March 20th, 2011
December 7th, 2010
November 16th, 2010
October 26th, 2010
In Dublin we played Whelan’s then went looking for a bar that wasn’t a cheeseball meat market but to no avail. We went back to the hotel (The Arlington, which has traditional Celtic music and dancing a la Riverdance) & persuaded the manager to ket us drink in the just-closed bar, where we sort of took over. Ed & Greg played showtunes & won over the bartender & mgr who were ready to leave & go the hell home after a long shift, and we ended up drinking Guiness & Hennessy till 3am.
i thought this was a rave club till i saw the guy in the white lab coat thru the window
then came Galway…
Ed Harcourt, the mad genius Englishman, joined us for the Irish shows as an opener – it’s intimidating going on after such a bombastic talent. If you don’t know his stuff there’s a “Best Of” album, but get the new record called “Lustre”. I get a lump in my throat once a night when he plays, which is so unlikely when you know the artist and have “seen behind the curtain” – still his music affects me strongly. He also happens to be hilarious.
In Galway our friend Gúgai took us again to Cava, a Spanish tapas place, and I think one of the best bistros I’ve ever been to. If you’re there, you MUST go or you’re missing out – I never knew what my I wanted my last meal to be until I ate at Cava. Killer relaxed vibe and 1920’s-style hot jazz guitar/violin duo (think Django/Grappelli) support a great place for memorable occasions with close friends. Which is what we had. If all tours were like this I’d perpetually stay on the road.
August 26th, 2010
This was a quick 2-week run, but for some reason – not tedium, mind you – it seemed like six weeks. Perception of time is apparently elastic (or is time itself elastic?). Einstein thought so, anyway. Ireland and Scotland are always a hoot, and Belgium showed a lot of love to be sure. Our London show was surreal and ethereal, with a heaviness that only comes when you play in an old-ass stone cavernous sacred space like the one we did.
ALSO, regarding Galway, Ireland - if you are there go to Cava, a Spanish tapas restaurant (yeah, right? Ireland?) and order the confit of pork belly. Three words, people: last meal menu. Mark & I like it so much we went back the next day & ordered it again.
This is Karl, from Hasselt, Belgium.
My TM Keith (left) and I were walking around Hasselt after the Pukkelpop show (same night as those two tragic deaths, btw) looking for a pint, and I noticed all the St. Mary-themed iconography all over. I stopped to snap a shrine and this guy comes rolling up on us asking in Flemish what we’re doing – when he discovered we were foreign & spoke English he got excited, & promptly clued us in on the city’s Festival of the Virgin that was happening (once every seven years), and demanded that we come see his home around the corner where he had a nice shrine in the courtyard. Then he invited us to have some beer at a temporary family “cafe” that had been set up in a former art-supply store, full of his family and family friends.
Our intent was to grab a quick beer and return to the hotel but it turned into a great time, full of laughter and storytelling, and we accidentally got kind of hammered on Leffe. Totally unexpected. This is why I travel. Perusing architecture is fine, but hanging out with your friends for a living and making new relations is a gift.
I’m looking forward now to some American football and some food experimentation back in the NOLA, and to start paying back the generosity and warmth shown me by my friends in early August. Boarding the plane in 9 hours, with anticipation in my heart.