Friday, May 08, 2009

day 4 - Berlin and LUX

i shook the jetlag by sleeping 8 hours at Casa Buskies
we woke to the sounds of the cleaning lady
took our time getting ready and headed to the Tapete offices
which are about 20 minutes away
the whole gang took us to a mod Chinese restaurant
i had some tofu vegetable dish that was good
it was mainly nice to eat something green
and without cheese
after lunch Matthias bravely volunteered to help take us to
an electronics shop to try and fix the video camera
plus find some fuses for my blown out merch lights
when we finally got to the place there began a series
of serious head shaking
fast talking German while looking down at my American devices
more head shaking
and in the end
Matthias translating to us that we were basically fucked
this archaic American fuse is not used in German
this Sanyo camera is, well, not made by a good company like Sony
so there was nothing we can do
he was only the messenger
i could tell he felt bad telling us
we walked back to the office Jayme got some decaf and a chocolate croissant
for Mr. Bread
we even popped in an organic grocery store and got some things
for Gavin
we said goodbye to Basti Gunther and Matthias
and headed for Berlin around 2
the drive was beautiful
lush green fields and tall pine trees
the amazing yellow flower fields too
we effortlessly cruised into the Berlin city center around 5:30
the traffic being not nearly as bad as we’d expected
our GPS led us to the Adina Hotel which we’d booked for 2 nights
judging from the hip mod lobby we had made the right decision
the man at the desk cheerfully told us our room had been upgraded
for free
that sounded nice
when we opened the door to room 313 we were stunned
the room was spectacular
a spacious living room with a kitchen
tall windows looking out over a city view
the bathroom was state of the art with a washer and dryer in
the closet
this was seriously one of the nicest hotel rooms i’d ever been in
i felt like we’d entered David Bowie posh
we decided to go down stair and eat dinner in the hotel restaurant because the menu
looked good and actually reasonable
the setting was serene
large windows surrounding the dining room
flowers at each table
the whole thing decked out with a kind of west elm mod vibe
our food was great and it all cost about as much as that terrible lunch in Gera!
more good fortune insued when i hooked my video camera up in the hotel room
and it seemed to take the charge
i turned it on and filmed G for a few minutes
stunned but happy
i left for LUX at 8
it was supposed to be two turns and then a 2 mile straight shot to the venue
about half way there my straight shot ended
the road ahead was full of construction and it became a one way street
going against the way i needed to go
i turned left then right and came back to the street a little further down
thinking i would get around the construction
unfortunately there was another full block of it
so i crossed the pylons and drove on the right side
breaking German driving laws in at least 5 places
then went all the way down the block on the construction side of the road
dodging barriers and parked dumped trucks
when i got to a light
then i waited for the traffic to clear and jumped over to the “wrong” side of the road
shot across the intersection to clear sailing
when i’d gotten to the corner where LUX was Gotz, the promoter
met me outside and helped me with my gear
he sort of looked a bit like a young Bill Wisener with heavy horned rimmed glasses
he wore a beat up tan motorcycle jacket on and a cigarette perpetually dangling from his mouth
the club was sort of like a small aircraft hanger
high ceilings
tin roof and windows everywhere
on the PA i heard a great lounge version of the Clash’s “Guns of Brixton”
by a French singer called Camille with the band Nouvelle Vogue
i happened to be wearing my Straight to Hell t-shirt so i got a kick out of that
i need to track down that cd
a girl named Kat who was opening the show
said hello and we started talking
she offered to take me on a short sightseeing walk
we crossed a river which used to separate east and west Berlin
then we were there at the sight of the famous wall
i took my video camera out to film this for J and G
and i got a big nothing
the p.o.s. camera wouldn’t turn on

back at LUX there was nothing doing
i was beginning to get the sinking feeling that this gig was going to be poorly attended
a few of Kat’s friends trickled in but they were all on the list
and poor musician’s
when she went on around 10 there were about 8 people and they were all her friends
i played right after to the same 8 plus her
they were really nice
they sat and respectfully listened
even joined in with me on “Bus Stop” by the Hollies
which i’d closed with in Hamburg and decided to play again tonight
at the end i asked if they’d like to hear a happy or sad song
they shouted “HAPPY!!!”
so i played “she’d walk a mile”
after i finished a girl in the back called out with a thick German/English accent
“i zought you were going to play a happy song!”
i was a bit confused
I said, “what do you think that was?”
“it zounded sad to me…”
before i could respond a black guy with dreads was now on my left
asking for me to play Bob Marley
i told him “i don’t know any Marley” and handed him my guitar
then he broke into a version of “One Love”
while everyone else sort of milled about and smiled
Gotz sheepishly handed me 30euros
i didn’t sell any cds
from a financial prospective this gig was a complete disaster
and it made me wonder
how on earth did anyone expect me to draw people in a large city like this
with absolutely no promotion or help in spreading the word?
without Kat and her friends i would’ve played to the bar staff
it made me feel good that i hadn’t dragged Billy all the way here for that
i would’ve felt terrible
i was also really glad that my family was waiting back at Hotel David Bowie for me
it really didn’t matter that i’d just had such a disappointing gig


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