Samstag, 2. Juni 2012

Surviving on the VR & what's coming 2012

So this was it. The first little tour period in 2012 which went down nicely without bigger damages of health or material. On top of that I met once more a lot of friends I haven't seen for quite some time (thanks to all of you for the hospitality!), a lot of weirdos who just materialize next to me wherever I arrive. There is something mysterious about that...
Anyway - here comes a little episode from the 2012 Finnish tour which I just finished plus subsequently some information what I'm very likely to be doing this year in terms of touring.

The miracles and wonders of traveling.

As a regular in touring Finland I already did experience the numerous blessings of VR, the Finnish Railways. An institution responsible for amazing inventions like the pet carriage on Finnish trains. A designated means of travel for particularly people with an urge to travel with their pets. Once you know these carriages are existing you can clearly recognize them by  the dog pictogram they're marked with.
During this very journey on my mission to play concerts in any possibly imaginable bar on the outskirts of civilization I had the pleasure to learn something new. In fact - as it frequently goes with things one has to learn - nobody asked beforehand whether I'd really want to make this experience. To cut a long story short: I'm talking about kids-playground-young-family carriage. It's one of the secret weapons in Finland's home run to PISA study leadership. In fact an appropriate tool as success proved in the recent past. A space fully equipped with everything to meet the requirements of hyperactive kids: a wooden locomotive, a chute, a selection of toys and books.Unfortunately to my deepest disapproval no earplugs.

These footprints mean trouble

The nasty bit with this is involving traveling musicians in that kind of social experiment. These carriages - keep this in mind for your future trips to the north - are just unobtrusively marked. No kid hazard signs unless you spot the tiny teddy bear symbol once you're heading towards your seat. Worst of all: the lady at the counter at Tampere railway station who took my reservation booked me a window seat on the upper deck of what may be considered a training ground for psychological warfare and subtle torture. Did cost me EUR 8.45 and I'm sure the lady is still smiling about the priceless favour she done me.

Once you see this alarm bells should ring

After making myself comfortable on window seat 74, carriage 3, the first wave of sheer terror starts. Leaving Tampere station towards the north one half year old starts crying, volume and frequency comparable only to some of the meanest monitor feedbacks I had since I started performing music. The overture I just had the pleasure to witness kicking off eventually get's accomplished by a four headed underage raiding party running up and down the aisle.
A quick summary of my fellow passengers on this van gives me serious reason to be worried: merely young mothers and couples with their offspring. One of them just taking the seat in front of me. Situation is getting worse. That little bugger has got an electronic gaming device including state of the art sound system which is immediately switched on giving me an unmistakeable idea of what I consider to be a popular part of the Heavy Metal sub genre Educational Rock Music.
My original plan of being a polite, friendly, traveling songwriter setting a good example dies this very moment. I'm ready to produce the beers I bought for the trip regardless of appearances. The plan of reading a newspaper has gotten pointless by now that the granny of one of the mischiefs has taken the vacant seat next to me trying to cheer up her bored granddaughter. Moreover the monster seated in front of me decided to pull down the blinds which helps me

a) to avoid being annoyed by the view of the probably much overrated sight of Finnish landscape in spring
b) to build up the mood of finding the restaurant car as quick as possible

By this time, dear reader, this train compartment has become a one of a kind combination of madhouse and sound laboratory making some of the most experimental works of Erkki Kurenniemi sound like a lame approach on middle-of-the-road pop music. This all turns out to be finally the kind of challenge I'm not tough enough to cope with. Not with the young father who just now starts reading aloud - even on my seat clearly audible - from a history book for children. And no - I'm perfectly ok with what I know by now about Finnish history.
VR facility run by professional staff. Good.

There are facilities on Finnish trains designated for people in my situation. They're called restaurant cars. VR employs people to work on those and serve passengers alcoholic beverages for tremendous prices. There is a realistic chance to get adequately drunk there and I don't think I'm going to miss out on this opportunity.

So much about this. There are a lot more stories to tell from this tour which will probably pop up in bits in one or another song sooner or later. Thinking about Vincent and his knowledge of the devil's DNA, the lady preparing for Xmas in May and other little details I just can't remember for now. Had a splendid time performing with Janne Westerlund who'll come over to Germany in October to promote his first solo album. That means at least one week we're performing together down here. Another blast was my support band in Rovaniemi, Oskari Heikkinen & Arktinen Voodoo Orkesteri. Four young lads playing a unique set of original songs somewhat between Tuomari Nurmio, Nirvana and Tom Waits. And they do have probably one of the best electric guitar sounds I heard in years. 
Right after returning from this year's Finnish tour I had the pleasure to guest on a couple of gigs of Grae J. Wall & Dez Paradise and my regular tour buddy Clark Nova (the latter just having a new LP out). Had a nice show at KLANGfest Munich with Church Of The Blue Nun and thought this would be it for the summer. Surprisingly there are some more to come. Will do solo guest slots on two record release shows (the Black Elephant Band's on 22 June and Clark Nova's on 29 June) and one or two festival gigs with the Très Biens in July. The biggest part of the next weeks I'll be occupied with booking the tour dates for autumn/winter, recording demo versions of new material and doing once a month my radio show "Radio Suomi" on Nuernberg's finest alternative radio station Radio Z.
The Church Of The Blue Nun will be touring in October as well, there will be a solo tour in Europe early autumn plus a UK stint in December and again Mr. Clark Nova and me will be back on our secret mission in November. Possibly with a brand new 7" release in our luggage.

Here are the upcoming shows. More soon.

Mäkkelä's Trash Lounge (solo)
22/06/12 D-Immeldorf, Weisses Ross (special gues for The Black Elephant Band's record release gig)
29/06/12 D-Berlin, Piatto Forte (special gues for Clark Nova's record release gig)
30/06/12 D-Berlin, Galerie Suomesta

The Très Biens
21/07/12 D-Nuernberg, Kunstverein (Cancer Aid Charity Festival)

Church Of The Blue Nun
07/09/12 D-Fuerth, Badesaison Festival
28/09/12 D-Nuernberg, DESI (with PHIL SHOENFELT & SOUTHERN CROSS)

06/06/12 on Radio Z (7.00 - 8.00 pm)
04/07/12 on Radio Z (7.00 - 8.00 pm)

01/08/12 on Radio Z (7.00 - 8.00 pm)

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen