After 3 days in Zurich I jumped on a train to Winterthur, only about 30 minutes from Zurich. I had two suitcases and my guitar so the 15 minute walk from the station to Portier (the venue) was a lot more difficult than I’d imagined. I always forget about curbs, stairs and hills. Suitcases with wheels are awesome until you get to a flight of stairs. Then you just wish you’d packed lighter. Anyway, after battling against numerous hills, stairs and curbs I made it to the venue. It was situated in a district of old recycled railway buildings. They’d all been turned into bars, cafes, shops, art galleries, bicycle repair centres etc... All very cool. I was so interested that I walked right past the venue and ended up getting a little lost. I eventually found my way to the venue.
Portier is a small cafe but once we’d moved a few chairs and tables around it made for a really nice space to play. We had a full house and the people were very appreciative. I played a set with lots of new songs in. Some of the songs were getting their first proper outing and it felt good to be brave and give them a go. It’s so easy to fall back on playing songs I’m comfortable with, but the problem with that is that until you start playing the new stuff you’re never going to be comfortable with it. I always get a sense of how I feel about new songs when I play them to an audience and I was pleased with how I felt about the new material. There’s a couple of tweaks I might make here and there but overal I’ve now got about 8 songs ready for the next batch of recording.
Next up was a trip to Bern. I played in Bern about 4/5 years ago and had a great time there. I remember meeting a guy who called himself ‘Dr Strangelove’. He owned a VHS shop and the reason he called himself a doctor was because he would prescribe films to his ‘patients’ based on how they were feeling. He was a very unique and charismatic guy and he was great to be around. I was loosely planning on trying to find him this time around. I was curious to see if his shop was still there. Owning a VHS shop these days can’t be the easiest business. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to go and look for him, but I did ask the audience at the show. It turns out the barman knew of him. He told me that he’d recently tried to set up a new political party but wasn’t sure how successful he’d been.
Anyway, the show itself was incredible. Adrian at Cafe Martha was so hospitable and Tom on sound did a great job getting the sound right for me during the soundcheck. When I feel that relaxed going on stage I almost know that the gig itself will go well. It really makes such a huge difference. By the time I started playing the venue was packed too. There were people sitting on the stairs and lots of people standing. I couldn’t quite believe how quiet it was. With that many people there’s usually one or two people whispering to each other, but at Cafe Martha you could hear a pin drop. I tried out the new songs again and they were a little more assured than the previous night at Portier. The tweaks I’d decided upon worked and they went down well. When I was selling CD’s at the end of the night a few people asked about the new songs and which CD contained them. It’s always a good sign.
I’m now staying in Lörrach, which is another town I visited on my last trip. I’m playing a house concert for a friend and I know that I’ll know many of the audience members from the last time I was here. I’m glad I’ve got a few new songs to share with them and I’m looking forward to catching up with them. Lörrach itself is a really nice little town on the German/Swiss border, close to Basel. It’s a perfect place to relax and get a bit of rest before the tour gets going again. After my gig tomorrow I’ll be travelling constantly till the end of the tour so it’s good to have a slightly longer stay in one place.