Amsterdam – the inside story!

22nd Feb 2013. The DC Experiment’s first international tour!! Starting and ending in Amsterdam with no gigs in between….ok, that’s all there is actually. We’re on a one-city, 2 gigs tour and we’re maxing it to the limit. We may well have been a big international act, such was the welcome we received, and the pleasure we got was in proportion. Here’s how it went….

I arrived a day before Adrian and Benz; a birthday present from Darragh. A ticket to see Sigur Ros in the O2 Heineken Music Hall. What a great way to start off a music filled weekend; great show.

Darragh’s band are opening up for us on both nights; it’s gonna be fun! We met his workmates before the gig, and warmed up for the gig with a few beers with our concert companions Nick and Maud.

Being the sensible lads that we are, and with the prospect of a gruelling 2-day gigging schedule ahead, we called it a day after the gig and retired for a relatively early night. Darragh was a tad worried about how his injured finger would survive a gig, I equally concerned how my voice would hold up for 90mins (and if truth be told, how I would manage to stay sober until our start time of 1.30am); not exactly rock ‘n roll eh? We’re a pair of worriers, like father like son, but being of a kind we also give and get a sympathetic and understanding ear!

Fri 23rd Feb. We chill in the apartment for the day, all is good elsewhere too; the rhythm section have arrived in Eindhoven and are on the way. I give them directions to the apartment; nothing can go wrong! Famous last words……

8pm and I’m thinking “wtf are the lads?”; Benz responds to the txt that they’ll go straight to the venue as they’ve gotten slightly side-tracked by the pleasures of the city. No problem, see yiz there so.

We arrive a the already packed venue at 10.30pm; Miranda is there already with Taro and her extremely tall and beautiful friends, drinks are procured and introductions are made. This is going to be tricky, lots of unfamiliar and unusual names. Two familiar names are not present however, Benz and Adrian are nowhere to be seen, surely they must be here by now? But no-one has seen them. Benz txts, nearly there, what’s the street number of the venue? I send it. 20 mins pass by; still no sign. How bizarre! Suddenly I think they must be following the directions to the apartment which is on the other side of town. Yikes. I txt Benz (Adrian has left his phone behind; charging, in Ireland), no, they’re just arrived at the venue. Phew. I look around, can’t see them at all. Strange. I txt the name of the venue again, and receive a quick reply from Benz to the effect that ‘F**k; we’re in Cafe Cox’. They leg it like a pair of scalded cats and arrive at the right venue just in time for the gig. We’re all cracking up; a most amusing sideshow to ready us for the main event.

Darragh and his international troupe of troubadours aka LPASF are first up and rattle through a 30 min set of covers plus an original, which sounds really good; way to go lads! Dave on drums is from Mayo (that’s pretty international, right?), Bamshad on guitar is from Iraq, Sahella on Bass if Italian, and co-vocalist Maudy is…..wait for it….Dutch!! We take the stage then and go straight for the greatest hits, of which we have none, strictly speaking, but we don’t care and nor does anyone else. The place is hopping. Miranda joins us for her 6 or so songs and performs splendidly to the surprise of all her friends who had no idea she was singing in a band in Ireland; a very secretive lass is our Miranda! The hour and a half goes by in a pleasant blur, the only distraction is the bizarre decibel meter on the wall which we are warned by proprietor Renee not to go over 88dB. We rarely manage to keep it below 95dB but no-one seems to mind, and we finish up at 3am, sweaty, hoarse and happy.

We bask in the afterglow, checking out the pics that Adrians friends Adam and Susan have taken (they’ve come for the weekend), and hanging out in the smoking den downstairs. Renee locks the doors and the party begins in earnest. We leave at 5am and head back for a final beer in the apartment until we crash at 7am. One gig down, one to go.

Sat 24th Feb. 12 noon. My head hurts…where am I? I open my eyes…ouch. Suddenly I remember that we’re invited to Miranda’s mum’s house in Capsicum for lunch. I hope out of bed, into the shower and try to rouse the lads. They are too wrecked to go anywhere, so I head off on my own and hit the sleepy seaside village around 3pm. Best move I could have made as it happens; just the ticket. Ronald picks me up from the station, Yvonne has a wonderful spread of cheeses, salamis, breads and Miranda’s sister Larissa plies me with coffee; a perfectly lovely few hours are spent with these lovely and hospitable people. I bid adieu to my hosts, and ‘see ya later’ to Miranda, who informs me that she won’t be joining me tonight. Oops, I forgot; I’m on my own tonight so, better take it easy. I catch the 7pm train back to the city and, zombie like, make my way toward tonight’s venue. I somehow find it and introduce my self to Yannick, one of the collective or artists, actors, musicians and others who own and run the joint. Café Cox reminds me of Whelans in Dublin, complete with balcony area which doubles up as a smoking zone, and boy is there a lot of smoking going on up there! Very liberal interpretations of smoking areas in Amsterdam it seems; last nights venue had an area downstairs with no ventilation; it was a haze of smoke too.

Adrian and Maudy are here ahead of me (I’m not last; that’s a first!), and the rest of the two bands show up bit by bit, some of them literally in bits, and slowly unpack the gear. Darragh informs us that there is a generous tab behind the bar for the bands and our fee as been raised too; we love this place already!! Again we are playing after midnight; the big challenge of not getting drunk before the show again raises its ugly head; the tab looks tempting! I compromise and have a few anyway; it’d be rude not to!

LPASF rock the joint again at 11.30; they’ve brought even more people tonight; the place is jammed upstairs and downstairs, we go on at 12.15, take a half-time break for refreshments and play ’til 3am. The reception is great again, and Yannick does some funky things on sound so we’re echoing all over the place. Cool. Adrian almost passes out from exhaustion just before the break, though he covered it well, and lovely strangers greet us with compliments. Our heads are twice the size for the second half of the show, and Adrian has straightened himself out with a good dose of fresh air. After the gig it’s a repeat of last night; the punters are cleared out so that only the bands, their entourage and the staff remain, and the partying commences until we get kicked out at 5am. Maudy and others are cycling; only in Amsterdam and we take the taxi option; Adrian and Darragh are spent, myself and Benz happily stay up til 7am drinking beer and shooting the breeze.

The lads head off at noon; bound for Eindhoven, where a Ryanair flight awaits, and I hang with Darragh for the day before catching my evening flight, where I write this. Clunk, click, table tops up, we land smoothly and our rock ‘n rollercoaster weekend tour is over.

 

This is what being in a band is all about; thanks Amsterdam for being so cool. DC


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