My Latvia debut at Rock Cafe, Riga (Pic: Valentina Abrazey)
OOOFT…alarm goes off at 6am…less than four hours sleep. Again!
Eduard comes to drive us to Rakvere bus staon, we say our goodbyes and an hour-and-a-half later we roll into Tallinn. We have an hour or so before we have to board the bus for Riga, Latvia, so we have some breakfast and a coffee in the bus staon cafe.
The journey to Riga is about four-and-a-half hours. Thankfully its one of the fancy coaches with wifi, personal entertainment screens and comfy reclining seats….I get some online work done then sleep the rest of the way.
Promoter Peteris is waiting for us in Riga and drives us to our rather nice hotel in the old town…and it’s just50 metres form the venue 🙂
We get organised int he hotel then wander along the road to Rock Cafe and have a wonderful meal before soundchecking.
Nice to meet British Ambassador Keith Shannon
I nip back to the hotel to get changed and get back to the venue just aer doors open. The event is included in a series of ’Brish Days’ and we meet Keith Shannon British Ambassador to Latvia – a fellow Scot – who’s going to be introducing me on stage.
Meantme, local jazz musicians Vilnis Kundrats and Aris Ozols play a short set…then Keith takes the stage. The place is full and it looks like its gonna be a good night.
I play the first of two sets then have a break while Berlin-based American Kat Baloun and Stefano Ronchi from Italy play a fine set.
We all play another another set each then a couple of local musicians join us all on stage for a jam session. I don’t really ’do’ jam sessions, but I have fun and take part in the spirit of the night.
There’s a whole spread of great food in the backstage area…and the drink is flowing all night. We load out around midnight, take the gear back to the hotel and meet Kat and Stefano to find a pub for a nightcap…we find somewhere close by and the place is in full swing with what we think is a crowd of crazy Latvians. But they’re not. They Scottish!!!!
A really nice bunch of folks, who by pure chance have congregated here.
When we leave, Margaret’s hungry and orders a chicken kebab to take back to our room…
Kat Baloun and Stephano Ronchi
The end of night jam session…I don’t normally do this, but we have fun 🙂
Headlining the acoustic stage at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne.
BREAKFAST at the B&B is 8.30am..the latest they do! Not the best place for musicians playing a festival.
The proprietors are a lovely old couple but jeez, the breakfast is shit.
First up, the plate for fruit/cereal is manky, So bad that I pass on fruit or cereal. I ask for sausage and hash browns..the lady says she’s cooked bacon so I agree to some of that too. Then it comes. One sausage, one rasher of bacon and one hash brown. The bacon and hash brown is OK, but the sausage – which I’ve split and put between a couple of bits of toast is so bad it makes me gag. Never tasted anything like it. The remainder is wrapped in a napkin to be disposed of later. They’re such a nice old couple I don’t want to cause any fuss.
Onward to Colne in Lancashire for the Great British R&B Festival – a two-and-a-half/three-hour drive via a McDonalds for a replacement breakfast!
We roll up at our pals Rodge and Jan’s about 2pm, drop our bags and then we all head to the Little Theatre where I headline the festival’s acoustic stage at 5pm.
The place is busy and we catch up with loads of folks and chat over a few beers until it’s time to set up my gear and hit the stage. The Little Theatre is a fantastic venue and the sound is great too. The place is jammed and folks are craning their necks round the doors to catch some of my show.
As soon as I’m done I join Margaret at the merch table outside and chat with loads of folks and sign their CDs and vinyl.
We take everything back to Rodge and Jan’s then get a taxi back into town where we spend the rest of the evening doting form venue to venue watching lots of music and perhaps having a bit too much to drink too. Grand day out:-)
Scottish shows info/trailer video…click above to watch!
THERE’S a note in the diary that the episode of Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks featuring yours truly is airing on ITV tonight. I spend a while spreading some ‘hints’ around Facebook, Twitter etc.
With an upcoming session of STV’s Live at Five – Wednesday 1 February, 5pm – I run through the new songs I’m planning on performing and rehearse a few more for good measure.
Mikey arrives mid-afternoon – he’s coming through for the night so Margaret can deal with his accounts and get his tax return done in time.
I’m planning a Facebook video ad to promote the upcoming Scottish shows – but before I can make the ad, I have to create the video…just a short piece to camera.
Half an hour back in the studio with some minor editing and I have a wee clip to upload along with the gig dates/info. Although it’s destined to be an ad, I upload it now to get some traction before throwing some cash at an ad campaign.
Betty pops round with info for us and we have a drink and watch Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks – despite her questionable (but understandable) pronunciation of some of the place names, the half hour show is a fatastic depiction of our area…and the closing segment with Margaret watching yours truly playing Loch Lomond outside the local coffee shop has survived the threat of the cutting room floor!
After dinner we chat and I set up the Facebook video ad. Rather than promoting (or ‘boosting’) single Facebook events, we’ve found we get much better results and more bang for our buck by having an ad direct to a landing page on my website. And video ads have a much higher success rate than standard ads on Facebook 🙂
A quick search found the above clip from Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks online! Click the image to watch the segment featuring yours truly 🙂
Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland