Swiss Leg - Winterthur and Bern

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.

Playing in Cafe Martha, Bern - 20th November 2018

Playing in Cafe Martha, Bern - 20th November 2018

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. 

Touring - Switzerland, Austria and Germany

It’s been way too long since I updated this blog. I guess I often feel I’ve no news to report but being on tour gives me no excuse. It’s exciting to be travelling and playing shows and I get so much more time to do this kind of thing when I’m on the road. I also have time to write, so I’m hoping to get a few half baked songs into shape.

I arrived in Zürich on Friday and played my first show at Jenseits Im Viadukt last night. It’s a great venue built into the viaduct underneath the railway line. There’s a whole strip of shops, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. It feels very cool and bohemian and all the people are stylish and good looking. I played at this venue about two years ago. I remember it well as I met up with my friends Jospeh and Maia beforehand for a quick swim in the River Limmat. It was summer then, and last night the water didn’t seem as inviting. But the welcome from the people at the show was just as warm. Such hospitality here. The venues really know how to make you feel welcome and I always feel it makes a difference to the way I play. 

Playing at Jenseits Im Viadukt - 17/11/18 - photo by Claudia Dee

Playing at Jenseits Im Viadukt - 17/11/18 - photo by Claudia Dee

I’m staying with a friend of a friend here. His name is Daniel and he’s a pastor at a church in Zürich. As it’s Sunday I’ve just returned from his Sunday service. It’s the first service I’ve been to since primary school I think. It was all in Swiss German too so I had absolutely no idea what it was about but I did enjoy the music. They had an accordion orchestra. I must admit when I heard about it I wasn’t too excited the idea, but their were music was joyful and their enthusiasm infectious. The conductor had a lot of energy and everyone seemed like they were having the time of their lives. 

Later on I’ll be working on some songs and then going for a walk. There’s talk of going to a gig tonight too. Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Winterthur for the next show. Someone told me at the gig last night that it’s got a really good reputation for music so I’m looking forward to it.  

Thanks for reading. Check back in a few days for more tour updates

New Website Now, Free Downloads etc...

Hey folks, welcome to the new website. For years I've been writing designing and writing code for my website. I decided recently that I no longer want to spend time scratching my head trying to figure out why a line has appeared in the middle of the screen, or why the picture I added has appeared on top of the text. So for that reason I'm using Squarespace. We'll see how it goes but so far it's very easy to use and I can post updates from my phone. Updating my old website was always a bit of an ordeal and I think that's why I didn't do it very often. I'm actually on holiday in Turkey at the moment, and if I can successfully post an update whilst sitting beside the pool sipping a cocktail then it's safe to say this one is much easier to update. So hopefully I'll be able to keep on top of it better, which means more regular updates. I'm also going to start giving away free downloads for all those signed up to the mailing list. The idea is to record at least one cover a month and give it away to subscribers. If you haven't subscribed you an do so at the bottom of the page. I'll be recording the first one as soon as I get back at the beginning of August so look out for the email. 

Ok that's all for now, do let me know if anything on the new website isn't working properly.  

Thanks for reading