Saturday 21 October 2017

Buena Vista Sofa Club…three in a row for Estonia…amazing shows…thank you!

NOT too much panic this morning…I get some emails and admin done as well as the last minute promo for tonight’s show in Rakvere out the way before we pack our bags.

We take everything downstairs when we go for a late (10.30am) breakfast then check out and grab a taxi to take us to the bus station.

I nip onto a shopping centre to get some insoles for the boots I wear while playing…my feet have been killing me the last few days and they might help cushion the impact while I’m stomping!

I’m back just in time to load the gear onto the coach and we’re off…two-and-a-quarter hours to Rakvere and the coach is less fancy and more cramped than yesterday’s luxury coach. Doesn’t stop me sleeping most of the way though!

Club owner and promoter Eduard and his soundman Ants meet us and we go straight to Buena Vista Sofa Club. Its another great venue with a first class sound system. We have a coffee, set up and soundcheck…then Eduard takes us on a quick tour of the town and on to our hotel. It’s 4pm…we’re being fed in half an hour and a car will pick us up at 8.30pm.

We settle in then go downstairs to the restaurant where we have a couple of monster-sized beers and a nice meal. We’re just finished when Eduard appears. There seems to be some problem to do with accommodation…we;re not sure what, exactly, but its something to do with some Russians wanting to stay somewhere else…so he’s wondering if he can move us.

That’s OK by us, so we get our bags and are driven to accommodation at the theatre which is as good – if not better – than the original place.

I had an urgent message for help form a musician whose two websites I built and maintain….she’d in New Zealand on tour and thinks she’s had her email hacked. I advise her its more likely that her address has been used as a reply address by spammers – a fairly common thing these days…a bit of a pain, hut it usually passes and doesn’t pose any security/privacy threat. But she’s binned her email and started  a new one which has implications for both her websites’ contact details/contact forms etc. I reconfigure everything and let her know some other things that may be affected by the email change….

There’s time to chill for a while before driver arrives to take us to the club. Doors open at 9pm.

We’ve just had a big meal..and there’s more food and drink backstage!

Backstage there’s enough food for an army…especially considering we’ve not long had a meal. Beer aplenty, some weird-ass Estonian liquor from soundman Ants…

I hit the stage at 10pm sharp for the first of two 45-minute sets…there’s some folks we know in the crowd and the place goes crazy. I manage to speak to as many folks as possible at the break then hit the stage again. We have a fantastic night and a lot of fun. This has been the best Estonia trip ever…even if it’s  2am and we have to be up at 6am for a bus to Tallinn, then on to Latvia. Hell yeah \../



Friday 20 October 2017

Awesome time in Tartu…and great crowd at Pühaste Brewery 😉

A GOOD night’s sleep in a comfy bed helps restore things…physically, anyway!

We need some milk so I take a walk to the supermarket and find some croissants, fruit and milk and get back to our funky old town apartment for breakfast.

Our pal Merli drops by to say hello as we pack our gear then Madis comes to pick us up and drive us too the bus station where we board the bus to Tallinn – a big coach with comfy sets, good wifi and personal entertainment screens on every seat back. Very swanky.

I deal with some online stuff and emails and sleep the rest of two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Tartu where Andres and Siim are waiting to meet us.

Siim drives us to the Hektor ‘hostel’ where we seem to have an entire suite booked for us by the good folks at Pühaste Brewery where I play tonight.

We have some grub in the cafe and rest up for a while before Andres and Raul collect us to go to the brewery which is right on the edge of town.

Ivo has a nie PA rig already set up in what is otherwise a huge, empty room…Jeez…hope we mange to get enough folks in here!

I just finish my soundcheck and the power goes down. Something’s tripped a fuse, but the folks here have no access to the part of the building where the main board is. A few phone calls, a little stress and an hour later, power’s back on…just in time for doors. Andres, Raul and the Sawmill Roots Orchestra manage a quick soundcheck then we’re all good to go.

The place fills up and by the time the Sawmill Roots Orchestra kicks off the place is pretty full 🙂 The band is great…Andres and Raul playing fantastic instrumentals supplemented with trumpet and clarinet to create a really unique, original and sophisticated sound.

There’s a break for changeover and I finish the evening with swell-received 80-minute set. Like last night, the crowd is great and there’s lots of photos and chat round the merch table after the show.

We load out and Siim drives us back to our place where we have a snack, beer and bed. Another brilliant night 🙂

Andres and his latest project – the Sawmill Roots Orchestra. Fantastic!

Monday 8 August 2016

A four-minute videoblog of last week’s whirlwind tour in Estonia….

WE wake up late. Not sure if it was because of the wind, but neither of us slept very well last night. I woke up at 4am and didn’t get back to sleep until well after 6am. Very unusual!

Good news is the lurgy has subsided considerably. I rush into the office to pack some merch and print postage  before breakfast, then fire off some emails about the US tour.

I have a long list of things to do as a result of lying awake earlier…posters for September’s shows down south, web stuff for various folks, invoices to send out. Jeez.

Once I’ve got through some of the stuff I head to the office to print set lists for tomorrow’s (Tuesday) show with Bob Wayne at the O2 ABC in Glasgow…plus overprint a batch of postcards with forthcoming show info for the merch desk.

Then I head for the studio. A new radio pack/transmitter for my guitar’s wireless system arrived earlier and needs to be set up….I panic when it doesn’t work then find a rogue RF setting hidden behind the usual menu options. Sorted. Phew.

Both the old radio packs work, bit only just. They’ll do for emergencies but can’t be depended on.

I add captions to the Estonia video blog and upload it to my YouTube channel (see it here) manage to find the Good Moonshine video and restring the guitars ready for tomorrow.

Martin arrives just as I finish – we go for a walk in the evening sun and discuss a photo job he’s asked me to do. Back home we have a glass of wine, he heads off and I make dinner.

Got an early start tomorrow, so best get things in order….

Tuesday 26 July 2016


On stage at Versus, Parnu...blues fest underway!

On stage at Versus, Parnu…blues fest underway!

WE’RE pretty gubbed when we wake up…and we’ve slept in a bit.

Not to worry, we;re soon up, dressed and on our way to Versus – ‘the blues cafe’ – the venue for today’s kick off shows for Parnu Blues Festival.

We need something to eat and rock’n’roll piano man Louie Digman is playing at 2pm. We eat, watch Louis and then our pals form the Parnu Blues Club band. Great to catch up.

It’s blisteringly hot and sweaty and we’re glad of the zircon at the shopping centre when we stop at the supermarket for some supplies – wine, beer, whisky…and some fruit.

Back at the hotel we rest up for a while then  make our way back to Versus with the gear. My show isn’t ’til 9pm but we need to get there in time for loading in and changeovers.

The band on before me is Joensuu Riihimäki from Finland. Frontman Sami suddenly asks me up to sing with him on  Dylan’s I Shall Be Released….jeez…don’t know all the words but we busk it anyway and it’s all done in the spirit of the moment! The guys put on a  great show and are one of the most refreshing bands we’ve seen in a  while.

There’s a capacity crowd in the room – and a lot of folks we know from previous Estonia trips…Seppo and Marina, author Toomas Raudam (who brings us a big punnet of raspberries from his garden) and a load of musicians 🙂

The place is packed, there’s two guys filming the whole thing with about eight cameras, a few photographers and it;s boiling hot….I’m soaking before I’ve even hit the first note!

The crowd is fantastic and I have a real blast…plenty whisky keeps me going until the end when I collapse in a heap backstage. Not time to rest though – folks to talk to and a stage to be cleared.

Once we’re done we find a nice quiet restaurant and relax over a belated dinner before heading back to yacht club for a last dram then bed. Some day.

Sami and Joensuu Riihimaki   get me up on stage to help out on I Shall be Released....

Sami and Joensuu Riihimaki get me up on stage to help out on I Shall be Released….

With Finnish band Joensuu Riihimaki after the show – me, Mollu, Kari and Sami

With Finnish band Joensuu Riihimaki after the show – me, Mollu, Kari and Sami