We were sad to leave the beautiful Italian alps, but the silver lining was that we were heading to Tübingen, a Renaissance-era university town in southwest Germany.
Ben’s parents were on a vacation of their own this week and met up with us for pretzels and radlers when we got into town. The concert venue was another fascinating building. A former police station, it became the local gestapo headquarters when Hitler came into power. After the war, it took a 180 degree turn and became a co-op housing space, with a venue on the ground floor. It was inspiring to see a place with such a dark history now populated by vibrant and wonderful people. The show was frenetic and jam-packed; the whole experience was definitely a highlight of the tour. And it was a Monday night! We had breakfast with a few denizens of the co-op, including baby Eleanor, who went around the table giving us each a doe-eyed stare. We sang Eleanor Rigby to her, and we’re pretty sure she enjoyed it.
Next up was Unna, with a small, mighty, and very attentive crowd at a bar called Tortuga. It was a relatively early show, which meant we could catch a good night’s sleep (a rare luxury on tour). Lindsay’s cousin Sidney, who is living in Dusseldorf, came out to the show which was a real treat. In the morning we had breakfast with Susanne and Peter, a couple we met at the show; who were kind enough to invite all six of us over to their lovely home for a conversation and delicious meal. We continue to be surprised and immensely thankful for the friendliness and hospitality we’ve encountered on his tour.
Next we headed to Meppel, The Netherlands, where we stayed for two nights. From Meppel, we drove to Leeuwarden to play at Paddy O’Ryan, an English-speaking Irish Pub with some of the tastiest fish and chips we’d ever had. Ben, having two servings of fries that day, swore to take a break from them. It did not last.
We had a full Thursday off in Meppel, which was hosting its “Meppel day” festival, with a parade running down the main street, street vendors, and people all over the place. Marcel, who runs the venue Muziekcafe Clouso, is another magnanimous bar owner with a big heart and bigger personality. We had a great time hanging with him and the other locals into the wee hours of the morning. Turns out our friends and dynamite band Battlehooch from San Francisco had played here before on one of their European tour, it was a real treat to see their record on the wall - it felt like home away from home.
After Meppel, we headed to Den Haag (The Hague) for Wild Rooster Festival, an outdoor festival with two stages in Grote Markt. We met some awesome bands: Awkward Family Portraits (rockabilly from Glasgow) and Mariachi Reloaded (highest-energy mariachi and pan-Latin music from Belgium and many other Places).
We had another early breakfast, and now we’re on the road to Gedinne in the south of Belgium, with just three shows to go.