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Hit The Road, Wasp!

24 Feb

To quote great Australian songwriter Don Walker, “I measure my position to the obstacles we crossed, the territory covered and the parties that we lost. Those were the days.”

Here is a small selection of photos from 10 different countries and 5 different tours, both solo and with Sean M. Whelan & The Mime Set, Water Music, Remarkable Shipwrecks and Lady Danger.

I think the photos show that, more than the shows themselves, touring is about the people you’re with, the fun you make and the amount of crap you have to carry.

The Last Dance, or Final Tour Updates

15 Jun
Image
Tour update #23: This song is my tour obsession! I’m home straight off the Paris to Berlin sleeper train and my body is still feeling a loooooooong right-hand curve. I must give a huge thank you to all my hosts: Petronella Pflaumenstein, Boumchaka and Le Nimby, Celia Wagenfuhrer, Sylvain, Sam Rasschaert and Salla Lahtela, Oscar, Denis Quélard and Eric for the great gigs and couches and wine and conversations.
Tour update #22: This morning, the Loire Valley skies were leaden, filled with rain and the air smelt like woodsmoke and blown roses. Later, the sun pushed through and I saw the broad river Loire running unusually high and fast, too dangerous to swim in. I saw the indigenous windmills of wood and pale yellow tufa stone, sentinels over the poppies and the low, yellow wheat.
Tour update 21: Dusk. Wandering in Don Walker’s steps “on Rue Île Saint-Louis”, I hear the most glorious singing from a blocky grey building. Of course, it’s a spectacular church and Friday night is full gospel service with 12-piece choir, live band and gooseflesh-inducing vocals from a Jean Carpenter. Went dancing into the night to eat Roquefort by the Seine and met a flute-playing Wizard under a wing of his *butterfly bicycle*. Last drinks at Pop In.
Tour update #20: Last night in Paris. Great time with Irene Wareing. On an otherwise serene Seine cruise, our self-appointed and inebriated “tour guide” exclaimed, “Look! Look! That’s where Diana crashed in the bridge!” Tonight I am contemplating dinner at “Saint Meat” followed by drinks at La Feline.
Tour update #19: Doing after-show shots with my mother at Pop In. That is all.
Tour update #18: Breakfast in Montmartre, then directed some American rockband looking for Jim Morrison as I headed for Edith Piaf to ask for a strong voice for tonight’s show at Pop In with This is Avalanche. — at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise
Tour update #17: Paris. That is all.

Tour update #16: Oh Brussels, I had a great time but I can’t take your emergency sirens seriously. They seem to have added vibrato which makes all emergency vehicles sound like a robot child running behind you making “scary” ghost noises. Also, I will never diss lacemakers again.

Tour update #15: I have no sense of direction in Brussels. Well, I was warned. However, I had an awesome plate of Muamba when I eventually found the Matonge district, plus some shopping at the St Gilles street market.

Tour update #14: Walking in Ghent, we saw two little boys forcefully herding a tiny black and white cat – “KAT! NEE, KAT!”. As we passed, they stopped us and, in hard Gantoise dialect, said they thought, because it had no collar, that maybe it was a lost cat so they were keeping it off the road. They pointed to a child’s handmade missing cat poster nearby but said they didn’t think it was the same cat because the cat in the poster was purple.

Tour update #13: From the pre-show dinner, this idea needs venture capital and a documentary immediately, Sam. Drunkle.com – short a drunk uncle at your next wedding/christmas/christening/sauna fest? Drunkle.com will compile a profile of your desired drunk uncle traits (including interviewing said relatives) and send a substitute drunk uncle to your event. Pelvic thrusting? No problem. A vast knowledge of football “songs”? Easy. Tie as ninja-style headband? Obligatory. Incoherent speeches? Our specialty.

Tour updates #5-#8

31 May

Tour update #8: Yesterday involved a scoop of banana sorbet, two new friends, a 14y.o. Chardonnay/Savagnin blend, a new song, a headful of ideas and a very good band in a very sweaty cellar. Today involves busking and an overnight bus to Brussels. Thank you Strasbourg!

Tour update #7: Slow busking day but I did get a lesson in extracting tourist money from the original Gold Mouth Woman, a wonderful withered Roma Dame who came to me and indicated that I had an OK voice but needed to ‘work it’ more – she sang to me this amazing song of longing and suffering. With her eyes, her voice, she suffered and loved the suffering. She touched her heart and then stretched out the cupped hand as if offering her heart. Then she said, “Shit spot. You need to go by the Cathedral.”

Tour update #6: Wonderful Strasbourg hostess (and skilled whistler) in *fairytale* Petite France district and a profitable busking session today including selling CDs, jamming with local street musicians and pissing off the local busking mafia. Tonight, flinty Alsace Pinot Gris and further wanderings.

Tour update #5: Great show last night in Thionville, but it was so hot my thumb kept sticking to the back of the guitar neck. I started outside, singing on the street and got a hug from the bar owner at the end. Today a festival in Metz and then onto Strasbourg.

Album Launch

13 Apr

Album News

cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

first look at full cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

I just got the artwork for the album back from my wonderful graphic designer, so I’m all set for getting the album pressed into shiny digipacks. There’s a preview. What do you think?

I’ve decided on two Berlin album launches – an intimate club show at Heroes Neukölln (Friedelstraße 49  12047) on International Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (be with you) and a Sofa Salon house concert for my birthday on May the Eleventh. Then I’m out on tour. Check the current dates below.

Please have this free Bandcamp download of debut rockabilly-flavoured single ‘Dancehall at Louse Point’ to help me celebrate the record’s release or just listen to the song.

Tour Dates

Apr 24, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Club der polnischen Versager – ANZAC Eve: Berlinerin Aussies & Kiwis w/ Sandra Serala & Lavender Drake & Kate Camp

Apr 26, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Ufer Cafe – Wasp Summer & Lena Tjäder w/ Lena Tjäder

May 4, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Heroes – Wasp Summer at Heroes

May 11, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Sofa Salon – Wasp Summer Sofa Salon Album Launch and Sam’s Birthday

May 26, 2012 – Thionville, LOR (FR) @ le Nimby – Wasp Summer’s ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 6, 2012 – Paris, IDF (FR) @ Pop In – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 9, 2012 – Blaison-Gohier, PDL (FR) @ Eric’s House – House Concert for Eric’s Birthday

Jun 22, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ PANDA Theatre – Berlin COMPASS: Summer Edition

Jun 29, 2012 – Hamburg, Ham (DE) @ Makrele – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 30, 2012 – Kiel, S-H (DE) @ Gaby’s House – Wasp Summer in Kiel

Music that moved me in 2011, Part One

18 Dec

2011 has been an intense and revealing year personally and politically. Fulfilling my promise to myself, I finally made a solo record and toured Europe this year. Companions on my journey were the intense and revealing visions of women like PJ Harvey (on Let England Shake), Kate Bush’s many voices (on 50 Words for Snow) and Kimbra (Gold Ring from Vows).

But I’ll highlight some of the underground music I’ve been exposed to for the first time in 2011. All of it has given me grist and inspiration. Click on the artist name for their website and the song name for a place you can listen, download and/or buy.

Sailor Days – Species Counterpoint from Sailor Days
Biddy came and played a Sofa Salon in Berlin for me this year, performing with Ned Collette. I had the pleasure of singing Laura Jean‘s vocal parts on three songs. This record is meditative, creatively textured and absolutely beautiful to hear. Probably the underrated album of 2011 for my money and something I hear often on my mental radio.

Jenny Hvalblood fight from Viscera
Jenny, from Oslo, is one of the genuine live-and-breathe explorational musicians, whom I met in Melbourne when she was with Folding For Air/ipanic. On tour, Matty B and I saw her at the Operahuset playing an hypnotic piece she’d composed for a dance performance. She’s moved way beyond sensual experiments in pop to blisteringly original heartsong driven by her inventive guitar and keening voice.

El MadrigalHow Can I Miss You from Statistics
So many songs to choose from on this bitey roots rock record. This year, I had the great pleasure of sharing a stage with El Madrigal twice in Stockholm and seeing them again in Berlin. Ola Karlsson played and wrote with Brisbane’s country rock stalwarts The Gin Club and retains his musical soul, intellect and authenticity here. He’s got an incredible ear as a lyricist, musician and singer and has added two great, empathetic co-writers and musicians in  Eric Lindstrom & Tomas Sundin.

The Unthanks – the Testimony of Patience (from 2009)
This Northumberland folk group inhabit an out-of-time musical space, mining bedrock sounds and stories and bringing them up to us without a hint of dust, fust or the creak of age. The song link is a Guardian video. Their new album celebrates Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons.

The Gypsy CurseMaydelle from Ten Years North
I spent a weirdly synchronous six weeks over Summer touring Northern Europe with Matty Barker from The Gypsy Curse in his solo guise as Water Music. Introduced online by Mark Steiner, we had both come a long way to be ready to play our music and were rewarded with kindness, time in twenty-two cities, incredible people, astonishing evenings and enough food for our souls to make what followed possible. What followed for him was getting married to the lovely Beth in New York, recording The Gyspy Curse album in a cabin in Sweden and a sabbatical in Texas. They’re playing in Australia now and Europe in 2012. You should really see them.

Australian Tour Thank You

28 Nov

My great thanks to everyone who made my Australian Tour possible and amazing. Here’s a wrap-up: http://bit.ly/ue1srI

For Love and Mayhem Tour 2011

20 May

Next week, I start out on a massive adventure. I’m on my first European tour with Matty Water Music, a funny and talented guy that I’ve never met, mostly going to places I’ve never been.

I am SO excited! I’ve given up my day job and I’m throwing myself on the talent and resourcefulness I possess to try and be a full-time musician. This is all I have ever wanted.

There has been an incredible amount of work since January to pull this tour together. We’re still confirming some new shows which makes me nervous and exhilarated together. I can’t WAIT!

The FOR LOVE AND MAYHEM TOUR 2011 wouldn’t be happening without the support, contacts and friendship of various folk including Mark Steiner, Ola Karlsson, Louise McVey, Eric Eckhart, Dora Schneider, Guy Dale and Dimi, Lisa and Sofy. Thank you also to Felipe Ubilla for the AWESOME poster.

Here’s the dates. Keep an eye out as there may be more to come:

May 26: Joe’s Bar, Berlin (DE)
May 27: Des Geiger’s Raetsel, Leipzig (DE)
May 28: Die Buchbar, Dresden (DE)
May 29: Musik Nonstop, Dresden (1:00-2:00) (DE)
May 29: Veränderbar, Dresden (DE)
June 2: Oslo (TBC) (NO)
June 3: Sofa Salon, Oslo (NO)
June 4: Musikkfest, Sound of Mu, Oslo (NO)
June 9: House Concert, Turku (FI)
June 10: House Concert, Tampere (FI)
June 11: House Concert, Helsinki (FI)
June 12: Bar Loose, Helsinki (FI)
June 15: Fairbar, Aarhus (DK)
June 16: Cafe Retro,Copenhagen (DK)
June 17: Southside Cavern, Stockholm (SWE)
June 18: House Concert, Stockholm (SWE)
June 21: Fete de la Musique, Berlin (DE)
June 29: Pop-In, Paris (FR)
July 1: Edinburgh (TBC) (UK)
July 2: 13th Note, Glasgow (UK)

I’ll be blogging our shenanigans via Facebook, Reverbnation, MySpace and this blog. Please invite any friends you have in towns along our tour and email berlinsofasalon [@] googlemail.com if you want to come to any of the house concerts, many which were organised through Couchsurfing.

Wish me luck.

Love,

Wasp Summer
waspsummer [@] gmail.com