Tour Diary - Germany Day 5

Day 5 - Bombs on The Reeperbahn (04.11.15)

Awake at 2am with forty-five minutes sleep under my belt, a wicked case of de ja vu struck as Mason pulled up outside. Time for leg two of our euro tour. We couldn’t do all nine dates back-to-back due to work commitments so we broke it in half, remaining busy in between with solid gigs in Liverpool (Zanzibar) and Blackpool (Halloween show at Bootleg Social), it was time to fly again. This tour would see a lot of firsts: Our first time playing Germany; first time playing the same venue two nights in a row; first time playing live for over an hour (hard to believe I know); First time we’d miss a flight; all this is to come and more…
Eventually taking a plane flight becomes like catching a bus. Boarding my fifth and penultimate flight of the year I switched off again and boosted my sleep total to around 2 hours. Kal had somehow lost his lip-ring in a burger, Damo and Johnny quickly noticed that, minus the metal, he has the exact same lips as Caitlin Jenner (FKA Bruce) – and they were right.

After picking up snacks and supplies, we floated through Schiphol airport at speed reuniting with our Dutch tour manager Jordy. We handed him a bottle of Captain Morgan’s as the Dutch don’t seem to stock dark rum. Next thing we were on the autobahn to the legendary Reeperbahn (AKA Die Sundigste Meile – The Most Sinful Mile).
We stopped at some services as we crossed the boarder into Deutschland. Mason commented that it looked like I had two black eyes, little sleep will do that. I regrettably made my first beer a Cab Cola, whilst the guys went for the more reliable Warsteiner and Krombacher. After meeting Shawn James & The Shapeshifters, Johnny and Mason’s new favourite pass-time is ‘Powerplays’, comical juvenile one upmanship. This battle began with Johnny knocking Mason’s bag of jelly cola bottles across the car park, Mason responded by popping Johnny’s bag of crisps causing them to spill out. Johnny would be the victor only minutes later when he managed to stuff the crisps down Mason’s tight jeans and smack his ass causing them to crumble down his legs. I have never seen Johnny laugh so hard, his tour was already made as Mason sat uncomfortably for the next hour.

Whilst listening to German ambulances fly by, sirens sounding akin to whining kittens, Damien and myself corresponded with record companies over the release of our new album. With successful resolution, we agreed terms and rolled into the mighty city of Hamburg (the EUs eighth largest) feeling ecstatic. Cruising onto the Reeperbahn as dusk began to fall, Hamburgs Red Light District immediately lived up to its reputation. Oozing sleaze from every concrete orifice, you could see why four lads from Liverpool had so much fun there before embarking on their global fame as the Beatles. Every other shop sells sex, in every form and manner. I glanced young Kal staring out the window like a fledgling aspiring actress upon arrival in Hollywood, though their intentions worlds apart, I imagine the end results are pretty similar.

In between a  lap dance bar and a brothel we found the alley to our hotel – Hotel Hostel, nice. A labyrinthine building which seemed somewhat free of the decadence and debauchery of its surroundings. With no time to settle we were out and strolling down the strip, reminiscent of American roads I’ve walked, wide on all sides and attacking the senses with sound, fluorescence and city essence. A few hundred feet down we arrived at our venue for the next two nights – Cowboy Und Indianer.

We were introduced to the bar manager Sven, known as ‘the Long Man’, a six-foot eight giant who made Jordy look small and Damien look like a child (reducing the rest of us to mere hobbits). We also met Jordy’s super-friendly German booking partner Tanja. We soundchecked and then indulged in a few giant free beers before heading a few doors down to the Herzblut (Heartblood?) for some of the best burgers we ever did taste. Of course they got Johnnys order (plain burger, absolutely nothing on it) wrong, as usual his face was a picture. I sampled the local delicacy - Astra beer, making that about five uber-pints before we even hit the stage.
Back at the Cowboy we killed it. A swift forty minute set to a near-full venue, it’s not the biggest of places and the stage is at the door as you enter but by the end both sides of the room were nodding and cheering in appreciation. We then sat back and watched a Californian duo, pianist and drummer known as ‘Sit Kitty Sit’ show off some supreme musicianship and bring the house down in extraordinary style.

Now I should mention here – it was a free bar, and where I’m from if something’s free you take it until it’s gone… all gone. A Yorkshire Bastard, as my friends like to call me, my dad raised me this way. There was never a buffet where I ate less than three plates. So, a free bar in Germany, two hours sleep from the last forty, the Long Man lurking with shots and long-beers… the disastrous recipe was written in ethanol. After the last leg of the Euro Tour I was sure I was going to stick to the beers but between our new Californian friends (Mike, Kat and Kristy) and the excitable locals, a few shots slipped through my deflector shields. Next thing… yeah, you guessed it… another blackout. The aftermath will be covered in the next instalment – queue the toughest gig of my life with only myself to blame, well, maybe the Long Man too...

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