Saturday 2 December 2017


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A wee selfie crossing the Danube spur that runs through Vienna. Nice to have some time to look around πŸ˜‰

A GREAT sleep and a wee lie in…but still up in time for breakfast – doesn’t finish here at the rather swanky Ruby Marie hotel ’til 11am πŸ™‚

John Spillane’s hosting a songwriting workshop at midday at a venue on the other side of the city centre. We jump on the underground and catch the end of the session. Enlightening and inspiring stuff.

We have a wander though the city and stop off at a traditional restaurant for lunch…the food’s good, but the service is awful. We wait 45-minutes for our drinks to arrive and our order to be taken!

We make our way back to the hotel and get stuff ready for tonight’s Schottenfest show. We’re picked up at 5.30pm and soon we;re loaded in and sound man Bobby has my soundcheck nailed.

Upstairs we have some dinner then back into the venue in time for doors opening. Aera is a fantastic room and it’s already filling up nicely when Doug Andrews opens the show.

Next up it’s Grainne Hunt who, like Doug before her, plays a blinder.

The venue’s full when I hit the stage for an hour and a bit. I have a blast and the crowd is fantastic.

Plenty time afterwards to chat with folks round the merch table and enjoy a few drams with everyone before we pack up, load out and share a cab back to the hotel with Grainne. Been an awesome day πŸ™‚

Doug Andrews opens the show….

…followed by Grainne Hunt…

…then yours truly.

 

Friday 1 December 2017


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An impromptu couple of songs from your truly at the Schottenfest afterparty (pic: Alexander Galler)

THE alarm goes off at 6am. Jeez. We’re knackered!

After showers, coffee and packing the car we make our way to Edinburgh airport and check in for the first leg of our trip to Vienna – Edinburgh to Frankfurt – with Lufthansa. The woman at check-in says the flight’s busy, but we can take the guitars to the gate and if we go to priority boarding she’ll see if we can get them on board. 

Sure enough, at the gate we’re told to board ahead of everyone else and the crew put my guitars in the business class lockers. A similar thing happens at Frankfurt…we’re ushered through the gate ahead of everyone else and this time we’re given a seat for the guitars and a couple of ground crew come and tie them in. None of this is charged. We’ll see how the trip home fares, but at this rate Lufthansa have rocketed to the top of the customer care chart!

Not long after takeoff a lady comes and asks me something…I’m not quite sure what she says then she adds: “whisky in my blood” and beckons for autographs for her and her friend. Now there’s a first!

We’re met at Vienna airport by Ulf who drives us to our hotel – the Ruby Marie…but there’s a problem with check-in so we go straight to the venue and watch tonight’s Schottenfest line-up Karine Polwart and Mick Flannery and enjoy a few beers.

By the time the show’s finished, the hotel registration problem is sorted, so Ulf takes us back and we drop off the gear sort a couple of things out then he takes us to the after show where we eat and have a drink.

Our pal – festival organiser Shane – and some of the Vienna Songwriting Circle are providing the music and when Shane spots me I’m ushered to the stage. I manage to negotiate his guitar and (very) short strap and knock out a couple of tunes…a drum rand bass player joining me for Homesick & Blue πŸ™‚

We hang out for another while and drink beer then wander back to the hotel. Knackered. It’s been a long – but good – day.

The guitars get a seat – and custom tie-down – on the Vienna to Frankfurt flight!

Karine Polwart opens for Mick Flannery at Schottenfest…

..then the man himself. Amazing!

 

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