Thursday, November 4, 2010
OCTOBER 25-28: AMSTERDAM, AMSTELVEEN + DEN BOSCH - Rockin' in the free world
We said goodbye to Tobias and moved onward to Holland, where we had a few days off before our show in Amstelveen. And boy were we delighted discover that Amsterdam was just a short bus ride away from our hotel. So immediately after checking in, we walked over to the stop and waited.
After two buses drove past us, we finally hailed down the third and started our journey. Fifteen minutes later, we were in Leidseplein, and Ade excitedly exclaimed "Hey - I've been here before! This is where I spent all my nights when I was here in August working with Tom Trapp!" (If you don't already know, Ade is going to be performing "e" in its entirety with the Metropol Orchestra in February, lucky dog).
He immediately directed us to a little Italian spot called Peppino's, which he warned wasn't the best, but we were all so famished that it didn't really bother us that we were going with a safe choice.
Afterwards, we walked off dinner a bit and strolled into Biblo's, the bar he visited just weeks ago.
The lovely Celine took care of us there, and at about 11:30 we decided it was time to catch the bus back to the hotel. As we got to the bus stop, we saw the elusive 197 pulling away. Adrian and I instinctively ran for it, chasing it down the block with arms flailing until it finally stopped at a red light (not that kind, har-har). Panting, we banged on the door, and the grumpy mustachioed driver slowly turned to us and shook his head. We paced back up to the stop and waited for the next twenty minutes, where no less than two more 197s sped right on by us. Defeated, we splurged for the 30 Euro taxi... it was just too darn cold to be standing out there, and we feared a bus would never stop for us.
The next evening panned out pretty much the same way, save for the mode of transportation that John and I took to get into town - this time we shuttled it to the airport, where we took a train to Central Station. And guess how much that train ticket costs? $4.20... teehee.
We had made plans to meet Adrian back at Biblo's at 10, so we had three hours to wander about and find dinner before heading to Leidseplein. We walked around confidently for about an hour, until we came across an all too familiar complex - Central Station. So realizing that we were traveling in circles, I looked despairingly at John and suggested "let's please eat before we try and figure this out again." We re-traced our steps and made the proper turns this time, and after about ten minutes we stumbled across a Thai place. John turned to me and said "Well, this looks like us." Holding my stomach, I nodded emphatically and we entered the colorful, cozy, little restaurant. Eating being the most important thing, I barely glanced up from the menu for the first two minutes and zoned into what I would have immediately - green papaya salad. Once we put our order in, I observed the place, and saw that the kitchen was somewhat viewable to the diners. We knew we were in for a treat as we saw two older Thai women chopping away, prepping all of our food to order. To start, we shared some shrimp spring rolls, which were quite unique as they were simply tender jumbo shrimp encased by crunchy wrappers - no cabbage, no filler at all.
For his main course, John had a mixed stir fry with long beans, tofu, mushrooms, and chiles.
It was all very delicious, and we even finished our meal with the rest of the family, as they sat down for their own dinner as we picked at the remnants of our over-sized entrées. Now full of necessary energy, the walk to Leidseplein seemed much more possible now, and we made it to Biblo's in a little under a half hour.
We had another great night there, this time with the addition of the pleasant Tom Trapp and Celine's twenty-year-old uncle Lukas. We retired somewhat early to ensure enough sleep, and we smartly hailed a cab without hesitation this time - we had a show the next night and didn't want to have to cancel it because we'd transformed into popscicles out on the cobble stoned street.
So the next day was pretty relaxed, and as we got back from breakfast, we found a new drummer checking into the hotel - Mr Marco! Soon after that, we met Felix, our new best friend for the next five weeks (AKA bus driver) and left for the gig, which was in a nice club called P60 in Amstelveen. We started setting up for soundcheck, and all of a sudden everything started going horribly wrong. Adrian's rig wasn't reading his midi, my transformer wasn't functioning at all, and I blew up the power supply to my Eventide Pitchfactor because I'm a dumdum and didn't see that it couldn't handle 220v. Ah, I can still smell the burning.
Finally after hours of nail-biting drama, everything seemed to fall into place - my transformer was repaired, a new power supply was built for me, and Adrian's gear was magically working. Whew - what a close call!
The show went pretty well, considering we hadn't played together in months, and the next day we drove to Den Bosch for a gig at a lovely venue called W2 Poppodium.
Of course we had to stop for food first, and we found a little luncheonette that had really good, quick food. I had a monstrous mixed green salad, which was nestled under oozy honeyed goat cheese rounds . Yum.
Ade had some tomato soup, which I had almost ordered as well, but the random ball of meat bobbing about its surface prevented me from doing so. Marco had the gooeyest (that's a word, right?) cheeseburger I've ever seen in my life. And it was no wonder - when we glanced into the open kitchen, we could see the cooks cutting thick slices of Old Amsterdam and Gouda to order before broiling them onto various sandwich fillings. Amazing! And of course, Marco has a great affinity for sweets (which is not the worst addiction one can have I suppose), so he ordered an apple crumb cake... the remorse is posed, trust me:
So we arrived in Den Bosch an hour later, completely satiated and elated to see the cool club we'd be performing in that evening.
Sound check went much smoother that day, and after a nice little Thai stir fry prepared by the club's chef, Marco and I decided to go for a little walk. We went down to a nearby canal and through a some cool town square, which was bustling with beautiful people on that Thursday night.
I looked at my watch and realized we had just twenty minutes until show time, so we agreed to head back to the club. We re-traced our steps, going a slightly different way, but we made it back to the canal, made a right and soon started to panic as our surroundings started to seem very unfamiliar. We turned back around, went down a few blocks, and I just kept glancing nervously at my watch and my phone, trying to take deep breaths. Marco finally flagged somebody down, and asked for directions, but the poor guy was from out of town. We nervously paced on, figuring that we'd have to go to the nearby train station and hail a taxi. We were about to start running to the station, when we heard we heard a whistle from behind us - the man we had just seemingly bothered stopped two men walking a dog and inquired about the club's location for us. Imagine that! The one restraining his pooch smiled and pointed into the air "Ah yes, there's a great show happening there tonight..." Marco nodded, "Yes, yes - that's us!" His friend quickly interjected "Heyyyyy there'ssss a grrreat coffeeshop on the wayyy..." Marco and I just shook our heads, "No - we have to be on stage in ten minutes!!!" The other started to give us instructions, when he cut him off again, "But the coffeeshop's right therrrre. Great coffeeshop." Clearly this gentleman had spent too much time there that evening. We finally got the directions (we had been going the right way all along - d'oh!) and hightailed it back to the gig with two minutes to spare. We went to the back door, which was of course locked, so we just started banging furiously. No one answered. Without hesitation, we ran around the front, pushed past the people in line, and squeezed our way through crowd, and climbed onto the fairly tall stage (which was easy for the long legged Marco, but a hilarious struggle for me). Panting and sweating, we found Ade calmly tuning up in the back. We tried to explain between breaths, "we're... so... sorry... got... lost..." Ade looked up and shrugged, "It's ok, we still have twenty minutes - they pushed the show back." Ay carumba.