I want to move to Groningen!

Ok, I am exhausting all my (due to band-business-related intoxication strongly limited) mental strenght to recall the events of the last three days. Well, there are not many noteworthy things to recall from our first streetmusic gig in “Markthalle 8”, Bremen. Except the green cabbage feast we were granted, thanks guys, you know how to go overboard!
Reluctantly we left the city we grew so fond of, cut ties with our old lifes in Bremen. Benni sold the fisherboat and cancelled his membership at the local chanty choir. It was time to start the fully-flegded tour, three rowdies, one bus, no friends as backup cheerers. Therefore we pimped our ride with some corporate identity. A bus full of smelling hobos is much more socially acceptable, when there is a band logo on that bus.

Next stop: Groningen. The city itself is depicting the ideal world, full of neat channels, weed shops and smiling cyclists (albeit those being lethal for all those who mistake the bicycle way as an area accessible for pedestrians).

Somehow our bus stranded on a beautiful trailerpark. A place where you would wish to re-live your childhood at. A little paradise of bushes and wood, where a dude is cruising around with kids in his motorcycle combination. We spent our first collective night in the bus there. Benni did not quite accept his role as the middle spoon yet.

Our first concert out of Germany was going to take place in Cafe Kult, a congenial bar with an artsy and open atmosphere. Our special thanks goes to Eva, an organisational talent, that cooks in a two square meter kitchen for twenty guests. We had a great gig (the dutch audience is better looking but less generous than the one in germany) and an awesome and long night starting and ending at your bar. Even though the nightlife of Groningen is quite unsettling. Except for the 24h burger vending machines. Welcome to the future!

Okay, I am yielding to my laziness and stop here, all the other awesome stuff that happened in Groningen shall be mentioned somewhere else.

Bremen is like quicksand

Bremen is like quicksand. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. We feel at home here, settled down, found wifes and made children. Except Benni, he is now a moronic fisherman, selling flatfishes at the Weser bank and threatens youngsters with his bony fists. But what did we do while all these days have passed? First of all, we had a cosy live session at Bremen´s finest cocktail bar. Yes, a cocktail bar. Strainful Train is also capable of satisfying the sophisticated needs of the high society. Even though we have been confronted (again) with omnispresent electronic background muzak and double-digit drink prices, we really had a great night. Thanks to the kind team of the “Chinchilla” bar.

Nevertheless, dealing so much with the bourgeoisie usually calls for a down-to-earth-beer at a kebab or in a notorious dive. We did not do so and our flight of fancy urged us to record our artistic works for the generations to come. And the best location doing that are the beautiful halls of Olaf´s studio. We exhausted his hospitality and spent another day there, you should see the results in the video section soon.

Also the tour section is worth a visit now. We invented a new technique to get venues to play at. We named it “call and ask”. If anybody is spending his or her weekend in Groningen, NL, Cafe Kult (Friday, 10pm) and O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub (Saturday, 10pm) are the places to be. And if you cannot wait any longer, come and see us tonight at 8pm in Markthalle 8, Bremen, our first indoor street music gig.

Poel, hell yeah!

So we stopped over at this one special place, where our glorious destinies intersected for the very first time. The place where Benni mastered the art of classical boat building, where Hendrik mastered the acoustic guitar and Tim mastered pubercy. Our island Poel.
We gathered all available family members and childhood friends in the cosy “Strandgut”. Yep, just like back in our school band days. Exactly the same people. (Except this one elderly guy on the couch, who obviously hated our music but stayed till the end. His many facial expressions of disgust will be documented here soon, look for “grumpy grandpa”.) But island-folks were and are the best audience and party crowd in existence. The bar was literally drained. People had to drink wheat beer, because all the Pilsner supplies were annihilated in the first hour. Thank you, random guys who organised 20 litres of beer from somewhere, for the great night! And thanks Carsten Uli, for making your place available for the drunk rest of people.

This night was, from the financially point of view, the most successful one in the Strainful Train statistics. Our thanks goes to the generous mamas, papas, uncles and neighbours, who filled up the tank of our tour-battleship for at least four and a half times.
We left our comfort zone and arrived in Hamburg, in the “Familien-Eck”.

Uncosy but marvellous

The “Bunker” in Rostock is a pre-war club location, where Bismark was already enjoying some nice rounds of tabletop football. Unfortunately, the heating system was never modernized to meet the room climate needs of todays average folk concert audience. Luckily we had the ingenious idea of warming up the concert hall by the heat emissions of dancing bodies. No sooner said than done, the wicked hillbilly band “Lappalie”, warrantor for extreme dancing vibes, was invited. Together with us and the coast wide known “golden voice” Hein, an unforgettable evening programme was assembled.

A big thanks goes to the dancing crowd, the first three benevolent CD-buyers and the incredible Lappalie!
In spite of everything, highlight of the night was a spontaneous sofa jam session at our host’s living room with some dudes from “Woodfellas”. We picked them up at three in the morning in front of a mediocre kebab.
Back to business: Hein convinced us in such a way, that we contracted him as a support for our next concert. So, with our band account back at zero but with a handsome sidekick on board we head to our home island: Poel. So see you tonight at “Strandgut”, Kirchdorf.

Bye Berlin!

The nice thing about small places is, that they fill up quickly. Personally, I like the atmosphere induced by vertically piled people. Like yesterday, at the loveliest 6 m² of Berlin, Gabor´s hideaway in Wedding. When we stand right in the middle of the audience, when there is no need for amplification, Strainful Train´s real potential arises. You can smell Benni´s numerous adventures, touch Hendrik´s well groomed hair and see the fear of screwing up the tempo in Tim´s eyes.

Our big gratitude goes to barkeeper Gabor, even though he suddenly demanded a song, we never played before. However, whith a new tune in our repertoire and a filled diesel tank we leave this beautiful city at last. Next target: Rostock. See you tonight, 9pm in the Bunker. With our lads Hein and Lappalie.

We got started

Heureka! Our first concert since 1985! Artliners, the worlds cosiest and coolest place, according to the guy next to the bar, spontaneously offered their stage for a Tour kick-off concert. Our palms were sweaty, knees weak and arms were heavy, but we mastered all technical and emotional difficulties. Especially considered, that there were NOT ONLY friends in the audience (thanks for the exaggerated cheering, folks, we really felt like rockstars).
In the mean time, we were able to get us some follow up concerts, check the tour dates. So see you guys this evening in the even cooler and cosier pub, at Gabor´s!

Buckle up!

One month of preparation comes to an end. We got nearly nothing finished, but improvisation is going to be a core element of this trip. And here is the plan, stay tuned, because it may change every three days:
Strainful Train, the glorious and forever unknown folk trio is going on tour. And every cosy, shady, chummy or smelly pub we encounter will be granted one to sixteen hours of the choicest handmade music. Until the throats are coarse and the bassist is drunk, even if the barkeeper is the only audience.
We got ourselves a tourbus, a rusty ancient vehicle which Mad Max would be proud of. And Hendryk supplied us with the finest recording equipment ebay has to offer until he had to file for personal bankcruptcy. We even exhausted our computer skills to write this tour blog. Fueled by the lust for adventures and thirst for beer we are setting sails. And maybe we come across your favourite bar.