Denmark: land of Lego and live music lovers

Denmark is an amazing place.


Having just finished a fantastic 9 day tour I’m gently reminded of why I love this country so much and keep coming back to it to play. The Danes love to party, they drink and dance till they fall down, and that might just sum them up..lol what a great place for a traveling musician..
My tour here in Denmark begun in one of my favorite cities Odense, the 3rd largest city in the country. For two nights I sang in The Old Irish Pub in the city center. What a party!!! The people there are great Craic and I always love to come back. I jammed for 4 hours with the in house bodhran champion Mr David Needham, we had a great time. Also playing on both nights was Kevin Rotherham from Derry, lovely fellow and roughly the same age as myself and we got to hang out for the weekend.
Sunday saw me take the train to Copenhagen where I was to port myself for the next 5 days. I had the night off of course so what better way to spend it and go out and hear other musicians play right? I went to check out the listening Room Sessions based on a recommendation from my colleague Daithi Rua, I had the best night out I’ve had in a long time. The level of talent at this night was incredible.
Monday through to Wednesday I was playing each night in the Scottish Pub. A nice little pub near the city hall in Copenhagen center. The nights were long but fun, I met some amazing people at these gigs and filled my tip jar..so I guess I was doing something right. Right ?
Thursday took me to The Victoria Pub. This was really cool, the whole venue was newly refurbished and very spacious and the audience was fab. It was an international crowd so the mix was to my taste. Jamie behind the bar was his usual friendly and helpful self, a polite English man, and kept me filled with Danish beer for the night.
The last leg of my tour started with a hangover.. Oh god the Thursday night I went out after my gig with a few friends and I got to see a new nightlife in Copenhagen I never knew existed.. The late bar kind. After too little sleep I got on a train to Fredericia where I played for two nights at den Engelske, the English pub in the town.
It was a wild weekend out there, the audience was appreciative and friendly, an older than usual crowd compared with what I had all week in Copenhagen but nonetheless I made the most of it. I went down a hit as I usually do!

As I write I’m currently waiting for a train to get to the airport. I’m traveling business class tonight yipeeeee.
Till the next blog. 🙂

New starts have their ups and downs

Things have been looking good, and progress was obvious.
I was getting a new image, new website and new business cards, and was revamping my position in the music scene.
I have to admit I was quite buzzed by all of this and with that came a burst of energy, I rekindled my love for songwriting and started to get more exercise outdoors again, I was feeling immensley enthusiastic.

I was like always preparing for my weekend of gigs, managing a few to-do lists and getting things ready. It was Thursday morning and i woke with an ache in my throat, i felt really hoarse. The burst of energy i had the day before had subsided into the dark side.. i wasn’t so happy, i knew this would have implications.
I was due to play in The Old Oak, Brussels on the coming Friday, but my stomach was literally giving me a warning that it wouldn’t be a good idea. Feeling crap and driving 2 hours in a car and 2 hours back when i should be keeping warm in bed was what i needed.
I listened to my voice of reason. I cancelled Friday and the whole weekends gigs.

Saturday i woke, with a full blown flu, i was sure glad i didn’t go to Brussels the night before.

My sunday night special valentines day gig in Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub also needed to be cancelled as a precaution.
A gig I was especially looking forward to, some chilled out tunes in the front bar of the pub, where some romantics might be out sipping their glasses of red or whatever, and me singing my heart out for their pleasure. However my good colleague Ivo Gleeman was to be my sub for the night.

Now time to get well before i hit the road for my long Denmark tour.. exciting days and nights ahead.

Bingo,beer and yet another manic monday

Paddy Murphy's Bingo

Paddy Murphy’s Bingo

For years now I’ve been entertaining thousands of international and dutch students in Rotterdam. The city has a bunch of universities and colleges whereby they all seem to do one thing on a monday night, they go party in Paddy Murphy’s Irish pub in Rotterdam. Luckily I’ve become part of the furniture there, and hold the monday night as a semi-regular sort of gig.

It’s always crazy, I can never understand, maybe I’m just getting older like the rest of us, but this is young dutch people having fun at their fullest.

On the odd occasion there is a quiet night, but for every quiet night there is 10 incredibly busy ones. 

The place is packed, and they come for the bingo and live music atmosphere. The bingo is my interlude, I warm up the room to get them hyper and then they scream at the bingo host, usually the manager on duty at the time… and all in all is a great laugh. What else would you be doing on a Monday night?

Last night was no different to any other monday. I played my various mix of songs, a few songs by the Kings of Leon, some Nirvana, some old pop hits like “Hey there Delilah” even sang “Brown eyed girl” but then I played “lion in the morning sun” and the crowd started hopping, it’s a great song to play, with that fast ska beat on the guitar there’s always a crowd singing along.

My favourite part of the night is wrapping up my cables while there is still a party going on. I can relax and smile at the people in front of me, and know that I created this happy atmosphere and feel content with my efforts at entertaining. People are having fun, people are happy, I make people happy. 

Not a bad job description for anyone.

New year – means a new look!

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New year means for many people, different things, for me it’s time for a new look.
I don’t mean new in the physical sense, heck I’ve been looking like this for a while now, the long hair and the beard, but for sure in the online sense. And the marketing content has to be renewed and refreshed right across the web.

This meant a lot of work, I needed new Press photos, a new website, a new business logo, a new gig poster, even new business cards. Who would have thought being a musician was so much work… by the way when are we supposed to practise and sleep? and relax. Luckily there are some really good contractors out there, and having lived and mixed in different musical circles here in the Netherlands for many years now, I’m happy to say I know a few people.

And if you don’t, there is always the internet!

Belgian waffles and singing songs in the EU heart

I had once again a fantastic time playing in Belgium. This time I spent the weekend in the European capitol Brussels. 3 nights/3 gigs.

What a wonderful city, as I walked the streets it felt like I was travelling the world, the mix of nationalities in this city felt like a cocktail of every single human race.

I arrived on Thursday night to play in a downtown pub called Celtica in the centre. This place is crazy like you’ve never experienced crazy before. It’s always a fun gig and I always get a kick out of playing there. This time was no different, the crowd were screaming for song after song, and literally in one ear I had one fan screaming the lyrics of some song I was singing..

Celtica, an Irish pub with a difference was like always an experience. Go check their facebook page to see what i mean

https://www.facebook.com/Celtica-190357264342175/?fref=ts

Friday began with a really long sleep in. I was tired, I driven my two hour drive from Delft the night before, which is more than i usually like to drive these days, and the joys of fatherhood and being away for a few nights encouraged me to sleep in… till noon! wow.

It was a pleasant but chilly afternoon in the city, but I felt I needed some fresh air so out I went to explore the city like any good tourist.

My https://www.airbnb.com apartment though was top class and Julie was a great host, but you know it’s always good to see more than 4 walls.

I took to the streets, armed with my iPhone and google maps and bit of common sense, and went strolling.

I went in search of the famous “belgische frieten” Belgium Chips for us english speaking folk.. and oh wow delicious! A must for any good tourist. They sure felt like more.

Strolling around the city I made some nice photos of the Grote Markt, and looked in a few shop windows, and had a local beer.. tourist heaven.

After a power nap and a shower, it was time to jump in the car and get to my next gig at Michael Collins; https://www.michaelcollins.eu

I’ve played here about 3 or 4 times so far, and I really like it. It’s a contrast from Celtica but nonetheless a pleasant environment.

The staff are extremely helpful and friendly, and that shows in the general atmosphere in the building, a pleasure to be a musician for the night.

The gig went better than expected and I even made some tip money for singing a few requests.. nice.

Saturday came, and it was my last few hours in my Airbnb. I had one more gig to do, but unfortunately I never booked a room as i planned to drive home after the gig.

My plan was to be a tourist for the day and that’s exactly what I did.

There was a cool festival on in the city and I got to see some really amazing Belgium bands doing their soundcheck. It was the Brussels colours festival, and it seemed to be aimed and creating more unity in the city, following on from the bad publicity they had in recent months over terrorist threats.

You know people, life goes on, you gotta keep moving and do your thing and enjoy your life the way you want it.

Guess what I had to eat later that day? yes indeed Belgian chips again oh they were amazing..

The gig was a rocker in Celtica, the place was packed, I had a bit of a cold but pulled my way through it and I had tons of people coming up to me after the gig telling how much fun they had.. – Maybe I should find a way people can review my gigs? any thoughts?

I left the venue feeling satisfied, full of adrenaline and ready for my drive home, but first I was a bit sugar deprived.

On the way to the carpark I passed this tiny little waffle shop. The smell was infectious, I couldn’t help myself I went for it.

I enjoyed a delicious belgian waffle with chocolate sauce before I started my car!

Happy living!

B

Welcome to my new website!

BrianClifford-1037

Welcome to my new website!

It’s been years since I’ve had good marketing content. Being a travelling musician constantly on the move has it’s disadvantages.
It’s sometimes hard to get things done, and follow on with your goals, or maybe you know maybe I’m a chronic procrastinator.. 🙂 But hey things are getting there, and I finally got around to marketing and promoting myself like it should be online.

Firstly I’m very grateful to have Richard Beukelaar in my contacts list for making some fine photos, he is a true artist, and a general easy going nice guy. Secondly my good friend, musician colleague and talented bassist in our collaborate project Most Wanted has helped me out by creating this fantastic looking website! I’m very proud. Go check him out as well on his personal website.

I have many plans for the future with this website, such as blogging my travels and posting my original songs online and for sale for those that still buy music out there. The world is changing folks and we must move with it, as soon as I get something I can call “decent” recorded, it will be everywhere including all the streaming stores and for sale at the usual places.

Watch this space…….