Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the longest day

Day 20

i hadn't really noticed this little gig
in Krefeld
a 4 and a half hour drive from Hamburg
with no guaranteed money
we were back safe and sound
but completley worn out
in our home away from home
Casa Buskies
in Hamburg
it didn't really make any sense for me
to travel 9 hours round trip
to play tiny Krefeld
especially for no money
but at the Tapete headquarters
early that morning
Gunther and Basti voiced their desire for me to play the show anyway
as Kulterrampe was a new club they'd never booked before
and me cancelling might hurt their relationship
with the club
i understood
and agreed to "take one for the team"
one of the nice Tapete interns
kindly agreed to accompany me to Krefeld
we left at about 3:30
he'd never driven an automatic before
so it was kind of funny
and scary
when he got behind the wheel of the Toyota microwave
for the first time
after some start stop jerking he began to get the hang of it
we didn't get to Krefeld until 8:30
the club owner was outside
nervously pacing the parking lot
he was obviously concerned about whether or not
we were gong to actually show up
even though the practicality of this gig
didn't make much sense to me
i'm glad i did it
a girl named Nicole
who had travelled several hours to my noisy show in Buchen
also made a 2 hour drive to this one
i would have felt like a world class cad
if i'd cancelled it and then found out she showed up
if i'd cancelled i also would've never gotten a chance to meet
the extraordinary Mojo Mendiola
a photographer
and world traveler
who happened to be living in Krefeld
i've attached a photo of him
playing in New York
in the 1970s
i've also included this review he wrote of the show

Salim Nourallah: A quiet magician at the Kulturrampe

By Mojo Mendiola

His Daddy a Syrian, his Mom an American, born in Illinois, grown up in Texas, as a kid presented with the Beatles’ White Album by his Granny after begging for it for a long time, meanwhile a much in demand studio owner and producer in Dallas and honored as a singer/songwriter – so much for the history of Salim Nourallah.

There he stands with his guitar on the Kulturrampe stage, a soft spoken, almost shy seeming young man, and fights a loose connection during his first song. The title "Don’t Be Afraid“ is getting an unexpected ironical connotation. Then, with his warm baritone voice, he sings his songs, reminding time and again of Lennon/McCartney melodically, yet full of original ideas and rhythm-wise moving towards West Coast Rock. He strums his Guild in full chords, now and then blends in descent flat-picking. It doesn’t sound a bit like Texas and he doesn’t even speak (or sing) the typical accent.

Well, the Texas Twang wouldn’t fit his sensitive ballads anyway. They come in a simple but profound, sometimes even enigmatic manner. His relaxed vocals can suddenly jump into sharpness, but then he doesn’t take himself too serious and immediately – with a twinkle in his eye – draws back. Almost slapstick like and as if parodying himself he builds in those little eruptions, creates dynamics, only to return to his warm basic tone a few bars later.

As a kid he was often harassed because of his Arabic name. So in many of his songs he talks about his attempts not to be anxious. Fear leads people to evil outbursts, and at those he is aiming. “Love is for heroes, hate is for fools”, this is his credo. "In this violent world I applaud your innocence“ another line reads and he is thinking of his children, the four year old son and the baby to come. And he sings these lines without any false pathos, almost just by the way, humbly on one hand, nonetheless decided on the other.

So the audience is hardly realizing how fast his magic is making time pass even without spectacular highlights. Only when Nourallah is about to finish his performance the ban loosens. The man, who tours more in Europe than he does in the States, has to travel on to Hamburg the very same night. But he is not allowed to go there without giving a few encores first.

after the show Matthias and i inhaled a cold meal
and then hit the road
it was only 11:30 but that would put us back in Hamburg
around 4am
it rained the whole way back
which was kind of stressful
but M was a methodical
and safe driver
we listened to the entire Tapete 100 compiltation cd
which was nice
i felt proud to be on the 100 cd
and blessed to be invovled with such a fantastic record label
really a dream come true for me
to actually love my label
and i do
i love you Tapete!!!
when i dropped Matthias off
we were so out of it
delirious and floaty feeling
i soon realized he'd walked off with the keys to the car
weird thing is
it was still running
so i went home
with the sinking feeling that we would be stranded
the next day
unable to start our microwave on wheels
by the time i finally got to bed
alongside my sweet family
i don't think i'd ever been more tired
it felt so good to be back home
safe and sound
J and G sleeping peacefully in the dark upstairs room
brought me comfort
my longest day
finally over
at 5am


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