Erin Here ~~ Let's see, Where did we leave off last....hmmm...so much has happened. End of Wales...Playing at the Monmouth Festival has seriously got to be one of the most amazing, challenging and surreal experiences in my life. I have played/performed before in front of, say, a couple hundred on election night 2008...but...playing in front of a few thousand is pretty awe inspiring. I had to really focus on enjoying myself, the band and experiencing the songs (every friggen time...I swear...I play Jordon, I think of Jordon intensely...I play Amsterdam, I visualize Amsterdam...I re-live every moment inside every song to the best of my concentration and ability) and not just kinda gaping at all the people staring at me and tripping out that little 'ol me from Westport, California is playing the songs I most likely wrote in front of my cat in an apartment in SF in front of all these Welsh people out there staring at me.
My dear Ryan came to Wales and joined me for the rest of the trip and it has been so nice to see his warm face. Ireland was beautiful and moving and full of magic. Staying with relatives for the first 2 nights in Dublin was so cozy and fun...then a pub crawl through Dublin with one of my cousins, Malcom...then an escape to the countryside with Ryan where we saw more precious relatives (it is so touching...and honestly a little sad to connect with these people...some in their 80's...then leave...hoping to come back soon...before...well, they cackle and laugh and hug me and say they might not see me again because they have a foot in the grave while I get teary eyed...lets put it that way...they are much more realistic)...
We traveled through Cahir, Doolan (actually staying in Lisdoonvarna-outside of Doolan and MUCH radder...the matchmaking capitol of Ireland...so up my alley), and finally Gallway where I played a last show surprisingly on the main stage (rad), opening for yet another pompous covers band at 11:30 pm (not that rad... why are cover bands the rock stars of Europe?)...but gleefully escaping the noise with Ryan after to a dark, romantic, stone masonry little wine bar for a rose and pear tart at 2am...whats better than that?
Oh the food. I'ts all local, fresh, and oh-so-delicious! We ate mussels with baby crabs still in them (Ok that was pretty hardcore and I think that might have made my tummy a little upset), oysters, crab, smoked salmon, brown bread, brown bread, brown bread, creamy, salty, pure butter, tea, cream, cheese and onion crisps, the BEST fried potatoes from the Shamrock Lounge (owned by distant cousins), salted and bursting with flavor so complex they needed nothing else on them... and the people...it takes a while to get used to the honest, sincere good intentions of the people I have met. No motives...no hustle...just sweetness (except for the slagging, but that's pretty funny too and meant in all affection...I was really honored when a cousin Patsy after I gave her a CD said "Well, if I don't get in touch with you after listening to this, you'll know why" tee hee)... it will stay with me forever. This trip has been so amazing, on so many levels... thanks to all of you for your love and support, and we'll be home in SF so very soon...love you all, and we can't wait to see your smiling faces once again. :-)
Allright! So we've been here in Holland for a few days now; we've played some gigs (and a house party), seen the sights, enjoyed the architecture and cuisine, and had a great time. On Sunday, we all met up in den Haag (about 30 minutes south of Amsterdam at our friend Soren's apartment), and played a party for Maren's (Joe's wife's) birthday! The party was super fun, as some of Soren's musician friends were in town (Soren's roommate, a violinist, plays in a Piano Trio with two Russian musicians, and they were all in Holland for some performances.) We played a short set of our tunes (with Tony on "Pots and Pans") and then the visiting musicians got out their fiddles and played some folk songs. There was dancing, singing, romancing, and general merriment as cultures collided. Quite the party, indeed. :-)
The following night, Monday, we played at The Last Waterhole in downtown Amsterdam, and it was a good gig, though (surprise surprise) the room was remarkably smoky. And then last night we played at CC Musiek, a venue across the street from Erin's friend Ilse's apartment, where we're all staying. CC Musiek is very cool, and the music they program ranges from Gypsy to Folk to World Music to Singer-songwriters and beyond. And of course, at the end of the night, it turned into a jam session with some of the other musicians on the bill, and yes, we played and sang Creep. And Don't Stop Believin' as well. And then there was the Jamacian dude toastin over Joe's accordion improv as the crowd provided the rhythmic back-bone... awesome. So, yeah, there were many adventures, great shows, good friends, and quality memories, but alas, we must continue on our merry travels... next stop, Wales and the Monmouth Festival! Onwards!!
So we played last night at one of the coolest venues ever: Schokoladen, which used to be a Chocolate factory, and is now a classy little club, dark and smoky, mysterious and funky, with a dash of danger… maybe that’s just the pilsner talking, but a Good time was had by all. Very authentic, very Berlin, tre kool. Such a lovely audience, and the clubs treat you SO well... we're sad to be leaving Berlin, but the tour continues! But first, as an example of how awesome the people in Berlin are, when we walked in the door this afternoon, the woman who booked us for the gig here at Schokoladen asked, “Do you have a place to stay tonight?” We said, “Wow, yes, thanks for asking! Yes, we have an apartment, but that's so cool of you to ask!” And She said, “Okay, have you had dinner? Can I make you a pizza?” And we said, “Yeah, we love pizza! Please do.” And so, 45 minutes later, She brought out a pizza that defies description. It was presented in a pizza box of normal depth, but imagine your arms stretched out as wide as they can be, and all varieties of flavors were represented inside on one continuous, remarkably wide pie, from veggie to mixed grill to meat lovers (euro style) to pure cheese… it was amazing. We can only assume that there was a giant oven in the back somewhere that can accommodate such an exceptionally lengthy pizza. Delicious. And the crowd was über-appreciative, we drank all night for free, they paid us well, and everyone was happy. We also played "The Hitchcock Suite" and Erin's friend from Norway, Heidi, recorded it for us; above are a couple videos of our performance. We are particularly enamored with the silhouette of the gentleman dancing in the foreground... It was one of those cozy places with little nooks and crannies everywhere, where you never know what might happen on a Victorian couch when a stranger gives you a little smile… we love you Berlin! Can't wait to come back!!
xoxo, The Brazillionaires
Joe here~~ so this will be a quick post, as I just wanted to get my photos of the Eastside Gallery up here on the blog. The Eastside Gallery is a mile and a half of the Old Berlin Wall that has been turned into an outdoor mural gallery... very cool!
Here's a little blurb from the informational plaque at the Gallery:
"Between Schillingbrücke bridge and Osthafen, the political boundary to West Berlin ran south-westwards along the bank of the River Spree on the Kreuzberg side. The entire water surface belonged to East Berlin. The East German leadership had the barrier constructed above ground along Muhlenstraße. Here, you can see a part of the interior wall- now known as the East Side Gallery. In 1990, 118 artists from 21 countries painted the Wall here. This act, which would have only been allowed in West Berlin until then, gave expression to the joy widely felt at the falling of the Berlin Wall. The open-air gallery, which is 1.3 km long, is the longest stretch of the rear barrier to be placed under a preservation order in Berlin."
So we chilled yesterday, we toured around and saw the sights, johnny & tony & joey had an adventure, erin & dawn relaxed, and then we went to a Beer Garden and enjoyed the local offerings... of Sausage and Beer. Delicious! We met some new people last night as well, and today, wednesday, we played KaffeeBurger. The gig went really well, some of our new friends came to see us play, and we had a lovely time. Interestingly, the thing about playing in Germany is that bars and clubs are pretty quiet before 11:00, and the party doesn't really start until 1:00, so yes, people came out to see us and loved our music, but KaffeeBurger didn't really come alive until the DJ showed up. Cus that's what people want. KaffeeBurger was fascinating, because we played for an appreciative crowd, yet within 15 minutes of the end of our set, the dance floor and the bar were packed, so it literally went from a quiet speakeasy to a pumpin deutschland disco in a matter of seconds. Which was awesome. Seriously, imagine everyone enjoying their cocktails and appreciating the dulcet tones of Erin Brazill and The Brazillionaires in a genteel manner, then suddenly bodies flood the space, lights are flashing, the music goes up and up and -BAM!- it's a dance party. Fun! The new friends that showed up for our set stuck around at the bar, and taught us some interesting German phrases... ask us for the linguistic details if your interested. :-) Another fun night, indeed.
We're all here in beautiful Berlin!! Huzzah! The band is back together at last...
We played last night at "White Trash Fast Food," and the venue was great; there was a piano at the venue, so Joe was able to play that (and the accordion), Johnny on clarinet and slide, Tony holdin down the kit, Dawn rockin that Bass, Erin holdin down the fort and makin us all look good... and it was awesome. So they fed us dinner, gave us EACH five drink tickets, bought us all an extra round of drinks then gave us ten MORE drink tickets after the show, and paid us well as well. People really liked it, a great audience response, and a great vibe too. They fed us most Excellent burgers, and we, as Californians, know quality meat. Superaffentittengeil. And there was a sparkly and chipper crazy irish girl that glomed onto us and things got a little crazy, but no one got injured and we all had a swell time. The thing is, the venues treat musicians SO well here; you can tell that they really respect musicians and take care of them. And then to top it all off, on the walk home, we played and sang 'Creep' as we walked by the outdoor cafes, stoops, and apartment blocks: we got alot of happy cheering, singing along, and enthusiastic applause from drunken revelers on the street. Awesome good times.
So we're in east berlin now, and it's pretty groovy... very much like Amsterdam or SF, but German. Five things we love about Berlin: 1) The architecture is amazing. It's a blend of a) old Germany, b) the communist block (some of which is crumbling -beautiful- and some of which is refurbished), and c) bright and shiny glass and steel... and we're digging it. One finds these three elements in various combinations, and sometimes all in the same building. Beautiful. 2) The Beer. Mein Gott, the German Beer. So Otherworldly Good. 3) The Food. Döner, Sausage, Kraut, Kebab, Schnitzel, Tarts... Wow. 4) The appreciation of the arts. Music matters here. And the street art and graffiti is everywhere, and they don't wash it off or paint over it. Perhaps it's the lingering effect of the Berlin Wall and the tradition of painting on the Wall as political protest, but nobody cares about graffiti. It's everywhere, and it's beautiful. 5) The people are beautiful. Not only on the outside (which they are, northern europeans and all) but also on the inside. Berlin is different. It's tolerant, accepting of alternative lifestyles, it embraces the creative impulse in all it's forms, and it loves and supports the arts. So yeah. We love Berlin.
Anyway, today is Tuesday and we're exploring around a little bit, being tourists, seeing some sights, maybe doing a little busking tonight if we feel like it. Our apartment is very nice; clean and modern, not cluttered, very open and airy. We're all really happy to be here, and we're looking forward to the next few days and our upcoming gigs. sweet.
Having a great time, miss you all, and can't wait for our next gig tomorrow at KaffeeBurger. Fun times, indeed. Hooray Brazillionaires!
All right -- here we are writing our first Brazillionaires web post on our shiny new blog... we're getting ready to go to Europe for our Big Euro-Tour, starting in Berlin, swinging through Amsterdam, then on to Wales and Ireland!! We're pretty darn excited, as you might expect, and both Dawn and Tony are already over there, basking in the European sunshine. Erin and Johnny are flying over July 14th, and Joe will be joining the party on July 18th; then we'll all be together in Berlin, enjoying delicious food and drink in the morning, busking in the afternoons, gigging in the evening, and partying through the night! (Well, Joe will be at least. He doesn't seem to need to sleep, interestingly enough.) Then it's on to Amsterdam and the earthly delights to be found within that lovely city. We'll play a few gigs there, then it's off to Wales for a couple engagements, including one at the Monmouth Festival. So we'll be bringing our unique version of Vintage Swing Pop across the pond and into the ears of a whole new group of people... wish us luck! Off we Go!!
xoxo, The Brazillionaires