After 2 days in Berlin, TFE was off to Munich. I had a solid nap in back of the van before we stopped for lunch midway through our 6 hour drive. This pit stop was actually on top of the highway. Literally. You park, take an elevator and head up to the buffet which overlooks the high speed German highway.
Europe definitely maximizes any space possible; on the highway AND in hotel rooms. Ha
Tonight we are playing the Milla in Munich, a real dark basement club. It's definitely one of the cooler venues we've played so far in Europe.
After soundcheck we ventured across the street to a cozy Italian restaurant called Hey Luigi. Here's there's a real Italian chef! We chowed down on some delicious salads and pasta. It was really good. I recommend it.
The Milla filled up and we played to pretty much a full room, with some more friendly people singing along to the lyrics. Jon ran out into the crowd and did his anthemic trumpet blow out during Old Piano - always a crowd favorite!! I recorded the show. Upon listening to it the next day, I realized there were some discrepancies in the tempos of certain songs.
Drummer "nerd out" part:
In certain styles of music, a few bpm fluctuation in tempo won't make a drastic difference in the overall vibe of a performance. In pop music, I'm starting to realise that a slight difference in tempo makes a big difference to the overall grooves and parts of the song. Those parts are the recipe for the song and they are built upon a groove to a unique tempo which makes all those parts work together. Speeding up a groove creates a different feel and consequently could lead to different parts and/or accompaniment to the vocals. I guess this is true of all music in a way, but I bring it up because I noticed that most of the songs that night @ Milla were performed a bit on the bright side. The same parts now had a different feel due to the change in tempos. What's even more intriguing as a drummer is the connection between how a tempo feels when you play it and how it feels when you listen back to it. Clearly in this example, there was a disconnection, because I remember thinking that the songs felt settled and comfortable while I was playing. I was in control of the grooves. But then when I listened to it I felt like the grooves were a bit edgy and "on top" feeling. This is an interesting concept, something that I think all musicians struggle with. How you feel when you're playing and how the listener feels are two very different things. I could write a whole blog post just on this... Anyways, in resume I guess I could just say that every musician should record themselves. Listening back to a live performance will bring to light many things you can continue to develop.
Day 2 = Day Off!
It's almost the end of the tour, and we finally are graced one complete day off. After a good night's sleep, a morning jog and some killer coffee at Josefa, the nearby cafe, the Franklin crew headed out on some rental bikes to explore the many sights of Munich. Our first stop was the 17th century Nymphenburg Palace or "Castle of the Nymph", a Bavarian Palace just outside of the downtown core. I would say this is a must-see in Munich with the enormous green garden in the back of the property, the ducks and giant swans in the ponds, and the impressive inner ballroom of the Palace. For 6€ you can go inside and take a look, and it's well worth it.
We headed off on our bikes again into downtown to search out some more touristy sights including Marienplatz and the nearby Viktualienmarkt (huge fresh food market) as well as a few legendary Munich beer gardens. The highlight was definitely the beer garden in the English Garden. The English Garden is one of the biggest urban parks in the world with tons of trails for jogging and biking and a 7000 seat beer garden. Pas mal!! Needless to say, we popped in here for some sights and a few giant one liter beers.
Our last stop for the day was some dinner at the Augustiner Bräustuben right across the street from our hotel. This is an epic Bavarian restaurant with traditional food and draught beer. Meat, meat and more meat w potatoes and gravy. Try it! Throw a few pints on top of that and you've got yourself a recipe for sleep. Fek, bonne nuit. One last stop...Zurich.
After Berlin, Munich is probably my second favorite city in Germany. The vibe at the Milla venue, the good food, and all the touristy sights made this 2 day stop pretty great. It was definitely a great idea to rent bikes and cruise around. If bikes aren't your thing, you can hop on one of those touristy bus things for 22€, but that's not really not my vibe. It was also perfect weather when we were there making it a pretty special visit. Hope we get to go back!
What to see and do in Munich:
(traditional Bavarian restaurant with good beer)
Landsberger Str. 19, 80339 München, Germany
Westendstraße 29, 80339 München, Germany
Wanna be a tourist?...
(ancient city square)
(pretty cheap, decent hotel in downtown Munich)
Good for groups. Clean showers!
I was at the wheel of the Franklin Tour van as we arrived in Berlin Friday afternoon. We had 2 interview/performances on the agenda. The first was for berlinmusic.tv at a small studio space. In fact the space was so small that the sound technicians preferred that I don't play drums, it would be too loud. OK, cool w me! I had a coffee and chilled instead, no biggie.
It was a beautiful, sunny day in Berlin. Locals were saying it was the first real nice weather they had had in quite sometime. Why?....cuz Franklin is in town yo!
After this little interview, we were off for a pho soup. Nothing like some good Vietnamese to reset your stomach...
After finishing up our second live performance of the day at Joiz TV (www.joiz.de), we all cracked a few beers in the parking lot and decompressed from our long day. We had put in a solid 12 hour shift at this point, we earned it!
We were staying where we had stayed on our previous trip to Berlin, the PLUS BERLIN hostel. This is a big hostel with lots of people, it's pretty clean, there's decent WIFI and it is well situated in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area of Berlin. The Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery) and the Spree river are right next to the hostel, the underground subway and above ground trams are nearby making it easy to get anywhere. After our little party in the parking lot, we were off to our hotel...or hostel I should say.
It is quite a great perk that in Germany you can drink beers in the street. There was even a man late at night selling beers for 1€ out of a shopping cart in the street. Not bad this little concept. Everyone's chill, drinking in the street, no one gets too wasted... it's great!
I was in much need of hot shower at this point. I was very happy to be able to enjoy some decent water pressure at the PLUS BERLIN hostel. When you're five guys crammed in a room, sometimes a hot shower is your only alone time. Better make it count, tsé.
After a few glasses of some French white wine that I had purchased earlier on during the tour, we descended to the bar of the PLUS to enjoy our free shot of Tequila Sunrise. We had all been given tickets for a free shot upon our check in. In fact, everyone who stays at the PLUS gets a free shot. Perhaps this is why they call it PLUS...!?!? ha. In fact, another "plus" of the PLUS is the fact that they have a pretty decent restaurant as well. We were all originally planning on heading out for something to eat, but after being wooed into the bar by the free shot, we decided to stay and eat here. We were joined at the table by our good friends Anika from Universal music and Tine from Revolver records who have been a great help for all of our shows in Germany. On était une bonne gang, the Chardonnay was flowing (only 15€ a bottle), c'est pas mal ça. Our friends had invited some of their friends to join us, and before we knew it we were a gang of 12 drunken souls heading off into a Berlin nightclub. At this point, I must admit I was quite intoxicated. I'm not sure exactly where we ended up. We did take the subway and we did stay on the dance floor until about 5/6am. The bars don't really close in Berlin, so watch out cuz time flies when you're having fun. The only downside I can think of is that smoking is permitted in these bars, so the next day my hangover smelt like cigarettes...not a PLUS.
Although we were all feeling a bit low on energy the next morning, we were blessed by some nice sunny weather again. Before our 4pm load in, we enjoyed some serious sun time outside the Myzik & Frieden at a nearby cafe.
Our show in Berlin was really special this time around. Previously, we performed alongside Half Moon Run at the Lido, but this time we managed to sell out this 200 capacity venue to a great crowd. People knew the lyrics to a few songs, and joined in big time on the "ooohs" chanting in "Old Piano". What a treat!
The Muzik & Frieden venue quickly transformed itself into an 8 room DJ dance party. After packing up, me and tour partner Henry decided to soak in a last Berlin pilsner at the Bauhaus Bar one floor up before calling in a night. We had partied pretty hard the night before, so no need to overdo it. But it was quite impressive to suddenly find ourselves in what seemed to be a massive Berlin DJ party complex. There was music being cranked here in all different genres. One room was Blink 182, the next was Trap, Death Metal... If you want to mosh-pit it up or boogie Muzik & Frieden is a good place to do it. So do it.
Next day - bright and early 9am departure to Munich, München or Minga... how ever you choose to pronounce it. Merci Berlin! We will be back. Perhaps for some festivals in August...keep your fingers crossed!
As was the case in Amsterdam, I didn't get much time to play "Mr.Tourist" in Berlin. I had previously done the tourist thing but this time we had a bit more work to do and no official "day off". It's all good. Berlin is a very very cool place. Culture flourishes, people like to go out, buildings are covered in graffiti (but it's cool graffiti, not trashy...charming), the economy is going well, public transit is clean and quiet, and food is for the most part cheap. If you've never been, you need to go.
Decent, well priced hostel. Free shot. Good hot showers. Easy to park a giant van.
Live Music Venues:
Muzik & Frieden
Breakfast - Tante Emma
Köpenicker Str. 1, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Lots of great cafés and restaurants in the Kreuzberg area.
Today is real "tour" day. I've been woken up way before I would naturally wake, forced to shower in an extremely small shower and offered some stale cereal with warm milk. All this before 9am...not exactly ideal circumstances, but they are the current circumstances and so I have no choice to deal with them. First world problems, I know, don't worry I'm not that upset. Normally if I were to wake up and be feeling this tired I wouldn't eat anything, but when it's free and I don't really know when or what the next meal will be, I choose to fill up. Take every chance you can get, right?
This is our second time in Hamburg, second time performing at the Nochtspreicher and second time staying at the Generator Hostel. We spent less than 24 hours in this city this time before departing this morning. Just enough time to reminisce about the Reeperbahn Festival last fall. Reeperbahn is the name of the music festival, but also the name of the main downtown area in Hamburg. This area is swarming with tourists, German "currywurst" sausage stands, doner shops, bars, t-shirts with Hamburg written on them and it's also close to Europe's second largest Red Light District (...uhhh non merci)
Nothing really crazy happened this time in Hamburg.
The most exciting thing happened on the way to Hamburg when we got pulled over on the side of the highway. A highway patrol officer suspected we had too much weight in the van, seeing as how the back axle was really low. True. We're six guys with suitcases and a boatload of gear. The patrol man took a quick look in the back of the van, all the while Henry explaining that we are a Canadian band and that we travel to Europe a few times a year and that this amount of gear is perfectly normal. After a few minutes of questions, the officer smiled and we were all off on our way. Good thing we got Henry! Il est bon le gros Belge!
As I mentioned earlier, I think the Generator Hostel has THE smallest shower and bathroom I've ever seen. I felt like I was in an airplane...hilarious! I couldn't even get my head under the shelf to spit in the sink while brushing my teeth. I mean who got the design contract on this one...?
Otherwise, we were well received in Hamburg. We were offered a delicious burrito dinner next to the Nochtspreicher venue before the show. It's a cool little Mexican joint called Kombüse. The staff and crew at Nochtspreicher are really nice and had a whole pile of tasty beverages and snacks backstage, gros merci!! All they need next time is a smoke machine, tsé!
We had a short, but sweet visit this time in Hamburg. It's a cool city with a happening nightlife, lots of great bars and as I mentioned, a Red Light District if you're into that kind of thing. Check out the Reeperbahn Festival in September if you're in Europe. It's quite the scene. Cheers, we're off to Berlin!
KOMBÜSE, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 51, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
Eat some Currywurst
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 69a, 20359 Hamburg
(conveniently located next to the main train station in Hamburg)
They got pretty good coffee, free breakfast and decent WIFI
Oh and here's a video of Foo Fighters' "The Generator":