8 Sep – Litfass, Bremen DE

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!).


8 September – Notes from Germany

Aviva and I are sitting in the Starbucks at the Central Station in Bremen, the only place we can get reliable WiFi (that we, foolish Americans, know of), so I’m going to dash something off real quick-like.

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!
Sofaloft - Hannover DE

6 Sep – Softloft, Hannover DE

One unique thing about the tour was that, because we didn’t speak any German, we had no idea what kind of location we were going to each day. We woke up in Duisburg at around 3 in the afternoon the next day and began our journey to our second gig of the tour, at a modern furniture shop in Hannover. It ended up being a large, beautiful concert space with a deep stage that we chose to decorate with some of the random knick knacks we found around the store. We apparently found that randomness so compelling that we neglected to take pictures of anything else. We were all wildly jet-lagged still, so it’s probably for the best.

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.

5 Sep – Big Buttinsky, Osnabrück DE

Osnabrück is a quaint town in Lower Saxony dominated by a gigantic Cathedral dedicated to St. Peter (built in the 11th century!). The town has one main drag which contains the Big Buttinsky, a cute venue cuddled next to a movie theater. We thought the venue called for us to play “Fat Bottomed Girls,” but as it was our first show of the tour and I’d just picked up Aviva and Josh from the airport a few hours before, we decided to play it a little more straight. PS – those guys powered their first European set after being up for about 30 hours – TROOPERS.

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. Live

31 August, Rockwood Music Hall


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:

English Teacher
Cedar Beach
The Returning of the Doves
Steve McQueen
Texas Two
Leaving Charleston
The Weight (The Band cover)