Litfass is a quaint bar near this hip town-square area of Bremen. All beautiful stonework and cute houses, cobblestone paths and narrow streets. We played for a polite, attentive crowd (which has been de riguer in Germany) and were joined for the first time by our occasional tour buddy Drew Davis. Truly beautiful evening (and Steve is here!).
So we’re two shows in (~493 to go) and are reasonably settled in Germany. Traveling without a proper SIM card makes everything seem like 1998. You just have to – wait – for things. But everyone’s incredibly nice and patient with us. I’ve found that Germans have a secret, commonly understood password to let you know they speak English. That password is as follows – if you ask them if they speak English, and they say “a little” they speak FLAWLESS ENGLISH. That’s the password. Or I guess a “pass-phrase”.
Random story from two days ago – we were in Hannover, getting ready to head back after a really fun show at Sofaloft. Aviva went to pick up some food while Josh and I waited near the car, and these four extremely drunk dudes came up to us asking for a lighter. Which we didn’t have. But it sparked a conversation, and they found out we were a touring band. One of the dudes opened the passenger side door, looked at me and slurred “You, singer, sing me a song. Sing me John Denver – Leaving on a Jet Plane”. At which point he lifted up his shift and – I shit you not – dude had the words for the chorus of the song tattooed on his abdomen. So I sang him the song. I mean, you kind of have to in that situation.
Two shows in Bremen today, it’s picking up speed this afternoon!
Our hosts were lovely and by the time we chatted with them after the show, had a few drinks under their collective belts. We practiced our non-existent German, drank some beer, and ate some food before heading back very late to Bremen. Steve was to come the following day, and we would almost be at full strength.
The sound was absolutely stellar, facilitated by our main man Doerk von Erlbeg, who worked with us to get a really fantastic feel. We played two sets, including a few new songs – a B-side off Red called “Kings of the County” and a cover of the Beatles song “Something”. We were well received, and Aviva even got to be the glück-fairy for the evening. We stayed at Doerk’s place that evening, who was talking at one point about how he really wanted to create a global artist community: “You know, at one point my roommates moved out and I thought to myself, I could either get new roommates, or use this as a place to house artists coming through.” So nice to know how connected everyone is, and how willing people are to put in time helping folks out.
We finally got Blue Shift out in physical and digital formats and celebrated at Rockwood Music Hall. Looking back on the project now, it’s a seriously mixed bag. It ate my life for about a year, which is an unacceptably long amount of time for a project to be a creative block for other things, but we captured some really lovely performances and learned a TON about live production. So the next “shift” album will be significantly faster. I mean, if there’s any justice in the universe.
Setlist for the 31 August Rockwood show:
The Returning of the Doves
The Weight (The Band cover)
beforeYour entire life led up to this moment.after