags and tucked in to tea and lots of chocolate. That night we just took it easy, ordered pizza and caught up with Anja and Ronny.
Next day we had a big german brunch and then went into town and had a traditional Spaghetti Eis (Ice cream that looks like spaghetti) with the boys and took in more of the sights of Bonn before heading on to our next gig at the Folk Club. We arrived at the venue and weren’t sure what to expect. It looked more like a country club than a rock venue but we saw signs for the Folk Club, walked in, found a packed room with a piano and knew we were in the right place!
Barry and John came over and said hello, explained what was going on and how the night ran, then casually told us we were the headline act for the night, so no pressure then. There was a lot more music than we thought there would be with great traditional folk songs, a choir and Günther, an 87 year old piano maestro who played all your favourite classical hits and a few jazzy numbers too.
All of the acts were really good and it was wonderful to see local talent supported with Richard Limbert starting off the night with a few of his own songs. Fernerliefen were up next. They are a local choir who sing their own arrangements of both popular and traditional folk songs. We particularly liked their version of Hound Dog. Both John and Barry sang some songs through the night including the famous folk song “Illkla Mooar Bahr T’at”. They had even gone to the trouble of printing out the lyrics with full Yorkshire dialect included. At this point Anja asked if this was English we were singing and we reassured her it was. You can read more about the night on John Hurd’s fantastic blog 3songsbonn. We had a great time there and we’re hoping to go back in November!
WIth the night over, we went back to Anja and Ronny’s house, had a casual chat about the benefits of Electric vs Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars (which really tested both our german) and slept soundly knowing we had just played our best gig so far. The next day, it was time to pack up and head on again to Stuttgart to check out a venue that wanted us to play in November. There’ll be more about this and the rest of the tour in the last installment of our Europe Tour blog.
We’re very happy to announce our first tour of Europe! We will be playing in Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany and France from 8th April to 18th April. We’ll be playing in the following venues:
09th April - Trefpunt - Ghent, Belgium
10th April - Jet Lounge - Amsterdam, Netherlands
13th April - Folk Club - Bonn, Germany
16th April - Moonlight Cafe - Lille, France
17th April - Au Petit Bonheur La Chance - Paris, France
If you are in those areas or know someone who is, please spread the word and come and join us - it should be great fun!