A hot night singing in Brussels

A hot night at Celtica in Brussels, I’m thankful for the airco!

 

Just another Saturday evening for this busy solo singer/guitarist. My working day commenced at 7pm and had to load the car with my guitar, my backpack of cables, my portable mixing desk, and a little monitor. The tom tom on my iPhone was set to arrive at Celtica in Brussels, right bang in the centre of the party district downtown! We are right in the middle of the summer at the moment and an average daily temperate in the mid-20’s is pretty hot. Night time gigs can be quite relaxed with people wearing shorts and light clothing and generally being more chilled out about things.

I begun my night to a moderate audience, not so busy, but the connection was immediate. With an opening set of a few irish songs, I got the audience hooked. Granted part of my gig was quiet to start, I enjoyed it immensely. The people were enthusiastic and friendly, and not a single rude person was in the building. Sometimes when i play Celtica in Brussels, I tend to have sound troubles, feedback/buzzes that sort of thing. I took the liberty of bringing my own Allen and Heath Zed fx 10 with me to the gig and my FBT jolly monitor and had a beautiful sound. To be able to hear oneself so clearly makes it a pleasure to perform, and carry all this gear two hours in the car from Delft and lugging it with a trolley from the carpark is so worth it, in my humble opinion. If something tends to make me feel that little bit better, I tend to do it, as really its all in the best interest of the performance and the gig result.

The gig in Brussels was a success my the measure of the audience and my own self worth. It went well, and I’ve been practising some performance techniques that I’ve been working on recently: keeping in the zone and practising the art of giving instead of making a performance all about the artist, yeah most of the time you’re entertaining the people, and that’s what a performer must remember every single night and practise is like a meditation. The audience were a slight mix of young 20 somethings and a little older drinkers (expats) sitting at the bar, these guys really enjoyed the irish tunes.

Back in Brussels next month, see you then guys!

5 of the best Irish pubs in the Netherlands

Being an Irishman, living on the continent and travelling around with my acoustic guitar in hand and singing songs, one cannot avoid what is known as “the Irish Pub circuit”. One cannot escape it, by means of hatred or of love or from simply missing home or for getting work, I’ve seen quite a few. This is my little review of my favourite Irish Pubs in The Netherlands for anyone paying this little country a visit!

 

5: O’Shea’s Irish Pub, Eindhoven

In the large student city of Eindhoven is a popular night spot on the weekend.  Having played there with a cover band on many an occasion I recall it having a lively atmosphere, good craic on the weekend when they have LIVE Rock cover bands, a packed bar and lots of singing and dancing. The bar staff are quite young and not the friendliest i’ve met in my travels, but I guess most are students and don’t really care about hospitality. Worth a visit when in Eindhoven on the weekend!
Check out the facebook page for O’Sheas Eindhoven.

4: O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub, Groningen

A little irish pub made famous by it’s tiny living room quality and vibe. The owners husband and wife have been running the place for years and have developed a friendly family run business. They have regular live music, of all sorts from cover bands to sing-songwriters to trad irish music, but always on a weekend and mainly one night a week. I played and stayed over a few times and Groningen is buzzing city, the crowd can be mixed in the pub, but the craic is great!
Check out the website for O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub, Groningen.

3: The Wolfhound Irish Pub and Kitchen, Haarlem

The newest pub to the circuit in Holland, but by no means the least in any way. Another family-vibe run pub, that has a big keen interest in live authentic music and a kitchen serving the best and tastiest pub grub you’ll find around. The pub itself is quite unique in it’s own as they have a basement cellar which is where they hold the live music every weekend. I absolutely loved it when i was there, and if you sing and play the guitar and want a gig, the live scene is fantastic in Haarlem. Definitely worth a visit, if for the food alone! Check it out! www.thewolfhound.nl

2: Mulligans Irish Pub, Amsterdam

Mulligans is like a little piece of Ireland right smack in the middle of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities – Amsterdam! Everything is authentic there, from the few locals, the irish that come visit, the musicians that pass through on weekend tours, almost everything. They all in total make up an atmosphere that if all else just comes close to being in Ireland. I love getting asked to play in Mulligans, it’s always good fun and you never know what kind of a crowd is gonna walk in that door, that keeps it exciting.
Check them out http://mulligans.nl

1: Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub, Rotterdam

And taking the number 1 spot in my list of favourite Irish Pubs in The Netherlands is Paddy Murphy’s in Rotterdam. Proprietor Dan O’Donovan had his head screwed on when he opened this place up. Rotterdam is a working and tough city, and it’s hard to make things work, but he made a piece of Ireland in there with Cork charm surrounding the place and creating something appealing to all walks of life in Rotterdam, to a 50 year old fishing fan who visits west cork once a year, and to a young bouncy party mad student staying in Rotterdam for the city: they all seem to love the place! For me it’s like a second home, I perform mostly on the famous Bingo Monday parties, where all the students come, get drunk and party like its the end of the world! Paddy Murphy’s proudly boasts live music 7 nights a week and he has been continuing this for over 15 years in total! all i can say is wow!

I hope you enjoyed my little review of these great Irish Pubs. Do remember that every establishment is also just 4 walls, and the people in it are what make the atmosphere, so be nice! And see you on the road somewhere or sitting at the bar having a pint!

 

Irish pint, guinness, irish pub

 

 

Brian’s "BREXIT" Irish concert with Fjelljom

The Norwegian tour/Irish concert with Brian Clifford & Fjelljom Choir

Thursday June 30th

5am was when it all began. Waking up in the darkness to a cold sweat from the couple of hours sleep I had the night before, was not one of my most fondest moments. I had an early train at 6:30 to catch to the airport, and was suffering for the last 24 hours from some kind of flu virus. I tend to get colds a lot, it’s a big negative for a singer, but it happens unfortunately. One can try to protect themselves from all infections but yet when you’re stressed and low it comes and hits you hard. A flu virus with a fever on the other hand is not something I get often. My temperature was soaring up and down in the hour and every hour, going from too hot to too cold and I was getting more and more anxious about how the hell i was ever gone make it to Norway.

Most of the time a singer/guitarist like myself sings in pubs/clubs and cafes and tours around entertaining people. It ain’t a bad life.. but for many a business that live music is an extra. If you can’t make it to perform for some reason, the world won’t stop turning. This of course doesn’t help job security so much, and cancellations are unfortunately a harsh reality. My planned Irish Concert with Fjelljom choir in Røyrvik in Norway, which had been prepared for and planned for months now was about to go Live on July 1st. The choir had been working really hard up there, and this was gonna be a huge concert in the town hall, where people were paying an entrance fee of €20.
I knew in my heart this was one gig I couldn’t cancel and the fighting Irish Spirit had to step up and take control! And that he did!
I packed my bags the previous night with enough paracetamol to control my fever and strepsils for the sore throat that i was most worried about. I also packed enough fruit and snacks for the long trip ahead to keep my blood sugar level at a manageable level, as this was gonna be work, and work needs energy doesn’t it?

Time for this Irish Singer to catch his plane to Norway

7:30 am I arrived at Schiphol airport and immediately checked in at the KLM desk, which was of course a machine that took my suitcase someplace far away! This time I was taking a new airline as i wanted to fly direct to Trondheim airport. Most times I fly around scandinavia I use SAS (Scandinavian airlines) but this time was a new experience with KLM. The dutch airline company are not the cheapest, they do however provide a very good city hopper service to city destinations all over Europe. I was delighted to board the plane promptly with my guitar in it’s hard case and on my back, and not have a single argument about putting it in the luggage locker, they in fact requested I did.. 🙂
One hour into the flight, I was provided with a little slice of cake to munch on and the offer of whatever drinks I wished. Sensibly I requested water and orange juice… the more fluids the better, I was sick after all.

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Having touched down safely at Trondheim airport i remembered my train was a mighty four hours away.oh god what to do? I had pre-booked the ticket and it seemed the flight from KLM and the train didn’t match up. Luckily for me there was a hotel though, a Radisson Blu not far from the airport. I walked it with my guitar and suitcase and went for lunch. The place was simple enough, but had food and coffee and very fast wifi, so I watched a good movie while basically “hanging around”. About 4pm I walked to the train terminal and waited outside to help control my fever, I was hot and I needed to keep cool. The train arrived about 15 minutes late and was fairly packed with suitcases and baby prams and such. I had to walk through the carriage with a pouring sweat before i could get to my reserved seat, and had to lift the weight of my luggage over all that was in the way blocking my path. On most days a pain in the ass, this day I found it a challenge indeed.

Waiting for a lift to Røyrvik

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My good friend Bernie picked me up at Nammskogen station by car. I nearly missed the stop as i was dosing in and out of sleep and had my earphones in. We had an hour or so drive to get over the Børgefjell mountain to reach Røyrvik village.
When we arrived at their place, i was greeted by Vanessa, an 8 year old polish girl who lives across from Bernie and Lynn, she asked in her best english “can you play the guitar?” I really had to disappoint her and say tomorrow… I was feeling like utter crap.
I spent the next few hours chilling out and chatting with Bernie and his fiancé Lynn before heading to bed for what was to be a good 12 hours to try and kill my virus.

Brian Clifford Irish Singer/Guitarist

Day of the Irish concert with Fjelljom

Friday – Concert day had arrived. My alarm was set for 12pm and i awoke sort of refreshed, I had slept, i was also awake a lot, but the best thing was the fever had gone, and the voice, although not 100% healthy seemed like it could do the gig. After a shower and some food it was time to have a rehearsal with the choir in the hall downtown. This was sort of a short dress rehearsal and it went surprisingly very well. The sound man was there and he tested everything, and the choir practised their entrance with me and also we practised some songs. I left the session feeling optimistic and hungry, it was dinner time, back to the house we go!

Irish Singer/guitarist Brian Clifford with Fjelljom choir in Norway

Irish Singer/guitarist Brian Clifford with Fjelljom choir in Norway

19:25 I met with the choir again, we were to begin at 20:00 and this was the warmup time backstage. There were some oohs and hmmm sounds and various funny noises going on, which all warmed up the body and the mind which in turn helped the voices of everyone there. We all got a bit loose. The opening song was Whiskey in the jar, where I strummed back stage, the choir sang an intro and walked through the hall onstage. I followed on with my guitar and got onstage and plugged in. It was a big opening! Following a short speech by one of the choir members, i played a few solo songs alone and then went backstage. The choir then continued with some other songs they had been rehearsing and i later joined them again for another 4 songs, before the grand finale! The audience loved the whole show! If i said it went without a hitch id be lying.. there was mistakes, but they were covered up and went unnoticed. Whats important is to not focus on those things and just play and keep going. This was the first time in my life i ever sang with a choir and I felt “empowered” having 13 people singing in full on harmony behind me!
Time for me to do more concerts!

 

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21:00 – I had another gig to follow on from the concert, and this was in the local Hotel. There was a bar there and a PA setup ready for me to do my usual “pub thing” and entertain the locals. I played for the people, just like I do in any european Irish Pub!

My friends came out, and they brought their friends and everyone had a great time dancing and singing and drinking! I ended the evening with a little nightcap and got some shut eye for the next gig, planned for 11:30 on saturday morning.

Saturday, the main day of the Bærflækkdagan festival

2/7/15 – 9am
Alarm bells were ringing again and it was time to rise and shine. Today was the main day of the festival in Røyrvik and i was doing an outside concert for the open day at my friend Bernard’s factory Børgefjell Skinn. Those guys have an impressive little warehouse where they make Moose (ELK) skin into all kinds of clothing products from baby slippers to hats and gloves and coffee bags. Bernard had the whole day planned, an opening with me singing and dancing with the giant moose and some flyer handouts around the festival to bring the crowd. He showed movies about the village that he made himself and that filled the place. I’m guessing they sold quite a lot as well. We ate ElK burger that day and I got a little power nap after the days activities.

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My night off, and time for this Irish man to party with the local Norwegians!

7pm – The förspel (for pre-party) In Norway alcohol is bloody expensive, even for the Norwegians! How do they still have fun? before any party they have a pre-party at some friends house where they all meet up eat snacks, joke and drink lots. Then when well-oiled the hit to the party, and when the party is over what’s next ? the after party. A lot of parties for one irish man in one night. It was lots of fun and surprise surprise we all woke up sunday without a hangover! Myself, Bernie, Lynn, Ane and Cailin went walking through the mountains and got to the beach where we barbecued hot dogs and ate and drank coffee.
Good memories will last forever!

 

I made the paper in Norway!

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Irish Singer/guitarist makes the paper up in Norway

I kind of felt like a bit of a celebrity when I came across this on the internet.  It’s not often one gets in the paper but when you do it’s nice to see. In the picture i’m standing with the Fjelljom choir in Royvik whom I will sing with on July 1st at a very special Irish concert. I’m really delighted to be asked for this, as 1. I’ve never sang with a choir before and 2. this has brought me to see my friends in Norway and see the beautiful nature and scenery where people live.
The really cool photo was made by my good friend Bernard O Sullivan, a very talented photographer and very fun guy to be around. He is also owner and director of his own company Bosphotography, that specialises in all kinds of photography right through from weddings and portraits up to band photoshoot and models.. you get the “picture”
Bernard was hired by the choir, to do a photoshoot for the promotional material for the concert. As it also happened the same cool photo was used by the local paper up there to help promote the weekend festival and the concert. I’m chuffed.

If you feel like reading in Norwegian you can read more about the event from the photo I’ve uploaded.
Till the next time, I’m off to catch some sun!! x

 

 

The "Norwegian Wood" Tour 2016

The first Norway tour for Irish Singer/Guitarist Brian Clifford

On Thursday June 2nd I began to depart on my first trip to Norway. For many years now I’ve been shuttling up on down between Amsterdam Schiphol and Copenhagen Kastrup airport. From there I would play all over Denmark by train from one end to the next. You know I still love doing that and love Denmark, but the time had finally come, where I needed a change and I thought I should make a trip to Norway, and that I sure did!

My port of call was Trondheim, (though I aint a sailor I’d be flying 🙂 ) Trondheim city has this very fun selection of international pubs there with live entertainment. They have an Irish Pub, a Scottish Pub and of course an English Pub, and that’s where I was to be playing for 3 nights – The Three Lions English Pub. After a connecting flight in and out of Oslo airport I finally arrived in Trondheim airport, one that was supposedly built by the Nazis to help with the Norwegian invasion. Well it’s a good thing they left it behind! Norway is full of many mountains, lakes and lots of tunnels, so I’m glad I could reach the North by flying.
My view from the window seat, which I always take (easy to sleep, and I can enjoy the view) was amazing. As I was about to land, I made many pictures and videos on my iPhone. The landscape is green and rugged and the mix of blue really makes it picture perfect. What can I say Norway, I’m in Love!
The plane landed and I picked up my bag, went to look for this mystery bus to the city outside. Well it was no more a mystery than finding my shoes in the morning. Norway like it clean and straight forward thank god for that. The big blue bus that said SAS on it and Shuttle to Sentrum in Trondheim was clear enough for me. The friendly driver even asked me where I was going and informed me of the stop, then took my heavy suitcase and guitar and gently placed it in the luggage compartment below. What a service!
The bus swept it’s way on the windy roads from Trondheim airport, passed the scenic view of the beautiful Trondheim Fjord and into city centre. The walk to the pub lasted approx 5 minutes phew! Ok less, ok it was around the corner.
I walked into the Three Lions, introduced myself, checked out the stage and what kind of system i’d be singing through, and thought this will be a good gig. After that I got some food and had a nap.

The hotel I was staying at had a gym on the top floor, and both Thursday and Friday I made it’s acquaintance. I went for a 30 min jog after dinner to get my blood pumping and clear out the cobwebs in my head, luckily it worked. My first night in Trondheim although a bit quiet was rocking, the people were mad into my music and a Norwegian woman also told me I reminded me of her late brother who also played and sang. She showed me a picture, and scarily enough I did… There was a group of lads, I guess they were student sitting near me who were mad into the Irish songs and loved singing along and making their presence known. They were good fun! All in all it was a great first night, the weekend was set up and I’m ready come get me!

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Friday came, and my good Irish friends Bernie and Lynn came down from up north to see me. They have been living in Norway now for two years and were delighted to come visit and hang out for the weekend. Bernie is the man for the photographs, he is a professional photographer at Bos Photography and also part owner and director of a company in Norway called Børgefjell Skinn,  that makes clothes out of Elk skin, and ships worldwide. They are both doing pretty well for themselves and I’m very proud. In October this year they shall get married, happy days ahead for these two! We spent the afternoon doing a walking tour around the city for a cup of coffee. Our guide was Ane, a lovely Norwegian girl and friend of Bernie and Lynn, and they were also staying the night over at her place. Ane showed us all the sights and I quite liked the big church and made some pictures of that. I think she was a bit embarrassed by Bernie and me and, the “Bernie and Brian” reunion was kinda loud and noisy, we laughed all the way around the city.
We ended our afternoon together with a barbeuqe and Ane’s house and I met her brother and we all had a good laugh together up overlooking Trondheim Fjord. Diligently I got the bus back into the city so I could have a rest and a run before the gig. I did exactly that and was ready for night No2!
Friday night kicked ass in the Three Lions! There was a great responsive crowd that were singing and dancing all night long. My friends came too and upped the enthusiasm even higher. All in all I think everyone had a great night out, and were demanding more at the end.

On Saturday my friends were a little bit hungover and tired so I chilled in the city on my own. No big deal as I’m on tour on my own anyway.. it was good to detox and have a bit of solo time. I strolled around the city and made some pictures and got to see a music festival where I caught a few songs of a Norwegian Band that were playing there own music, it was sort of Jazz/blues. The girl could sing man! and boy could she play guitar, made me weep, she was making Rory Gallagher move in his grave, and making me wish I practised more often.
The night time came, I skipped the run on the treadmill this time and got some dinner and had a sleep instead. One has to chill don’t they?
Saturday was even fuller than the night before in the Three Lions Pub! It took a bit of a slow takeoff, not so crowded when I started, but when I did my last set the place was packed! There was a great mix of young and old people singing along to my songs! I had a fantastic weekend tour in Trondheim and I’m sure I’ll return at some point!

My last two days in Norway I was gonna spend with my friends in remote Røyrvik up the North and about 4 hours in the car.
We left on Sunday afternoon and Bernie drove the whole way, with a short stop in the middle for food and toilet of course. The view from my side was fantastic, I kept making some time lapse vids and pictures for my instagram page, there was so much green and nature around I felt this really needed to be captured for when I’d return to Holland.
I met most of Bernie’s family that lived there, and got a little tour of the village. I even got to buy my daughter a little Moose teddy!  We didn’t do too much for the rest of Sunday except ate some pasta watched a movie.

Monday, we had big things planned. First on the agenda was Fishing on the family lake. Bernie brought me out in a canoe onto the lake and we did a bit of fishing. We unfortunately didn’t catch a single one, but the trip in the canoe was the excitement i needed! I’m a newbie to water adventures and have a fear of drowning, I also can swim but fear that If i cant touch the bottom, my fear of drowning might inhibit me from swimming.. strange person I am, yes i am. We reached land at the other side of the lake, and Bernie made a fire and we ate some soup and Reindeer meet, it was almost like we were camping!
We had to get back for late afternoon, and we hurried back at about 3pm to get cleaned up for the Evening. At 6pm Bernie was doing a photoshoot with me and the Fjelljom Choir

Brian Clifford Irish Singer in Norway with Fjelljom Choir

Brian Clifford Irish Singer in Norway with Fjelljom Choir. Photoshoot by Bosphotography.

They needed a good promo photo for a promo poster for the gig in a few weeks where I will join them. After the photoshoot I had to do a rehearsal with the choir. The day was jam packed and fun, We got lots done that day I tell you. And singing with a choir was also a fun and interesting experience. The gig with them will be exciting on July 1st.
Monday night ended with another movie at Lynn and Bernie’s and we all slept soundly.

Rehearsal with Fjelljom Choir and Brian Clifford Irish Singer/Guitarist

Rehearsal with Fjelljom Choir and Brian Clifford Irish Singer/Guitarist

Tuesday came and I must be honest I was a bit sad to be leaving. Of course I missed my wife and little girl, but I felt I had such a wonderful experience up here and had such a great time with my friends that I felt sad. If only the holiday was a bit longer, I’m sure you know what thats like. Maybe i should describe it as disappointed more than being sad?
Anyway I’ll be back in a few weeks to sing with the choir, and do a solo gig on my own in the village up where Bernie and Lynn live, so till then!

Ghent is Beautiful, Love Belgium!

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Blog update 16/5/16

I’ve been doing lots and lots of gigs lately, so I feel like this blog has been a little neglected. One who lives the life of a travelling musician should know that the many hours of travel, the late nights, the fast food diet, the sometimes sleeping on couches etc can leave a man want only one thing: SLEEP! And yes I got some, so here I am!

Denmark has been my temporary home for a lot of tours the last few months, and it’s been rocking. The live music scene is booming up there in pubs all over and I’m so happy to have a foothold there. In April I played for two weeks in The Old Irish Pub in Aalborg in North Denmark, where I had lots of fun nights. It was a blast! After Denmark I got back to Holland to play most of my usual gigs around the place, like my favourite Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub in Rotterdam and a new venue Cafe Pursers in Rotterdam also was really cool. Live music in Holland is by no means dead, it’s just there are lots of people living here and not so many gigs I guess in proportion.

My last weekend I did a great weekend of gigs in a really beautiful Irish Pub, called Patrick Foley’s in Ghent, Belgium. I had a fantastic time there. The food was great, the Guinness was great, the staff were very friendly and helpful and the audience rocked! what more can this travelling troubadour ask for? I had a stroll around the city on my Saturday afternoon, as is a new habit for me I like to get a look around and feel like a tourist of sorts.. I found a cosy little belgium cafe where I indulged in a Lungo (double espresso) and a heated scone, which sure pepped me up and recovered me from any indulgence in the Guinness the night before! The craic was had, songs were sung and my weekend ended at 1am Sunday morning. I broke down my PA, packed it in my Peugeot and set the TOM TOM for Delft, my home away from home. First thing though before I took off, I opened up spotify and got some driving music ready to keep me awake for the 2hr night drive  – a bit of Ben Howard and some Kings of Leon! Oh yeah and i turned it up and sang along too like a mad man hahaha. Happy days as I now enjoy normal life sitting in Delft! Till the next post!

Living life out of a suitcase, thanks for the upgrade!

I’m spending my life out of a suitcase these days. My last one broke and took an upgrade, more space and easier to move. I live life moving, always moving is my motto. This month I’ve been all over Denmark playing nearly a fortnight of gigs and had a 2-day stop over with my wife and kid to yet again catch another plane. I’m happy to say this time I went to Ireland to see my family there and had a short holiday while also celebrating my fathers 80th birthday.

I’ve learnt from all this moving, you gotta find your anchor, find something to pin you to the ground either emotionally or sometimes even physically haha if only just to remind you of real life. Travelling is a stress of its own and we all know that aint good for the body.
Speaking of stress and what it does to the body, I’m very sensitive to noise. All that travel on trains and airports can make you exhausted when you get to your destination. I decided to treat myself at Amsterdam Schiphol airport to a pair of really expensive noise cancelling earphones made by Bose. So far I’m very happy with them as they cancel out the low frequency rumble of the airplane engines, and you can hear your music easily. Of course it’s still possible to hear voices around but a bit softer and I find this a plus.
Needless to say, my journeys across the danish railway were somewhat more comfortable with my new Bose Companion.

The reading list feature in Safari on my iPhone is a fantastic feature for the travelling knowledge-curious gypsy like myself. I’m always finding interesting articles online that say hey i must read this, and I simply save to my reading list tab, and then i can also read it offline on my iPhone on the plane. It’s fantastic and has saved me a lot of time by catching up with my reading on the go. Or course being a father of a 20 month old means sleep sometimes take priority… but i’m gonna keep optimistic about this handy feature.

Back to my suitcase, i need to unpack since Ireland, and then pack again for yet another danish tour, this time it’s for St Patricks weekend in The Old Irish Pub in Esbjerg in Denmark. It will be 3 nights of madness and I’m counting on a good time, i’ve never played Denmark on March 17th so I’m curious how it turns out.

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.