Spring Flowers Tour Germany 2017
The Official Tour Blog
So it’s been a whirlwind of weeks since the beginning of March. What with all things wrapped around Irish events and St. Patricks day festivities I have been on the road around Austria and Germany. It’s been “deadly” as we’d say in Dublin. The faces, the places and all the gigs. Well into April now I am coming to the end of a great Spring Tour. Added each day, please find small snippets and photos from the road. A wee tour journal if you will. See below for info on each show –
Live in Linz – Austria 25.03.03
Kultur & Medienverein
Okay so this was actually the first show of the Spring Flowers Tour, but due to confusion with German and Austrian dates, we thought it best to add the concert in as a separate show and a pre-runner to the Spring Flowers Tour. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it’s not a biggy! The show however should definitely get a mention as it was an amazing night. What a great crew in the super-coolest of locations in Linz. The concert itself was very strong. I was super relaxed and sat down for the whole event. Which added to the buzz. Songs were easy going and it felt more like a homely Irish Session/songwriter workshop than an actual gig. I loved it. Loved the crew too. Can’t wait to make it back. My first ever show in Linz and it has left an indelible mark. See below for the blog. Thanks to the DH5 crew. You were incredible. So was the food!
Saxo Bar Remscheid – 29.03. 2017
The first show
Saxo Bar Remscheid is the coolest wee venue. My third time to play here and it always feels like you are walking into your kitchen. They even know the songs now! And what a cool crowd last night – you could hear a pin-drop amidst the “whispers” (thank you Tracey Chapman). That was until at least the the clapping and singalong started. Foot stomping too – woo woo. To all the Saxo crew and family. Thanks for making it a lovely gig and a very nice beginning. One show down – eight to go.
Next it’s on to Rees and a new show. “New town nerves” are infull effect which is always a good sign. Been looking forward to this show for a long time. Event link – https://www.facebook.com/events/2000302690192582/
Rheinterrassen Rees – 29.03. 2017
Show number 2
So imagine an old river village, architecture distinctly Dutch German with a relaxed dock side bar vibe (Ottis Redding immediately springs to mind). Add in the people to fit the picture and you’ll begin to get the feel for last nights venue. In a word “gemütlich”.
I’m sitting here in the sun on a balcony overlooking the Rhein reflecting on last nights gig…. if you could call it that. It was more like an Irish home session. My host for the evening, the mighty Sean Ö Cullan from Cork, might have had something to do with that and sure you can’t go wrong with a river. I’ll be honest, a river has always had a profound effect on me. I’m easily pleased. I like the water and I love the sea. But let’s not forget the all important other factors… The people, the sound, the songs and the singing. That perfect periodical package.
The Rheinnterassen Rees is not the biggest of rooms and yet one of the warmest I’ve played. With people singing on every stool. These are the grassroots gigs for songwriters that nurture and feed the soul. Two shows in and tonight I play in an old church. I look forward. My heart already full. Thanks to Seán and Andrea and all at the venue. Is mo chroí lán cheana féin. Beidh mé ar siul agus ag feachaint…
E.v. Kirche – Mehr 30.03. 2017
Show number 3
Churches are sacred places. We’ve been told this since we were children. Is it the art, the design or sometimes the sheer scale. I suppose it’s personal to us. For me it is in nature where I feel most comfortable. As a singer however, whatever your stand or belief, to sing in these magnificent spaces is something to experience. I have sang in Cathedrals and small churches alike. I am always moved by the moment and the sound. Like amphitheaters of old, or even stone circles, the masons who constructed these spaces knew what they wanted to achieve. In sound information is carried and singing is an amazing way to come together. Like all the great Cathedrals of old, most holy places are built over older holy places. Factor that all in and you have a stage set for magical movements and energy. When you sing in such a space, you can’t help but be carried.
This show in Mehr was one I was looking forward to. Three dates into this Spring German tour, all of which have been really strong… I had a feeling about this one. The room was sparsely decorated. Clean and white with petrol blue pews that were so comfortable. The high pulpit behind the stage set a lovely backdrop that faced an old immaculately kept pipe organ. Along with the crowd that faced me, this was my visual. I played to a beautiful warm receptive audience. People who haven’t heard my music before carried my songs and opened their heart to me and my culture. I played songs in Gaelic, English even German. Captivated by the acoustics I sang for all my little lungs would allow, finding notes I didn’t know I had. Now I am not saying they were good notes… but they were definitely new. I had so much fun and a night I did not want to end. It is in spaces like these that honest songs really exist.
I want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out. We’ve met and I shook hands with every single one of the congregation as they left. It was a powerful and emotional night. Thanks to Seání Collins for introducing me to great people, for supporting my music. I know I will be back. Until then I am taking you all with me. Mo bhuíochas… faoin gach rud!
Breakfast Concert on the Rhein &
Evening Party in Remsheid 01.04. 2017
Show number 4 & 5
Now folks – this is not an April fools day joke. Yes indeed – on the first of April, two shows and well over five and a half hours of music were played. The voice may have been feeling a little tender but the heart was full and it is safe to say the old adage was played… I was singer for my soul food supper! The very best of company at both rooms, Roller Hockey and Bodhrán’s were all the rage. Let’s not mention whiskey and croissants! Tanya, Markus, Sylvie and family. Danke fuer alles… Gruesse liebe! Yes they are French baguettes. Merci!
You could say this is where it all began. On the banks of the Rhein in Lülsdorf. My first foray into the world of House Concerts. Not knowing what to expect and not speaking the language, as the story goes, I came down the stairs into a new world and a full room of eagerly seated awaiting Germans, wanting this wee Irish man to sing songs. That was five years ago and although on reflection – I haven’t looked back… he says looking left. It’s been “Wundersuper!!!”.
My love affair with German speaking cultures started simultaneously in Austria & Germany. They both speak German you know. My introduction being Süd Tirol – German speaking, and once upon a time an Austrian region, it is now part of Italy. Figure that one out. Trips and shows in Carinthia would soon follow. I loved it all. So much so I moved to Vienna after being bewitched by a beautiful Waldvierteler woman in De Barra’s of Clonakilty, West Cork (Ireland). Now there’s a tale… And all at the same time. I think “Density” was calling, to coin the phrase!
This show in Lülsdorf was to be a surprise party. Yes I was told that I was playing a “House Concert”, but little did I know the surprise was for me. The show started early and it felt like the mother of all Irish Sunday Sessions with family and friends. Living away from Ireland and my chlann you need these days. I have been made so welcome over the years here and this time was no different. We all sang like our hearts would burst. It’s family!
Mel und Ulf… danke für alles.
A wee pause with some sightseeing.
Rheinland – Germany 4th – 5th April
With some time off and a few days to chill between the next run of shows in Nieder Saxon,
I got to see some of the sights of the area. Hills, rivers, river ferries, walking, chilling with friends and plenty of cake. The real highlight was the Drachenfels. Seven old Volcanoes that still tell tales of ancient dragons and warriors. A stunning place with history oozing round ever bend and bank of the mighty river Rhein. A sleepy serpent meandering through the hilly vales and thals.
As well as walking I had a chance to play some tunes with Ulf (sound engineer, driver, friend) as we found our way around cool songs featuring me new banjo Clementine. I am having so much fun with this little lady it has to be said. There is definitely a new spark to playing. With a new instrument to explore and play around with, especially one that covers both lead and rhythm, is cool. New sounds and ideas not to mention different ways to play old and new tunes; You have to think more but it is twice the fun. The five string banjo offers up far too many possibilities. I’m like a child in a chocolate factory… with a banjo…clearly! Don’t mention chocolate.
Did I also mention I like castles. This wee monster sits atop of the Drachenburg. Bult in the 1100’s it has a view that you wouldn’t believe. Busy from storming the keep and saving the day, it was time to chill in the sunshine. The Rhein, a dragon flows beneath me, like time. Mine’s a coffee Osnabrück – I’ll see you soon!
The Devil’s in the detail
Three shows in Niedersachsen 7th – 9th April
“The devil is in the detail”. I have used this saying many times but never actually understood what it really meant. Truth is I’ve had to look it up. Let’s be honest it’s a great line for a song. So I will write it. In the meantime, from what I can gather it means that in all things there is something finer, a catch or mysterious element to what ever task you set out upon or to achieve. When it comes to touring there is no truer an expression and I would completely subscribe to it. Now I wouldn’t see it as a negative, in fact mores the opposite. For me it’s definitely the magic that happens on the road. That three days in one experience.
Whether you are crossing the Rhein on a ferry with friends, only to stumble upon a church that was founded by the Bishop who ordained the man that was to be St. Patrick (if you believe in the St Patrick Story), or simply telling the story in the middle of a concert, in the house of a great music man (who had passed away), only for your loop station to come alive and begin to retell the whole story as you point to his picture (The loop station was recording unknownst to myself). To me that’s the magic in the moment. The devil in the detail that only travel and experience bring. Experience being the key word.
The Spring Flowers German (and Austrian) tour has been incredible. It’s been my strongest yet. I’ve never enjoyed playing music as much or have fully immersed myself in the singing of my songs, and songs of others. Great rooms were opened and cool people were met all along the way. Homely and just good crazy. A huge thanks to everyone who came to the shows and all who have helped me get out there. The final three concerts in Menslage, Alfhausen and the Muso concert (all full), with Stucky, Nico and the boys will stay with me for a long time. What a way to wind down. Tired and supported we sang our way through many hours of music… and then some more. Marcus Bruns and Marion for an amazing three days in Niedersachsen… Danke.
I never know how to wrap these things up. Nine concerts in twelve days. The reality is… all good things come to an end. Sounds a little downbeat for me. I’d like to think of it in terms of doors and windows and that scientific airing system you’ll hear tell of in Germany and Austria… the “Stossluften effect”! That for clean air you simply have to open a window or a door and let the new air in (wink wink). That will always change the dynamic. No matter what time of year. So for me… I am opening the doors and windows now once more and waiting for the fresh air to bring new information. New thoughts that will take me to new towns and back to old friends. Don’t worry… all your ages are safe with me 😉 Did I not say the Devil my friends … is in the detail!
Thanks a million to all who came to my shows, supported me, fed and watered this soul (Mel B and Ulf, not to mention the great and mighty Seání Collins and chlann) and all of you who bought my records. I hope I have given you as much fun and memories as you have given me. See you soon. Maybe November 😉