Welcome back to Rise and Find. It is now day 5 of the current Franklin Electric eurotour. We have just arrived safely in Paris at our little loft where we will be for the next 2 nights. Last time we were in Paris we stayed at this same apartment. Last time Paris was a very different place. We arrived in Paris last Nov 13 just as the attacks on Paris were taking place. In fact, we drove right by one of the cafés that had been blown up. It was a very bizarre, uneasy feeling.
The same uneasy feeling came over me 2 days ago. After our first show in London, we woke up to bad news coming out of the TV set. Bombs were going off again in Europe, this time in Brussels.
The news was hard to digest as I crammed cereal and coffee in my face as (in semi-typical Franklin fashion) we were running late for our 8am departure to the next gig. The morning prior the vibe in this little hostel kitchen was much different. There was a charming Turkish woman working in the kitchen. She danced around the kitchen as Salsa music cranked out of her HP laptop on YouTube, wiping the counters and refilling cereal boxes etc... On the other side of the room, the same television set that would broadcast the terrible news the following morning was now broadcasting the Jeremy Kyle show. Who is Jeremy Kyle?? He's pretty much the British Jerry Springer.
Here check out this crazy episode:
So one morning the TV is blasting me with a mother and her daughter who think that broadcasting their lack of love for eachother is a good idea, and the next day another group of people who are in dire need of love are walking into an airport and blowing people away. Is there anything more saddening than to hear about people killing others? What's crazy is also the feeling that this era of terrorism is something that will most likely be present throughout my entire life. Let's be honest...it's on. If these terrorists want to take our western freedom away, well they are slowly doing it. If only we could counterattack with LOVE. As the Beatles would say "All you need is love"
After finishing our complimentary breakfast, we were off to Amsterdam! Please allow to change up the vibe here. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe. Why?
- Beautiful architecture
- Beautiful people riding bikes
- It's not a major city crowded with traffic, noise, bulldozers and cranes. Bikes rule. C'est bon ça.
After our 7 hour drive, we arrived mid afternoon to Studio Le Roy in Amsterdam to record a few songs for 2 metre sessions -
I enjoyed the vibe of the studio. Everything was patched and ready to roll as soon as we arrived. It's always nice when a studio is setup and patched when you arrive. Save time, and get to the reason you're there - The Music! We performed 6 songs back to back, mostly all in one take, packed up and bounced out to get some dinner. At this point we were starving!!!
Conveniently located next to eachother on Kerkstraat are the restaurant Portugalia and the Dolphins Coffeeshop. I think we hit 2 birds with one stone here. After a delicious plate of Pork and Clams, some killer garlic bread and some Sagres beers at Portugalia, the gang headed next door and into the basement of The Dolphins Coffeeshop to see what the Netherlands had to offer. Not bad! This is a great coffeshop in Amsterdam. Pretty chill vibe, Afghan style couches in the basement where tobacco is tolerated (only cannabis on the top floor), delicious cappuccinos, mint tea, good tunes...and the staff are attentive and enthusiastic to tell you all about whichever smoke you choose to indulge in. Some other Coffeeshops can be intense, almost intimidating in their way of greeting you, asking for ID even if you look 40 with Metallica cranking as 3 dudes stare down your passport, genre. But The Dolphins is a great one. Go there! Get some TESLA POWER.
The next morning I had the pleasure of waking up, brewing myself up an instant Nescafé espresso in my hotel room and hitting the pool! I love swimming. Swimming on tour...not always something you can get to enjoy. So when I stay at a hotel that has a pool, for sure gonna hit that up in the morning.
Today we play the Paradiso in Amsterdam, but before we do we have about 5 interviews to do. Kind of intense, one after another. As Jon is the songwriter of the band, he naturally fields most interviews, but I do get my chance to pipe in every once in a while. After a few interviews, we performed some acoustic songs for Online Zubbculture Magazine. "Unsatisfied", Show Me The Quiet Air", and a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" were performed. These videos should be available soon on their site zubb.nl One of the video crew members, George, suggested a great beer joint "Café Gollem" which I hit up later for some IPAs!!
The show at Paradiso was a success. The upstairs hall was about 3/4 full with approx 110 people checking out our sound. It was cool to see some people singing the lyrics to the songs, especially in this foreign city. This venue is a pleasure to play. The crew on lights and sound there are really on point too which makes the whole night roll smooth, not to mention sound and look great. I must say that my shiny Pearl drums looked pretty sweet on that stage! Ha! Not only that, but the Paradiso peeps respect our rider too, so we get some good snacks backstage and a few tasty beverages! Pas mal quoi.
So ya, speaking of tasty beverages... I led us off into the night post gig in search of some beers at the Cafe Gollem. With half of our crew getting a bit sidetracked by food, I ended up grabbing a few beers at Gollem solo. I mean, I had to go! George had recommended it, said it was some of the best places in Amsterdam to get some tasty local micro brews. And tasty micro brews they were. I told the barman that I enjoy citrus-y, hoppy IPAs and I would like to try something local. He had just the beer to satisfy! He explained that although Holland actually has more breweries than Belgium, Belgium produces more quantity of beer. Interesting little fact. And so, I was served up a Belgian made IPA with some fresh citra hops. Although the beer was made in Belgium, it's made specifically for Gollem. Can't remember the name of it, but damn it was tasty. Next up was another Belgian, this time a double IPA called "Extase"...and yes, the name says it all. Très bon! So after 2 delicious beers, great chit chat with some locals and free WIFI, I was off to meet the rest of the TFE crew members. But before...a snack!
The snack that was about to go down is something unique to Amsterdam. I mean, what I ate and the way in which the food was presented to me was like nothing I've seen elsewhere. You could honestly say it's a stoner/drunk trap. Basically "FEBO" restaurant is a walk in restaurant on the main strip of Amsterdam which serves up semi-fresh greasy food. The thing that makes it a bit crazy is the fact that there are no waiters or staff, besides the cooks in the back. The food is displayed through small glass doors (about 100 in all) and all you have to do is slip money in the slot next to the door, push the button and pull out your tasty little snack. What a concept! ... and I know I was drunk, but it's actually pretty delicious. I did sort of semi regret the three cheeseburgers the next morning though. But they were just so tempting, staring at me through the glass window. I couldn't resist. I suggest you check it out.
The next piece of food I was to consume would be from Bagels and Beans, a Danish chain of breakfast restaurants offering up some fair trade Panama coffee, local "sustainable" smoked salmon and some killer bagels. Go there too. Get the "Lazy" breakfast combo.
Shortly after this, I was at the wheel of our enormous van heading for Paris. Roll it up and roll out!
Amsterdam thank you! You are beautiful. I didn't get in too much sight seeing this time, but I did get a solid 45 Mins between soundcheck and the gig to wander the downtown and snap some pics. It wasn't the full meal deal, but I got in what I could while I could, checked out some local suggestions and played some music. Sometimes I get the feeling of disappointment that I don't take in enough of the cities that were in. You do your best and that's all you can do.
As Dean would say: When you're on tour you got to take every chance you can get.
WHAT TO CHECK OUT IN AMSTERDAM
- Paradiso (for great local and international touring bands)
- Café Gollem (Raamsteeg 4)
Kerkstraat 35, 1017 GB Amsterdam
Leidsestraat 94, 1017 PE Amsterdam
Bagels and Beans (good lunch and breakfast)
The Dolphins Coffeeshop
Kerkstraat 39, 1017 GB Amsterdam
Don't go to this Coffeeshop:
Leidseplein 15, 1017 PS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Airport
We stay at this hotel next to the airport for a number of reasons. Ofcourse it would be way cooler to stay downtown Amsterdam and party the night away, but it's a little expensive and hard logistically for 6 dudes with a van full of gear.
This hotel is about 20 mins to downtown by car, and easily accessible by public transit. But it's only $80 CAN (www.bookings.com)per night per room which is way cheaper than anything we could possibly find in the city. And...there's easy parking, a pool, steam room, gym...I don't think you get this at your Airbnb downtown. Which leads me to my final tip.. Always ALWAYS bring a bathing suit when travelling. You never know!