Tuesday, September 13, 2016

World tour review: Copenhagen, Bremen, Enschede

I was preparing for this big tour since early spring, did a proper work on shows and managed to have a not very tight but quite intense schedule, max 3 shows in a row. This also spiritual journey. I've totally gave myself to the destiny (but then am I not doing this in the time I'm not touring?..Hm).
Anyway now residing comfortably in The Hague at my friend Vaida, who is also hosting show here on Friday (details in the end), but first 3 days of the tour were quite adventurous and not so comfortable. I have never performed in 3 festivals in 3 days, but time has come. ;) Thank you all the organizers for inviting me!

08.09 Copenhagen, Sonic festival                   
Always hard to sleep when you have a flight in the morning. So the morning in Vilnius was quite early and full of rush. The equipment and all the necessary stuff is about 33 kilograms: 21kg on my back and 12kg in the hand, so at first it was really hard to move, especially when it's still the summer weather. 
I didn't take any food even if I knew that danish prices are high, so by the arrival to Copenhagen I got hungry, but luckily just before coming to the hostel I found two sandwiches in a paper bag near the ticket machine in metro station. As a poor Eastern European guy who used to live in Berlin squats and do dumpster diving, I took, but only one, not two, cause the other looked not so good. So this was my lunch. 
Arrived to the venue to do the soundcheck. Beautiful venue - Literature house. Quite spacious hall with high ceiling, small round red tables and candles. Really fits for readings and for improvised  / avant music of course. The soundcheck went well, the sound was good. Later was kebab time and meeting old Lithuanian friends. 
Gunnar performing
The show started from the guy named Gunnar Gunnsteinsson (initially from Reykjavik, but living in Amsterdam), who did a spoken word narrative - music exercise - techno - synth pop - philosophical performance. This was fun to watch and made me curious to explore more of his art.
Then I was supposed to play after him, but the organizers told that it would be technically better if I play the last. Ok, so then was a turn of  Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir 
She did a few minimal piano pieces following the projected abstract scores. This was atmospheric, and after the energetic show by Gunnar it was a bit too silent maybe, though it gave the concentration, which I thought would be good for my show. So my turn came up. I've started to play and I felt like something is wrong. I didn't hear many things. I felt like being without balls. Low frequencies were cut, so basically my playing was about getting out of the situation. First part was chaotic, but on the second I went to ambient field, cause I felt this was the only possible way to do something in this situation. And it worked, I guess...but i wasn't satisfied.
The first event of 3 days ended. My friend Arturas Bumšteinas had to play here on Saturday, plus some other interesting acts, but the next day I had to go to Bremen.

Arrived in the evening, was met by Yen, who runs the great event organization Die Chinesische Wascherei which I knew for a few years. I always liked the program they present and the design.
So this is punky mini festival of two nights at Die Friese - good DIY feeling venue, with good sound system, kitchen, studio, etc. I was between Pisse and Hammerhead and Worlds Dirtiest Sport.
First was WDS - songs made by looped guitars, beats + vocal. It was not the best sound, was hard to hear details so wasn't so enjoyable, though now listening on a bandcamp I hear good, very American experimentao / rock stuff, so to say. Check it.
Next was Pisse. High energy new punk with theremin and synths. Great band. I heard lithuanian promoters are planning to bring them to Vilnius, so I imagine really good show at XI20 venue.

photo from Bremen show
Next - me. Did a line check. All good. Powerful sound. So did quite intense, high energy show. The punky crowd seemed enjoyed it, so as me. There might be a video later from one lithuanian guy whom I met before the show. So glad to meet everywhere people with whom I can speak mother tongue! ;)
Hammerhead - didn't listen to them. Preferred just to meditate in silence somewhere on the street a bit further from the venue.
So all went good. In general I always like to play the second show on the tour, cause if I do any mistakes on the first, I know what I shouldn't do on the second. And on the 3rd one in a row I usually don't have enough energy to do what I did on the first and the second one. ;)
Here are some photos from the show.

10.09 Enschede, Gogbot festival

When to sleep at 2am, but at 6am sms from Flixbus company woke me up, telling that my bus to Osnabruck (from where I have to take a train to Enschede) is delayed for 2 hours. 2 hours! So it means that I miss my train. So ok, but I still get on time, and they wrote that they will give a voucher for a free ride around Europe. Ok! ;)
So the bus was even more than 2 hours late and then we got into the traffic jam in the autobahn, from which the driver went out to the villages and at one point we stopped, didn't understand why and then the bus stuck between the trees. !!!. ; ) that was 10-15 minutes try to get out of it, back to the road... crazy ; ) anyway we reached Osnabruck. I took a train, didn't book a new ticket, but nobody checked. Lucky! More, I met Dan Mullin on the train to Enschede as we agreed before that we will meet. We were in touch for a few years, trading records. So finally we met. His project is Ohmtron Seedling.
Gogbot is the biggest art, music and technology event in the Netherlands, as they claim. And I was glad to be a part of it! Of course when I saw that I will have to play on a public space, I was a bit worried as I'm not so used to play for not prepared audience especially outside, where it's harder to concentrate. Anyway I had fun playing totally improvised set, with no prepared tracks. There were some ups and downs, some technical problems, real alive thing. Kids dancing. There was both positive and negative (of course!) feedback from the audience. See the video below and decide yourself. Also here's the write up about the show by Dan. 
The next day together with the local sound-visual artist Bernd we went to see the festivals exhibition. This was really impressive. I tried the glasses of virtual reality, saw robots and interesting audiovisual installations. This was the most impressive exhibition I've seen in many years, although I'm not that big fan of exhibitions, especially when you live in small town and you know the limits of that local art, but this was yeah.. impressive.
So, first shows are over, I'm curious what awaits me this week as it's 4 shows in a week starting from Rotterdam, friday Den Haag, saturday Groningen and sunday Munster

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