Tag Archives: Europe

Pics from Fall 2012 European Tour

Our good friend Andy just sent us some pics that he took while driving us around Europe last fall.

Week #5 Halifax, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Home

Finally got around to putting up the blog for the last few days of our European Tour. Enjoy and thank you for your support! This was our most successful headlining tour to date! If you’d like to check out our new album: COURAGE, you can purchase your own copy in digital or limited edition CD and Vinyl format from the Schwervon! Bandcamp page.
Nan and MattIMG_2847It was raining in Halifax when Michael (the promoter) picked us up at the train station. We had a little time so he took us to his local pub for quick pint. The pub we went to was called the “Big 6.” Can’t remember what the Big 6 meant but it was extremely cozy. Now if you’ve never been to a Traditional British Pub it’s a little hard to describe. They don’t really have anything like them in the states. The best way I can describe them is kind of like a cross between a bar and your grandparent’s living room. They’re always carpeted and usually have a fireplace, with a  little dog and an old man nearby. Another general quality is that they are often in a place you would never know a pub existed unless someone told you about it. Unlike traditional bars, pubs are usually well-lit and closely quartered. I like this a lot because chances are you’ll be forced to share a bench and probably even interact with a complete stranger. But nobody really feels like a stranger in a pub. I suppose that’s kind of the point.
IMG_2852 The show in Halifax turned out to be a blast. It started out a bit strange as Nan thought the kids in front were shouting at her instead of with her…..but it all turned around when a mature gentleman with white hair got up and started dancing like he meant it.  We even managed a handful of rug cutters for the last few tunes. We stayed with a really nice group of kids who had a Gummo doppelganger cat named Fizzypop. (Puffy eyed morning shot above)

The animal fun didn’t stop there. The next day it was off to Glasgow where our friends Adey and Ema (from London) had recently moved. We crashed with them at their lovely new flat. These are their two bunnies: Frederick and Mable. IMG_2854Glasgow was all about reuniting with old friends. The bill included Mandrake Shepard (our friend Paul’s band with his girlfriend Corinne). They did a dancepop set that evening which was funny and surprising and got the party going. Also on the bill were Frances and Eugene (from The Vaselines) doing solo sets. Frances’ songs reminded us of Nico a bit – beautiful and melancholy. Eugene’s songs have more classic neo-folk troubador stylings of Dylan. With a little Leonard Cohen sprinkled in his delivery. The highlight of the evening was when Frances joined us for a live version of the vocal part she did for our song Truth Teller. So far we’ve been able to do this song in Brooklyn and in Glasgow with her which is thrilling.

Our final show was in Aberdeen at our friend’s Jackie and Gary’s favorite bar called the Brew Dog. It was also the day before Gary’s birthday! The Brew Dog is not your traditional British Pub. It’s pretty progressive actually, and they have all kinds of funky types of beers and ales in varying degrees of potency. There is a bottle of beer that is 55% proof called the End of History. And yes it’s served in a dead squirrel and goes for about 750 pounds a bottle. By the way, no squirrels were harmed in the process. Only about 15 bottles of the stuff were made and the squirrel source is claimed to be “road kill.” Yummy. IMG_2864One of the highlights of the show was playing with our friend Alan Cynic. He performs under the name The Kitchen Cynics and he’s one of my favorite songwriters. Since it was the end of the tour we gave ourselves a couple of days to decompress in Aberdeen before heading home. We had Jacqui’s Beef Wellington! And Fish n chips! The first day Nan and Jacqui and a friend of theirs went ice skating. Old football injuries prevented Gary and I from participating but it was fun to watch. Nan wants to go ice skating all the time now.

The next day Alan Cynic gave us a little tour of a part of Aberdeen that involved a bit of nature and some historic landmarks, including this church, which is rumored to have one of William Wallace’s limbs buried within its foundation. Here’s the crew giving it their best.Giving it their best.We also took a little walk over Scotland’s oldest bridge. There’s some kind of folk tale that involves  Lord Byran and a virgin riding a virgin horse over it that I don’t really remember. Nonetheless, it was a charming wee bridge.The Oldeset bridge in Scotland.

Our flight home the next morning left at 5:30 am which meant we had to wake up at 3:00am. Ugh! It was presidential election day. We heard the early trends in the bleary eyed in the Aberdeen Airport. Needless to say we were relieved to return home with the return of Obama for a second term. Thanks USA for the nice homecoming present! And thanks to all our friends in Europe!

Week # 4, 5 London, Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham, Wakefield, Manchester

Simon with a nice messageWhen we arrived in London it was really cold. Luckily, we were warmly greeted by our old pals Simon and Tina. They whisked us off to the Stag’s Head where we shared the bill with one of our favorite London artists: David Cronenberg’s Wife.  The Stag’s Head  was great. We met a girl from Lawrence, KS who works at Liberty Hall as well as a  tall, sweet, dred-locked, bartender named Chewy. Before the show we had some pretty tasty Asian fusion that came in special looking boxes. A nice well rounded evening I’d say.

The next day was a much needed day off in London. Luckily, our friends Simon and Kelly were cool with us camping out in their living room for 24 hours. I have to say, they were more than amazing. Kelly cooked us delicious vegan meals, Simon entertained by showing us his cool collection of guitars and records. Nan really liked this one especially.Nan's London Rock Fantasy

The second UK show was in Cardiff, Wales where our new friend Owen put us on with a couple of other cool local grunge bands; Landslides and Bear Be Good. We also met Molly, who was oddly enough, the first cat of the tour. More MollyWe went for a nice walk in Cardiff and came upon this lovely rainbow that only lasted for about 3 minutes. It was almost like it was there just for us. Cardiff Rainbow

The next night it was Cafe Kino (an incredible vegetarian restaurant) in Bristol. We shared the bill with our old pals My Two Toms. Here’s the first part of a cool little doc. about a tour that they did accross the US midwest with Charlie Parr.

The next evening, in Nottingham, the show was at The Chameleaon Arts Space. We were greeted by Nick the bar owner. Intially, Nick came off as salty old fellow but he turned out to be very sweet. He gave us some vegetable soup and we talked about the recent hurricane that had just hit the east coast. He said that he was a poet, an artist, a comedian, an alcoholic, a husband, a father…amongst other things throughout his long life. We would later learn that Nick was responsible for the paintings that were on display upstairs in the venue. This is my favorite. Nick from Nottingham's work.We shared the bill with a really fun duo called Burly Nagasaki and nice fellow from Leicester called The Ranters. That night we crashed at Theresa’s place  (from Burly Nagasaki). The next morning her roommate Angie, made us delicious breakfast quesadillas (pretty good for a Brit.). Angie and Theresa are both in another band called Fists.There is a gal in Notingham named Angie who makes the most amazing breakfast quesadillas.

The next night was Halloween. It was pretty rainy. Before the show, Nan and I went for a walk in the rain and got a tea. We saw a couple of trick or treaters walking down the main road with their Moms, but not many. Halloween is not quite as big a deal in the UK as is in the states. But we had a nice show in Wakefield, a smaller town just outside of Leeds. Our friends Michael, Melanie, and Amy (who carved this amazing Nan ‘n Matt-O-Lantern for us) dropped by. We tried to put on our best scary faces for the picture.IMG_2840Sharing the bill with us that night were three really cool garagey local bands: Balloons, The Sun Beams, and Fur Blend. Fur Blend reminded us a bit of Wussy.

The next day it was Manchester. We played at The Castle Hotel, which was rumored to be one of many haunts of Mark E. Smith of The Fall. Unfortuntately, he wasn’t around. But I did discover this fine Ale that somehow seems relatable.Old Man Ale

We’re in the home stretch. Just three more shows in the UK and it’s back to home sweet Kansas. To be continued…