We continue with part 2 of our Guest Tour Blog from Echo Bloom’s founder, Kyle Evans, who shares his highlights and challenges from their recent tour of Germany where Kyle originally found his muse… in this latest entry the band perform songs of death and addiction for a room of 200 8-year olds, they almost miss their show in a 600-year old cathedral, and they step their toes into Austria. Read all the entries here.
Tour Blog Part 2
I mean, seriously. How can European streets be this *narrow*. There must be an evolutionary component to it – their wagons must have been narrow, so their carts were narrow, their carriages were narrow, then their teeny-tiny cars were narrow. So it’s only reasonable then that their streets are way more fucking narrow than any reasonable street should be. This makes perfect sense if everyone’s driving around something typically European, because those are all the size of a golf cart, but our van is more like a Zeppelin. It’s like driving a hovercraft, or some other large land/amphibious vehicle. Perhaps the most apropos way I can describe our land yacht is that this is a car that makes sense on the streets of ‘Murica. So it makes extra no-sense on the streets of Wismar, Germany, which is where we find ourselves this evening.
We’ve driven through the rain into this charmingly soaked port town in Northern Germany, and are currently standing outside of the venue, which has all of its lights off. Our record label, Songs and Whispers, has organized this tour, and has provided us with logistical support, a fair amount of gear, and a lot of promotional manpower. They rock hugely. And they are are *into* order. We’re promoting our new record Blue, and they have meticulously organized a 35-shows-in-31-days blitz. At the beginning of each week we get a spreadsheet that is like some kind of laminated idol. It not only tells us when we’re playing, but when we should soundcheck, when we should get there, when we should leave to get there, when we should think of leaving, and when we should consider more theoretical thoughts like “what is leaving? what is driving?”. It is a beacon of predictability, and the sheet said this is where we show up, and nobody’s here.So no sweat. We’re plucky Americans, and we can definitely entertain ourselves until somebody shows up. There’s a gigantic cathedral around the corner that looks like a spaceship made out of bricks, so we walk around that for a while, gobsmacked by the sheer size of the thing (unfortunately we can’t go in because there is an event) and go back to the gallery. Still nobody there. We go and eat dinner and come back. Still nobody there.
An aside. When was the last time you weren’t able to call somebody on the phone? For me, it was never. I’m imagining the children of the 70’s who must have agree to meet someone somewhere, and when getting there and not finding the person, just kind of – hung out for a while. Such is Europe when you don’t have an international cell phone plan. But it’s time! We are going to rock *something* this evening. So we wandered through the city until we found a hotel that had an open WiFi connection and called the promoter through Skype, who seemed *quite* glad to hear us.
“Where are you? We’re at the DOM!!”
“The DOM? We’re at the gallery – what’s the DOM?” (I think I actually said ‘we obey the spreadsheet’)
“The cathedral – the huge cathedral”.
Right before the show, people filing in (image above)
So the event that spaceship-like church was closed for was – wait for it – us. So we have a target! Ran to the cathedral, unloaded all of our stuff, briefly soundchecked while several hundred people piled in, had a little band huddle where we discussed the fact we were about to play a 700 year old cathedral, and walked out onstage. Definitely should play The Flood tonight.
…After the Show…
Ridiculously good show. They liked us! Mobbed after to sign CDs (aside – what is up with people still buying CDs? People in the US buy records. I am *not* complaining. I am *into* it). Went back with the promoter and drank a lot of wine in the earlier mentioned art gallery, talked about cats (aside – cats! everyone loves them! worldwide!) and then drove back to Bremen. Got to where we were staying at 4 in the morning. Which was convenient because we had to be up in 4 hours.
…4 hours later…
Dear holy God why am I awake now. We have to show up at a school? In front of impressionable High Schoolers? There is not enough coffee.
Showed up at the school, which we were instructed was going to be a kind of workshop. It is a workshop in that we work, and you could call a High School band room a “shop” if you squint your eyes a bit (which, let’s be honest, we were all doing at that hour). The band was run by a man named Stefan (aside – I did *not* have “rock band” in High School) who was amazingly kind and had arranged a few of our songs for his students to play. So we wandered in to find 30 bright-eyed 15 year olds who were a little nervous, had lots of questions about counterpoint and orchestration, and were *far* more awake than we were (a low bar, to be sure).
I always feel awkward around people significantly younger than me. I think it’s a practice thing. Like people who had way younger siblings are comfortable around babies, but whenever anybody hands me one I’m just worried I’m going to drop it. So Cody and Aviva, who have both spent time teaching and are far more socially adjusted than I, are immediately holding court. Aviva, as per always, has an sizable crew gathered around, and Cody has decided that he will be rhythm master (he has told the girl playing upright bass that she needs to play it so hard she thinks she’ll break it, and she’s looking at him with this look of terror and excitement). I end up by the piano talking about composition.
It’s funny hearing Stefan talk about how they used our music to talk about American folk music – “Kyle, I was telling them about how songs are structured with verses and choruses, but we learned your song Fireworks, and it doesn’t have any kind of structure. It has a 2 minute outro”.
ENJOY THE OUTRO STEFAN – IT’S PRETTY.
…In our next post: Jason arrives and rocks! An impromptu midnight swim in the Baltic Sea. More rock. More roll.
Photo Credit: Main post image by Ulla Heynes