Tour Diary Highlights & Blog
Norrteljes Blues and Rock Festival, Sweden, 30 July 2011
Well it was a tough flight but it was worth it..
Here the band relax with four bottles of excellent (and extremely expensive) Swedish beer, before a great gig at the Norrteljes Blues Festival, situated in a beautiful location on the shore of the Baltic Sea a few miles north of Stockholm, Sweden.
Many thanks to Jan and his friends for their excellent hospitality and organisation. We had a great time and I think the show went really well. It was great to meet some excellent musicians such as Finnish slide guitarist Erja Lyytinen, bass player Roger Innis and from the USA the fine harp player R.J.Mischo. The festival also featured the excellent Swedish country singer Jill Johnson and the Swedish rock band Bonafide, who I heard played on Planet Rock just the day after I arrived home. Must be going places.
We hit the stage around ten o'clock just as the long Swedish day began to turn to night. The set opened with "Cheap" followed by a shuffle and a slow blues both featuring Dangerous Dave on the harp. This was followed by a couple of slide numbers which I've never played live with the band before.. Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig" and Elmore's classic "Happy Home". Tracks from the new "Rambunctious" album included "Poor Day" "Woodsman" and "Shake That Boogie".
After a few numbers the crowd had moved to the front of the stage and a rock'n'roll gig was in place. In fact it was as much fun to watch the audience as it was to play the music. As someone said to me afterwards.. "you guys were having way too much fun up there".
So thanks again to our friends in Sweden - hope to see you again soon.
Photos from the Norrtalje Blues Festival by Collette Wijkander festivalphoto.net
Mick's Blog - Update February 2011
Hi. I thought, for those of you who are interested, that a few words on how things are going would be a good idea. We moved out of London three years ago we are now living in a little village on the Surrey / Sussex border, enjoying country life.
I didn't do a lot of music initially, my time being largely taken up with home improvements etc, although I was able to get involved in a couple of local events, including a charity show with Paul Jones, also featuring great players such as John Cleary and Pee Wee Ellis, and on the previous day Eric Clapton. I also helped to create and record a Comic Relief song with other local residents, Gary Brooker and Bernard "Alvin Stardust" Jewry. Recently I played at the Skegness Rock and Blues Festival with Ric Lee's Blues Project, also featuring the great British blues pianist Bob Hall, as well as a five date reunion "tour" with my old band SALT.
I was busy though, setting up a home studio, where I am now working on a couple of album projects, including a new Mick Clarke album - an unusual project ptovisionally titled "The Rambunctious Blues Experiment" (the clue's in the title), and the new Killing Floor album (number four)which finally begins production at the end of February 2011.
Meanwhile the MC Band played some great dates at London's 100 Club - always a blast, and I currently find myself working with three bands, being the MC Band, Killing Floor and SALT, as well as occasional work with the British Blues All Stars and other projects.
I have also been promoting the album "Solid Ground" which is getting regular airplay around the world and doing well. And I have had six previous albums re-issued by BGO Records. So I've been busy and now getting busier with live work again. So take it easy and keep rockin' (if that makes any sense). As they say: "watch this space"..Some previous highlights below..
The ClarkeSmith Supergroup - September 2010
What larks - a "supergroup" of some of my oldest friends and sparring partners - Stevie Smith, Chris Sharley and Mick Hawksworth. Thanks to Pete Feenstra, top London promoter to the gentry, for giving us the chance to get together and have fun.
Night one: Friday in Bexley (well someone has to be). We assembled with great mirth at the DA5 Club, a converted rugby clubhouse, for our first show together in the last 150 years. Kicking off with Dust My Blues we discovered that we had the capability of making a great deal of noise, and proceeded to do so. The set continued with a rousing Cream-esque "Spoonful" a bluesy "Key to the Highway",
a tribute to the Feat "New Delhi Freight Train" from Mick H and so on. some token SALT numbers - "Driving Wheel" and "Highway 61" last played 23 years ago. A great night and Jake Rigden on support was excellent.
Night Two: Half Moon, Herne Hill. Yes I think I remember this place - I think we played here practically every night throughout the seventies. Well it feels like it. Yes I recognise that beer stain - it's mine I tell you! there were some faces missing - Steve Waller, Mick O'Brien, Micky Jones - not able to make it, but their spirits were there. Not forgetting Ade who I believe was not mobile enough to make the trip.
Anyway, we did it again with various levels of competence throughout the evening, and again it was great fun. Jake was excellent and joined us for a jam at the end. Jake is a fifteen year old guitarist with great promise, who humbled me by asking me to sign his beautiful Gibson Les Paul at the end of the evening. I imagine he spent the following day trying to get it off again - anyway thanks for the compliment. See video on our youtube page.
26 September 2010
With Bobby Tench on guitar, Rob Townsend drums, Bob Hall piano and Jimmy Mercer on bass - The British Blues All Stars at the Bulls Head, Barnes, London - 20 August 2010
Photo: Phil De Bont
The 100 Club, Oxford St London
We played some great dates at the 100 Club, usually with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack. Always a blast - I enjoyed the smell of ancient grime and old beer stains.. the dressing room was always a corridor sitting on beer barrels. the audiences were good and very international - one night we had a huge influx from Norway which was great. Thanks to Jim driver for putting it all together.
VIANA DO CASTELO BLUES FESTIVAL, PORTUGAL, DECEMBER 2007
Just back from a great night in Viana do Castelo, Portugal playing at their annual "simply blues" festival, which also featured Popa Chubby and Dana Gillespie on different nights. The venue was a beautiful old music hall in the centre of the city, built in 1895 and kept in immaculate condition. It provided the perfect atmosphere for (I think) a great performance from the band to an appreciative audience. Eddie Masters on bass and Russell Chaney (see pic) did a great job - our thanks to Elena Fernandez from Proyecto Cultural for her smooth organisation.
ROCKLAND BLUESROCKING SUMMER FEST, SALA, SWEDEN, JULY 2007
Thanks to everyone at ROCKLAND for a great night at the BLUESROCKING SUMMER FEST. We had a great gig playing to a lot of friends old and new. The band featured Dangerous Dave Newman on harp, Eddie Masters on bass and Russell Chaney on drums and we pulled out some old numbers such as Muddy's "She Moves Me" and our own "Crazy 'bout a Woman" for the show.
The festival featured the extraordinary Joe Bonamassa.. the second time I've seen him play and well up to his incredibly high standard - surely this guy is setting the new benchmark for blues rock guitar. Also great to meet Sweden's Clas Yngstrom, and our old mate Gwyn Ashton who also played a fine set with his new two piece band!
Thanks as ever to Johnny for his totally reliable driving and good company, to Erik for a fine outsound on the PA and to Hasse for the organisation. Good also to see our friends Hazze and Janne in the audience and our mate from England, Ken, who took the photos.
TRESCORE BRITISH BLUES FESTIVAL, TRESCORE BALNEIRO, ITALY JUNE 2007
My first band, KILLING FLOOR reformed last year for several great concerts. KILLING FLOOR's first ever show in Italy was a well received triumph. The large crowd were treated to some high octane Killing Floor blues rock, responding with great warmth and demanding two encores. British blues legends Bob Hall and Dave Peabody opened the show and got the crowd more than warmed up. Many thanks to them and to Gigi Bresciani and the Crew. Hope to see you all again.
Back to Sweden for three dates with KILLING FLOOR.. a return to ROCKLAND in Sala and two shows on the cruise ship Cinderella out from Stockholm.. BLUES AT SEA and ROCK AT SEA. All the shows were great with a healthy crowd showing up at ROCKLAND and a wild gig. Thanks to Johnny for chaffeuring us in his beautiful Lincoln Limo (ex Madonna we were assured) and to Hasse for all his help. BLUES AT SEA was a blast and we made a whole lot of new friends. Also bumping into the excellent TWO TIMERS who did another great show. And ROCK AT SEA was, as expected, a riot. I managed to smash myself in the face with my own guitar during our set,(see pic)with the blood consequently running down my face and cries of "Rock and Roll" from the crowd. Once again we made a lot of friends and partied the night away watching some great bands including Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath), Voodoo Beans, and the powerhouse German rock band U.D.O. during whos performance I had to physically hold Linda down to stop her pogoing into the ceiling. Thanks again to Torsten at July Morning for inviting us along. Photo by Hazze Sjoberg.
Many thanks to the organisers at the Le Festival Deux Rivieres in the beautiful village of Belle Isle en Terre, Brittany, who showed us fantastic hospitality when THE MICK CLARKE BAND played there last week. For the two days of our visit breakfast was followed as quickly as possible by lunch in order to be ready for dinner.. all of the highest quality French cuisine and served up with plenty of laughter and good humour. The sun shone, the crepes were hot and the Cassoulet did not disappoint. Transportation was friendly and efficient.. even the final drop off back at the airport had to include a fairwell drink together at the airport lounge. Once again my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the organisers and helpers in Belle Isle en Terre. Un million mercis!
We played in the town hall and met some great acts over the two days we were there.. I was very happy to meet America's Billy Jones on his European tour, although I was unable to catch his act. But I did see Jeff Zima - a fantastic eccentric slide player based in France. Blackberry and Mr Boo-Hoo were the absolute definition of a "dynamic duo" blasting out a high energy boogie which reminded me of a supercharged Dr Ross from many years ago, and I was also very happy to meet the Raphael Wressnig Trio, including Alex Schultz, a fine guitarist I had seen play many years back with Rod Piazza, plus a very fine blues singer, Mr Finis Tasby, flown over from the States for this one event.
The audience showed us a tremendous warmth and appreciation of our efforts. We warmed up with Sonny Boy's "Help Me" and slowly gathered momentum, unfortunately having to deal with a succession of problems along the way, including amp trouble and having to play our version of "Hurts me Too" on a five string guitar. We encored with "Key to the Highway" during which the bass amp decided to join in the fun and also packed up!
But as I say, the audience seemed to understand and the warmth of their response saw us through the evening. I must thank every one of them for their good humour and enthusiasm. And then it was back to our funky farmhouse.
My thanks and appreciation also to Linda for her hard work, and to Dave Rea on bass and Russell Chaney for a great job done with humour and professionalism, through the good times and the slightly difficult. As I said to the audience.. "just don't nobody try to tell me I ain't got the blues!"
Just played two great dates with my old band KILLING FLOOR - our first shows for 34 years! The band features the original four piece line-up which got together in 1968, that's Bill Thorndycraft on vocals and harp, Stuart McDonald on bass and Bazz Smith, drums, plus Dave Lennox on piano.
First show was at the Open Air Gross Lindow in Germany and it was a wild affair with the crowd going nuts throughout, followed by an appearance at the Harelbeke Rock and Blues Festival in Belgium, with a fine line-up of top international acts including Bernie Marsden and Tony McPhee. More details over at killingfloor.com
Photo left: Martina Schulz
Photo right: Barbara Joyce
Also worthy of note, a couple of rocking gigs in England, starting with a party in a marquee down in Sussex featuring the MC Band with Dangerous Dave Newman joining us on harp. The audience went crazy and it turned into what I believe used be referred to as a "rave-up". Thanks to James Otway for the invite.
Plus.. an amazing one-off jam at the Three Horseshoes in Knockholt, Kent, with the legendary Dick Lovejoy, a fine old style New Orleans blues and jazz drummer who ran the band "Southside" throughout the 70s. We had a stellar line-up including Mick Hawksworth on bass, Peter Terry on keyboards and the extraordinary Frank Mead (Gary Moore / Bill Wyman's All Stars) joining us on sax AND harp, both played superbly. I swear the whole band left the ground at times on some of those fast swings.
Just back from the 10th Anniversary Willem Tell Club Festival in St Lenaarts, just north of Antwerp in Belgium. Many thanks to Michel and the crew for a fine well organised festival with great hospitality.
We had a great time, with the 3-piece line-up featuring Dave Rea on bass and Russell Chaney on drums. The crowd were ready for some raucous blues rock and I think we obliged - thanks to all who were there and showed their support.
The festival also featured Funkydory from the UK and Rodney Parker & The 50 Peso Reward all the way from Texas. The evening ended with a charismatic performance from Stan the Man Webb and Chicken Shack - good to see some old friends again, and to make some new ones.
Photos by courtesy of Danny from MotoFocus.Be
A fantastic night at the Baden Blues Festival (27.5.06) in Baden, Switzerland.
Thanks to Adrian and Thomas for inviting us, and to all the many co-conspirators who worked to make such great organisation and make us feel so welcome. If I name them all I might leave some-one out so I won't! Enough to say thanks to you all - you did a great job.
A sell-out 900 strong crowd packed out the "Nordportal" with more outside listening to the show, and gave us a terrific reception. We had a great time, finishing with "It Hurts me Too" where-upon the lovely old Marshall JTM60 I was using decided to give up the ghost on the lines "when things go wrong"... You wouldn't believe how many times that has happened. Anyway we were just about done, and I was still asked to sign the front of the amp afterwards.. thanks Joe.. I'm not worthy!
Great to meet and enjoy the shows of Philip Fankhauser (featuring the extraordinary Richard Cousins on bass) and Susan Tedeschi plus our old friends Eddie Martin with Michael and Marian. It don't get any better.
Photo left: Dave Lennox, Dave Rea, Mick Clarke, Russel Chaney
The following night.. yes the following night we were at the Blues and Booze Festival in Clun, Shropshire at the White Horse. Dave Rea and Ritchie "Nice-Guy" Eldrige on drums did a fantastic job, the place was packed and we had great night. Good to see Mac from KILLING FLOOR again and thanks for breakfast Jan!
Starting the New Year with a couple of excellent 3-piece gigs in Holland.. With Dave Rea on Bass and Roy Jeremiah on the drums we hit the Pimpandoer Blues Pub up in the northern port of Den Helder, and then moved on to a return date at T'Evertshuis in Bodegraven. Thanks to everyone for their warm hospitality. We pulled out some old favourites such as "Little Rachel" and "I'm in the Mood" for the shows, and I also featured some acoustic slide for Muddy's "Can't be Satisfied". Two great shows which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
On to the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury for another excellent show, opened by local band "Stormwarning". The seats were full and the audience gave us a warm reception - thanks to Derek White at "Rocking the Blues" for putting it together.
And a wild return to the Basingstoke Blues Scene... all kinds of technical problems hit us in the first number.. a loose plug in the PA system AND a broken string. aaah, must be a Mick Clarke gig! Anyway we got rocking after a while and the crowd were up and dancing in classic Basingstoke Blues Club fashion... thanks to Rex for inviting us back for more madness. Keep rockin!
A great night at Darlington R&B Club - thanks to Ian Ross for making us so welcome. We took the stripped down three piece line-up to see our friends in the North - an excellent rocking night in a great venue.
For me the highlight of 2005 was appearing with the BRITISH BLUES ALL STARS at the GREAT BRITISH R&B FESTIVAL, COLNE, LANCASHIRE (27.08.05) featuring BOB HALL, keyboard maestro to the British blues aristocracy, KIM SIMMONDS of the original original British blues rock band SAVOY BROWN,
GARY FLETCHER from THE BLUES BAND, COLIN ALLEN of STONE THE CROWS and JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS and not only but also the Glasgow blues and soul legend MAGGIE BELL.
We had a great time playing some Bob Hall classics such as "Rooming House Boogie".. rocking with Kim on "Mississippi Steamboat" and finally settling into some Chicago blues with Maggie on "Baby Please Don't Go" - "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and finally the ultimate spine-tingler "Got my Mojo Workin'" to an enthusiastic Colne audience who'd managed to stay upright from two in the afternoon to the end of our set at about twenty to one in the morning.
Thanks to Allison and everyone at the "GBR&BF" for their excellent organisation and hospitality - also good to see our friends NINE BELOW ZERO who delivered a superb set on the Friday night. And a special thanks to Oddie's Bakery for their fine pasties and the Church next door for their excellent homemade chocolate cake and finely brewed tea. Plus - whoever decided to broadcast BB's "Live at the Regal" from a side street off the main road deserves a medal and a commendation to the unofficial BLUES HALL OF FAME!!
Photo by Andy Ford www.bluesimages.co.uk More photos on the British Blues All Stars page
More details from 2005 on page two of the Tour Diary.
Rockin' the Baltic! Just back from a great trip to Sweden, playing on the Rock at Sea cruise from Stockholm, organised by our friend Torsten from July Morning.
A whole load of great rock and blues bands were on board including Nazareth, Girlschool and the excellent Spoonful of Blues from Norway. All the bands gave 100% and the 2,400 fans on board responded properly. A great night.
Many thanks also to Hans at Rockland in Sala for his hospitality and enthusiasm. We had a great gig there on Friday 26th by courtesy of our driver Johnny and his Chevy - a singing Harley riding truck driver.. just the man you need to get you through the snowy wastes. Thanks to everyone involved for a highly successful Swedish trip.
Just back from a couple of great nights in Germany.. the Alte Brauerei up in Northeim near Gottingem, followed by the Schmallenberg Blues Party. Thanks to everyone at both events for their tremendous hospitality.. particularly Volkhard from "The Loop" who joined us for an excellent jam at the end of the evening in Northeim, and to all the organisers of the Bluesparty who worked so hard to get everything right. Apologies if I played too long.. nobody told me to stop!
Photos below by courtesy of bluesparty.org
Left: Mick and Volkhard from the Loop at the "Alte Brauerei" Northeim.
Photo by Christian Reinhard
Thanks to our good friend Manuel Banha for inviting us to play at the Bonner Sommer, an open air blues rock party in the very centre of Bonn, Germany. The backdrop to the stage is, as you can see, the exotic frontage of Bonn Town Hall where the band also received the fine hospitalty of the city. Thanks to Sue for the photo and thanks to everyone from Bonn Musik for helping to make it a great night. The audience dressed for the occasion - (see below)
Photo (left) courtesy of Frank Baumgard.
Thanks also to everyone at the fab Farmer Phil's Festival out in the country down Ratlinghope way (pronounced R'ar') just past Shrewsbury. Phil (portrait right) looked charming in his new punk hair colouring and refrained from driving his tank around while the music was playing. Thanks to D. Dave for inviting us once again and thanks also for dragging my car out of the mud. Another rockin' night on the farm.
And thanks to Ian and the guys at Darlington R&B Club.. organisers of the excellent "Blues & Brews Festival".. what a concept.. real ale and rockin' blues!
It was a great night .. 400 tickets sold and everyone ready to rock! Thanks to the good people of Darlington for such an enthusiastic response.. we had a ball!
Fresh back from the
Piazza Blues Festival in beautiful Bellinzona, in the Italian speaking province of Ticino, Southern Switzerland. This is a fabulous event which takes place in the town square of this historic city and features top blues artists from around the world. Many thanks to our friend Marcel Aeby of More Experience (probably the greatest Hendrix tribute band in the world) for inviting us to participate.
Photo by Dragan Tasic - www.nga.ch
We had a great time rocking the Piazza and the crowd boogied along in the warm Summer's night. Straight up after us were the incredible Tony Coleman Band, lead by top blues drummer Tony Coleman and a fine lineup of young bluesmen. the guitarist Eric Starczan was extraordinary - watch out for him!
So a tremendous night - thanks to all the organisers and crew at the Piazza Blues for their professionalism and hospitality.
And predictions of sunshine and fresh air were proved accurate for the Bragdoya Blues Festival, another great event that takes place each year on a small island just off the coast of Kristiansand, Norway.
The festival site is at the port side, so many of the crowd were watching from an armada of small boats. As many again were up on the hill looking down and the rest were dancing -
This is how to enjoy the blues!
The venue was reachable only by means of a small boat, which we shared with our new friends Fernando Noronha and Black Soul from Brazil. An unusual experience, and great fun, bobbing across the blue water clutching our guitars.. returning after the show in the unique twilight which is the Kristiansand Summer night. Photos above by courtesy of Chris Sharley.
We had a wonderful time and received tremendous hospitality from the festival crew. Thanks to everyone involved, particularly our host Bjorn Wiksaas and his assistants Frank and Jan. Thanks to Fernando and the band for inviting me up for a jam.. great stuff. Keep Rockin' guys. Photos by Audun Birkeland, Bragdoya Blues.
Back on the road again to the fine Hanseatic city of Hamburg, to strut our stuff at the Downtown Blues Club at the Landhaus Walter, deep in the Stadt Park in the centre of town.
Thanks to our friend Ken who did us proud with hospitality and entertaining stories over dinner, and to the rest of the crew. Sorry to miss Uwe who was taking a holiday.. hope to meet up another time. Good to see Vasco and our friends from Bremen who made the trip up the autobahn to show (and shout) their support.
Special thanks to Fritz and Henry who played an excellent support spot.. anyone playing Junior Wells' Somebody Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man gets star rating in my book. And special special thanks to Henry for joing us on stage to add some stunning harp playing to the band's performance. If you're in Hamburg and you need a top harp man, Henry Heggens can be contacted through this website.
The following night we were at the Heimathaus in Twist. Some of us thought we were going to the Twist Club in Heimathaus. Even the AA was confused. But the Heimathaus turned out to be an excellent well run club hosted by the genial Heiner... thanks for all your hospitality. Photos by courtesy of Carola Holl.. many thanks. Another rocking night ensued, despite my Gibson functioning on only one pickup..(fortunately the loud one). I also produced my new Tanglewood electro-acoustic,( as I had done in Hamburg) to warble some nonsensical namedropping about Howlin' Wolf. In fact if you're interested here's the set list:
Looking for trouble (MC)
Love me or leave me (James Cotton)
London Town (MC)
Cool Night Air (MC)
You gonna miss me (Muddy Waters)
You need love (Willie Dixon)
The Howlin' Wolf (acoustic) (MC)
Voodoo Hounds (MC)
Guitar Boogie (Chuck Berry)
You're the One (Jimmy Rodgers)
I wonder who (Muddy Waters)
Produce Row (MC)
Walkin blues (Johnson)
Key to the highway (Broonzy)
Rockin' the blues (MC)
On to Bonny Scotland for our "Rockin' the Highlands 04" mega-weekend courtesy of our good friend Chris Simmonds (left). Kicking off at the Studio 1 club in Glasgow we were happy to meet old fans for the first time as we'd never played in Glasgow before. The following afternoon we entertained the good people of Aberdeen by playing an acoustic set at them while they were trying to eat their lunch at the Lemon Tree and then went on to rock out at the Blue Lamp in the evening. Thanks to Spider for contributing some fine harp playing, and to everyone who showed up to support us.
The following day it was up early (again) and down to Dundee to greet the effervescent Vans at Deacon Brodie's. We had a great lunchtime crowd who were ready to rock and it was a great session. Thanks to all our friends in Dundee for your support - hope to see you again soon. And finally on to our last date of the weekend, the Tolbooth in Stirling.
Since we were late for the gig and it was already dark, we decided to take the scenic route (we've never liked those nasty motorways) and spent an hour and a half bumping along A roads and over humpty backed bridges. Very picturesque scenery - I expect. Eventually, following our written instructions, we ended up at the top of the town, facing the main gate of Stirling Castle. Interesting, but not where we were supposed to be. After a few U-turns and more bumping over ancient cobbled streets we arrived at our destination about an hour and a half late. Fortunately the Tolbooth people were very nice and forgave us, even supplying coffee (with a bill! - it went unpaid - sorry). The PA and lighting crew were excellent and the whole set up was very professional... a state of the art theatre setting which was an interesting contrast to the pub setting of Deacon Brodie's. Anyway, a fine time was had by all, and we hope to be back at the Tolbooth on our next trip North of the Border.
And so the month wound up with that rare thing.. a London gig. The venerable "Eel Pie Club".. direct descendant of the glory days of British R&B when the great and good of the British blues cognoscenti used to cross the little bridge over to Eel Pie Island in the River Thames to listen to the future Gods of Rock as they refined their chops in bands such as the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones....now settled upstairs at the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham.
A rocking night ensued, with some wild and occasionally erratic playing. Well it was real, and many thanks to the good folk of Twickenham and surrounding areas who turned out to see and experience the MC Band in all its glory. Guest celebrities included the mighty Bill Thorndycraft from Killing Floor and my first two ever bass players.. Pete Smith and Geb Ring. It was at Pete's house in around 1963 that I was first inspired to take up the guitar, and Geb took over on bass when Pete started to play with our friendly rivals "The Jug". Website supremo Lance Muswell from Velosystems was there to show support and lug some PA columns around, as well as giving me some helpful tips on css stylesheets and the like. (Don't ask). Also good to meet up with Tom Nolan who used to work with the late Wilgar Campbell and has an excellent CD out.. and the legendary Don Crane - still rocking with the Downliners Sect. Thanks to Warren for putting it all together.
April found us returning to Holland for a couple of rocking club dates.. first to the famous "Bluescafe" of Apeldoorn - one of our regular stomping grounds. Thanks to Jan for his usual hospitality, and webmaster Peter Vroon for his technical assistance (and photo - right). Saturday night found us at the Grand Cafe de Steupel in Niuewkoop..... a beautiful area of lakes and canals. The club was packed and the opening band.. (who's name I must find out) were excellent.. straight ahead Chicago blues, just how it should be. Thanks to Dirk for a great night and excellent hospitality.
Rockin' it up at the Burg Satzvey in Germany. A beautiful fourteenth century castle - (Linda loved it) - was the venue for the Biker Blues and Boogie Festival, featuring many excellent bands including Climax Blues Band and Blues'n'Trouble.
We had a good trip over and arrived at the place around six, looking only for a cup of coffee after our day's travel. Although there was no coffee backstage there were food stands scattered around the courtyard, which rather resembled a Disneyland mock-up.. (only it was real).. so we didn't envisage any problems. However after an hour of trooping crocodile-like from one stand to another we eventually gave up our quest, laughing at the surreal quality of the situation, and decided to go to the hotel for dinner. Meanwhile we met up with our old friends Blues'n'Trouble who had flown in from Scotland.. (but had had to get up even earlier than we did!)
It was a pleasant Summer's evening, and later we strolled around the castle grounds and chatted to one of the organisers, running into the Count himself in the process. The gig was great, with an enthusiastic crowd who seemed to enjoy every minute of it. It was good to see friends such as Manuel Banha and Carlo Aquistapace, who took the photos below.
Meanwhile thanks to everyone at the Welons OpenAir in Wintelre, Netherlands, and the Carrot Blues Festival in Wervershoof, which we played recently. Both venues showed us tremendous hospitality and we had a great time. Hope to see you all again sometime.
Also thanks to Tom and everyone at the "Boterlap" in Harderwijk, Netherlands. We had an excellent gig there earlier as part of the Harderwijk "Blues Route". Nice people, good food and sunshine! Thanks to Lucas at the Blues Route for putting it together.
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