I left Lake Garda following a lovely lunch from my friend Jeno. From there the 11 hours of transience began. Traffic was backed up many times along the way out of Italy and as I drove near Turin I caught the remains of a storm. Eventually rain turned to snow as I made my way through Mount Blanc.
Eventually I arrived round midnight in the sleepy french town of Cessy just on the Swiss border. My friend Keith who I have known for many years from the UK was now living there and offered to put me up. He also helped to get me the Geneva show.
Following a lazy day trip into the mountains I next had to contend with the Geneva traffic and parking. Fortunately I did manage to find a spot close to the venue and get myself loaded in. The show was with two other groups. One of which was a band who were 2/3rds Australian and 1/3rd English. It was great to hear a Josh Pyke cover in their set.
The ICA arcade was a space limited bustling kinda place. But I felt the audience respected the music and the feedback after was generally good. I played a couple of the new songs (finishing the show on one). Playing Designed to Stop from my debut album was a personal pleasure that night.
I could feel as the tour was nearing home that I was becoming almost desperate to be back. I’m not sure I would call it homesickness as such. Because I could happily tour for another month or 2. But when you know after many months of living in a van will end in a week. Well it makes the thought of comfort and familiarity a damn appealing one.
But first things first. Next I must drive in to the Swiss mountains for my show in the mountain town of Saanen.
It feels funny to me to think I have been to Italy 5 times to perform now. It feels like only a short while ago I was boarding a flight for my 1st trip.
However this tour was a first for one reason. I was driving myself this time. I had driven to Italy via Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Czech Rep, & Austria. Already this tour had been rolling since June when it kicked off in the UK.
I had been on the road in Italy for nearly a month by the time of my final performance. It was at Rive Jazz Club which was located close to Vicenza.
This was my 3rd performance here and the owners and staff were their usual friendly selves.
The audience were bustling collection of people and the more mellow songs would have got lost so more focus was put on keeping the set upbeat.
New songs Bugscope and Decide have become pride of place as set regulars. However I remain nervous about playing the other new material and chose to leave other new songs out tonight (again). A part of me feels this is a weak decision but I must move forward with caution when introducing the new songs. My confidence drop is always evident (at least to me) when playing the new stuff live.
Less than a week after getting off the boat from mainland Europe I have my 1st shows back in blighty starting out with a mellow acoustic set tonight in the NW London suburb of Pinner, followed by a fully plugged in set tomorrow in North London.
Following this there will be some time taken out in order to have all equipment serviced that I used on tour. But there will be at least one more performance in December in the city of Stevenage (Dec 5th). But as things stand that maybe my final performance of 2014.
The first set was a true test of sticking to my guns as I felt the vibe in the room reach the limbo of keeping of losing the attention of the room. A lot of people were still eating there meals despite me starting pretty late. But because of this I kept the songs more downbeat until the end. Then of course folktronic hellfire did come. 🙂
But by the 2nd set the whole atmosphere of the room had shifted to a more mellow place. The staff had dimmed the lights and people were seated and ready. I felt very welcomed and dared open with a new tune with another 2 later on. It was simply one of those sets you travel for weeks longing for.
Following the performance I was given an in-depth lecture about the wines of the area and I really understood the level of their passion for the subject.
I also had the chance to check out the inside of the villa the following day.
The building itself was grand and prestigious. However the artwork inside was detailed and in-depth.
One of those moments for me that reminded me of the hidden joys of being on the path I was on. I am rarely aware of the tourist path and every once in a while to stumble onto it gives me a bonus feeling to that of the music and gigs. It’s good to distance from all that from time to time.
From here I was off next to Vicenza where I would perform the final show in Italy. From there I would head to Switzerland.
The drive from Orvieto to Treviso was very many hours. It was welcomely interrupted when I stopped in Perugia for a jam session with Andrea of Zero Call as well as 2 of his friends Luca and also Andrea.
We jammed for a couple of hours and I decided to play the drums. There was a kit set up and another guitar added to the mix seemed overkill. So I banged the skins with limited ability and we had fun making noises collectively.
Following the jam session I went for a coffee with Andrea and we reflected upon not just the tour but our show together in Rome. Andrea had helped me to get some of the bookings on this tour and it was the 4th time we had worked together bringing me out to Italy. It was a warm farewell from both of us as I begun the long drive north.
I decided to take a chance and skip out taking the over inflated toll roads north. This made me nervous because according to the map I was literally Driving in the ocean. Luckily as it turned out the drive was over some massive bridge and I avoided getting too friendly with the fish a little longer. By the time I was taking the bridge it was 6am (as I had been driving through the night. The sun was just rising and the view was something to behold.
I slept in a layby for a few hours and completed the drive later in the day. I was parked and slept again outside the venue until I was woken by the manager of the venue telling me it was time to set up. He said he had to bang on the side of the van for a couple of minutes before he heard signs of life. I think I was really zonked out.
I played for about an hour or so and once again felt the warm welcoming support of the Treviso Crowd. This was my 3rd time to play Eden Cafe and I was so happy to see many familiar faces back once again.
Truly grateful to the locals and the management for their continued support. My good friend Alessio came to the show too. I played his birthday party in the Italian mountains earlier and have felt his enthusiasm for my music since we first met when touring New Zealand back in early 2011. He was on his way to the airport and decided to make stop off for some music en route.
What a legend!!!!
Next stop for me is Maser. This time only an hours drive instead of several.