Great vibes at the Gute stube

Hello y’all ! What’s the cracker like ? I have unfortunately been away from consistent wi-fi, computers and chairs for too long and left this blog sadly un-updated. I deeply apologize to those who care, but you should know by now : I’m such a terrible, terrible person.

The Darmstadt gig ended up being a wonderful fireworks finale show to our first leg of the German tour. The Gute Stube concept, around for six years now, is quite fantastic : a trashy culture lounge event that takes place on a monthly basis in an old theatre which is a converted car garage. The stage is vintagely decorated with a winged armchair, sixties-style wallpaper, a kitschy floor lamp, a scarf from the local soccer team, old pictures of strangers found in random places, and other meaningful items. “Underground” without never being “hip” or “so cool”, this is the type of of small niche events, cosy and lo-fi that all songwriters die to perform for. A cherished part of the concept is the punctual start of each event at 20:15 in the evening after a ceremonious presentation of the famous German tv news broadcast “Tagesschau”.

The room was packed with a multigenerational, highly receptive and extremely quiet audience, which is all you can ask for. And for the first time in the tour, Charlotte had access to a drum kit generously lent by a friend of the promoters, which helped us bring a little more roll to the folk. Jokes were laughed at, heads were swinging to the tunes, smiles were shining, CD sales went berserk, it was a beautiful night indeed. And what else could have ended it better than an impromptu and extra-fun video shooting of a silly Christmas song for and by the local songsters Woog Riots on that very Gute Stube stage with enthusiastic members of the audience ?

The organizers Alex and Torsten put us up in their comfy apartment where they revealed themselves to be gorgeous human beings, glowing with confidence, radiating genuine love and filled with the greatest ideas. For example, they started out a punk neighbourhood choir open to everybody where they sing once a week arranged versions of obscure hits by the Dead Kennedys, PJ Harvey etc… Charlotte and I both did a home recording  for a Children Christmas Compilation they’re putting together, Charlotte sang the classic “Fred The Moose” and I tried out with exhausted vocal chords “Petit Garçon”, a go-to-sleep ditty translated and made famous in France by the great Graeme Allwright.

In an effort to keep the tour fitness and health-oriented (our pride so far is not to have given up just yet), we accompanied Alex in a few runs around the track and exercised on fun outdoor training machines originally intended for older people that had specific tricks for different muscles. The city left us with a warm and fuzzy impression of sophistication, culture and laid-backness and on hopping on the train to Belgium, we definitely gave Darmstadt a last look behind that meant : “I shall be back, you awesome you”.

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