The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 6 "Vienna schnitzel is actually Hungarian"

Nach knapp fünf Einträgen geht es nun auch bei The Miserable Rich auf das Ende ihrer Tour und damit auch ihres Tour-Diary zu. Vier Termine in Mittel- und Süddeutschland und in der Schweiz stehen noch auf dem Programm, dann kehren die Engländer auf die Insel zurück. Vorher lassen sie uns noch einmal ausführlich wissen, was sie so erlebt haben.

Day 12 – It’s lovely, can we Steyr?

With Jim Briffett now safely returned home due to work, laundry and general hygiene commitments, we’ve decided to share out the blogging between us, so you may find a certain inconsistency of styles over the next ten days of tour blogging. Be assured, dear reader, the humour will remain at a consistently low level.

The hotel in Salzburg is well known for it’s good breakfasts and coffee, so taking a break from the snooker World Championship we’ve all been following on Eurosport, we all managed a bit of fruit, some strong coffee and croissants (originally an Austrian invention, we are reliably informed, just as Vienna schnitzel is actually Hungarian, and our own fish and chips is a Polish-Jewish import – eat you heart out Stephen Fry).

Buoyed by this nourishment, and having really enjoyed a jog in Nüremburg, I (James here, hiya!) got myself together to jog through Salzburg. It’s a great way to see a bit of the cities we pass through so quickly, trying to burn off some tour fat, listen to some new music and get a little bit of solitude. We all get on very well, and are supportive of one another, but moments alone are few and far between. I managed about an hour round the picturesque old town, stopping from time to time to take snaps of the city and beautiful chestnut blossoms which line the river, and picking my way through the smartly-dressed Saturday morning Austrian families to buy a couple of hats for me and my roomie Mike.

Back at the hotel, Mike and i play catch with an orange in our new hats, waiting in the hotel garden for the rest of the band to emerge. This must be the most physically active we’ve been in weeks.

We’re all excited about our return to Steyr tonight. Last time we were there, we had a wonderful night and dared to go swimming in the river that features on the cover of the new album. We were told it would be ‘refreshing’ – one of those euphemisms people love to the unaware when talking about icy cold water. Well, we fell for it and you can see us in all our glory in the ‘dying men in a Turkish bath’ photo shoot we did last year.

But, hang on- suddenly everywhere is beautiful. The drive from Salzburg to Steyr takes us through some of the most stunning landscape imaginable while on view from a motorway. Giant, craggy mountains cup wooden-housed villages, clear lakes and meadows in full Springtime bloom. We stop at a service station next to a lake, stumbling down to the fields to take some snaps, Rhys and Will subsiding into quiet contemplation at the natural beauty, Mike examining the flora for anything that might add flavour to an omelette or bit of pasta. The Austrian hats make us feel like we are in a postcard, and Will has started to resemble an Alpine farmer in shorts, stout shoes and rolled up socks.

In Steyr, the hotel is not open til later, so we go straight to the venue. Röda is a kind of alternative youth club coated in greenery, flowers and graffiti. It has a kitchen, a bar/café where we played last time, a big live room at the back, seven dwarf style bunkbed accommodation up top, and sundry other function and rehearsal rooms. The wonderfully warm staff great us like family, and point to the posters they’ve knocked up featuring the album cover prominently displayed.

The club sits on a promentary stretching out to where two mountain-fed rivers meet – or according to the locals, at the point where they kiss. We head down to the riverbank to re-enact to cover photo and see if it’s still too cold for a swim. It is.

Still, it’s a time to revel in how fortunate we are to be back in this beautiful place.

After a spot of rehearsing our new song, we worry a bit about whether there’ll be enough people coming to justify the big room. Nobody really makes a decision, so it looks like we’ll chance it.

The food at Röda was great last time, but this time they blow us out of the water, instantly taking first place in the tour food league (sorry Dresden!). The father and daughter chefing team toil contentedly around us as we play cards, drink beer and banter with the (confusingly) five musicians of the Bernhard Eber Trio. When they serve the food, it is exquisite – fresh buttered asparagus (it’s spargel season, so there have been ample opportunities for spargeling repartee, er, which we’ve missed), followed by green beans wrapped in bacon, potato en croute in mint-cream sauce and stuffed, unbelievably tender pork fillet. The amiable but shy daughter then slays us with her pear cake and dark chocolate mousse cake. She’s just about 11 years old, but she’s gonna give a lot of happy people heart attacks by the time she’s done if this is anything to go on.

The food sets up a wonderful evening. A good crowd arrives early enough to see the B.E.Trio, warmly applauding them, and by the time we take to the stage there’s about 150 people. They are obviously pleased to see us, and when I hold up the album cover on stage, there are whoops of delight. They’re a wonderful crowd to play to, and we have a lovely time with them, with Bernhard Eber joining us on trumpet for Poodle, two encores – five songs in all – and a first go at the new song. Not just ‘a good one’ – a ‘best’ one.

We teeter backstage and drink with the lovely locals, getting ridiculous flattery from soundman and local music impresario Mike, taking photos with the B.E. bunch and getting through absurd amounts of alcohol.

Back at the hotel, Mike and I sit up til silly o’clock trying to make robot conversation through the jaw’s harp. We just don’t want to let go of the day.

And so……

Day 13 – Vienna – this means something to us

The next morning has a little mournfulness in it. The deep booze hangover – and I do feel sick the whole journey – but also the natural emotional balancing of the books the psyche undergoes after a high like last night add up to a sombre mood in the bus. But there’s more.

We also realise that comrade Jim will be leaving us tomorrow, and we’re all a little sad and unsettled by the idea. Even the weather has turned, and the sky is drizzly and overcast all the way to Vienna.

We decide we need to give Jim a good send off – and also welcome Ricky, who’ll be replacing Jim for the remainder of the tour, to the lifestyle he’ll have to become accustomed to. He’s emailed that he’d been keeping his liver in a barrel of ale and syphoning vodka through his kidneys in preparation.

We pick up Ricky and get beer and brunch kebabs before going to the hotel to rehearse with him in the big room he, Jim and Rhys are to share – the designated ‘party room’. The beer helps the mood – though we are all a little tired. Jim and Ricky are big boys and good men – there’s no ego-tripping, arm-wrestling or one-upmanship, and a retelling of Jim’s awesome air-guitar championships story rids us all of any awkwardness.

We leave the hotel for the club. Liverpool are playing Chelsea today, and it turns out so are we. The Chelsea club is in an arch under the subway. A legendary punk fixture in Vienna, by day it is full of people in English Premiership shirts watching the matches. We have been warned of the sound of trains overhead, and of the rather too forthright soundman. In the event, neither of them are much trouble, and soundcheck is fast and effective.

We go to dinner and meet the Vienna Songwriting Associaion team promoting the night and our Austrian booker Tom. Klaus, V.S.A. boss, recounts tales of the Chelsea’s punk history and we dine on mixed grills and schnitzel. Lots of friendly, familiar faces and too much food, again.

Back at the club, we saunter through the marijuana haze and urine smells, trying to liven ourselves up for a Sunday night gig. I fall asleep as the boys play cards. Klaus asks me if I’m in a good mood – I must look as bad as I feel. Can’t go up there like this.

I manage to scrounge an espresso from the monosyllabic barmaid. Well, she doesn’t seem to mind if I make it myself. Three shots late and I’m starting to feel like I could talk to a crowd.

Then we head into the live room – it’s a cavern, and it’s rammed. There are a few familiar faces, and lots of people smoking away expectantly.

We take the stage to great cheers, and though they steadfastly refuse to waltz during Somerhill – this IS Vienna afterall, don’t they all waltz everywhere, punk club or not? – they are a magnificent audience and make us play well. Ricky joins us onstage for two songs – a great initiation – and Bernhard for one more swansong.

We all agree that two encores featuring five songs is getting a bit out of hand – but we are just so delighted to play for people this enthusiastic about our music. We pack up, happy that Jim’s last two gigs with us have been stormers, pick up some more booze and head back to the party room to send him off properly.

Day 14 – Graz the way, uh-huh uh-huh, we like it (uh-huh uh-huh)

It’s a painfully early start, as Jim needs to get to the airport, and we are doing a breakfast radio show on Austria’s premier indie radio station, FM4. Carsten and Jim drop us at there, and there is a bit of hugging and ‘do a good one’ing. We’ll all miss him – but we’re all glad he will soon have fresh socks and pants. Very glad.

Up in the radio station, we are a little surprised that the presenter is British. He and his co-presenter are very welcoming, but clearly moving at a much faster pace at this hour than we can manage. We are introduced to the radio-listening public, with Ricky saying ‘Hi’ when introduced as Jim, meaning that Jim gets the surreal opportunity of listening to ‘himself’ live on the radio while driving to the airport.

After the show, the DJ (Stewart?) shows off his rock and roll credentials by telling me I should have sung ‘cocaine’ not ‘champagne’ in Chestnut Sunday. He immediately blows it again by asking if Brighton is still full of the ‘blue-rinse’ brigade. We fondly part company amid and promises to hook up when we return, and grab a coffee with Klaus from V.S.A. before Carsten returns to pick us up and drive us to Graz.

At this stage, we are all a bit jaded, but during the journey we bring Ricky up to speed on some of the tour games we play. A-Z, weetabix and general punning nonsense are all tour staples.

We’ve never played in Graz before, but Will has some great memories of the city as a dance music hotspot after a visit or two seven or eight years ago. We’re also all very curious to meet Michael, Carsten’s new boyfriend, who is promoting the gig tonight, and will be looking after us.

When he turns up, he’s obviously really keen to make everything go right. I tease him a little, telling Carsten in a stage whisper that he’s clearly very good looking, but surely a bit old. Michael takes it well – he’s younger than me and Will so he should do – and trots us off to an all-you-can-eat Asian buffet, where we all try not to eat too much and imagine how quickly Jim could put the restaurant out of business.

After a wander through the lovely town and a violin-string buying expedition, we go to our pension – a kind of rural family flat, two minutes from the venue across the square. We get a bit of downtime, and are delighted to find the snooker final on the tv and a wi-fi internet connection.

We amble to the venue at sixish, across a square full of lots of stuff happening for a Monday night. Seems there’s a week of Lent festivals going on, and there are bands, capoeira dancers and people bustling about in the warm blossom-scented evening. Graz the way to do it!

The club is small, as an apologetic Michael keeps telling us – but charming and pretty funky. It’s an exposed-brickwork cavern again, but much smaller than last night, and a lot cleaner. It comprises two arches below a cool bar/restaurant, with the playing area in one, and an underlit bar in the other, with a giant tv screen to watch the proceedings from the other room. We are immediately offered beer.

Michael really is trying to take care of us – our instruments have been brought in for us. Wow. Graz amazing!

Unfortunately, this means we don’t at first notice that Rhys has lost his gig bag, with £300 worth of kit in it. He’s already lost a towel and a jacket – it’s turning into an expensive tour for him, but he takes it with his usual good humour.

Soundcheck is a bit of a nightmare, with people coming in from the bar to watch as if it was a gig, and a lot of pressure on time. It’s a bit unsettling, but after some lovely dinner, we’re ready to go – and it’s a sold out crowd.

They are wildly enthusiastic and it’s a really fun gig, everyone pressed in together with a palpable sense of excitement among the students and pretty young things. I ask them if they are really cool guys before we play ‘Shades’, and the answer seems to be a resounding ‘YES!’. We play everything at a million miles (1.69 million km) an hour, but Ricky does a great job in his first gig with us for a several months.

Afterwards, the boys practise they’re rendition of Three Blind Mice with the merch bells, before Carsten confiscates them to sell a record two whole sets. Now Graz salesmanship!

I do a bit of a radio interview before whisking myself away from all the crumpet to make a long-needed call home, as does Mike before falling asleep in front of the snooker. Will, Rhys and Ricky hold the bands end up (in the most gentlemanly of ways, of course), drinking the local speciality plum vodka with the locals at a bar round the corner til the early hours and generally bringing about their own demise. Graz just about enough of that then.

Day 15 – In need of some serious Alp.

I am woken by Rhys groaning in the bunkbed above me. For the first half hour, all he can muster is a few noises and a lot of headshaking. Plum vodka plum done him in.

Today should be our day off, but we got a last minute offer to play in Innsbruck, which is difficult to pun and also has the advantage of being about halfway between Graz and Wednesday’s gig in Vevey, Switzerland. It’s still a long drive for Carsten, but means we’ll get fed and accommodation for the night. We pile into the van for the first 5 hour drive in this absurdly well-planned tour. Good job Carsten.

The boys occupy themselves with the usual tour games between long bouts of sleeping, as we pick our way through more outstanding mountainous terrain. The views are impeded by high clouds here and there, and it’s raining a bit, but now and again the stunning backdrop let’s itself be known and it is truly ‘super awesome’, as Rhys would say.

In the back seat, I sit back and fight of the sweats in the stuffy atmosphere. The only windows are at the front of the van, and with three big chaps ahead, the back seat has it’s pros and cons. Space, no air.

I’m trying to get through the copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables my girlfriend gave me, and it’s a great story but quite a tome. I get through about a hundred pages between sleep and long, darkly lit tunnels. it’s not such a hard journey considering the time.

We arrive at the venue in Innsbruck, and it’s an eerie old guesthouse that’s clearly seen better days. It’s been turned into a kind of culture house, but it’s obviously down on its luck financially. The promoter is nowhere to be seen, and none of the other staff are talking to us, so we wander about exploring the building.

The house itself has a sense of abandonment about it, and it has a bit of ‘The Shining’ in spirit. Everything is falling apart a little, and there’s a sense that the party moved on some time ago, leaving the stains, the brickabrak and the rain.

The room we are to play in is pitch black, and has no p.a., but about 25 mismatched chairs. Behind the stage, there is a puppet-making workshop, adding to the strange vibes. We’re all hoping we won’t have to sleep here – although it could be good for ghost research for the next album.

The promoter arrives with beer and snacks. He seems friendly enough, saying he’ll be back in an hour to take us for hot food – and promptly disappears for three hours. Left to ourselves, we brighten up the atmosphere with a beer and the boys learning some gypsy jazz together and swapping instruments but playing them the same way – Mike has a guitar under his chin, Ricky the double bass on his lap, Will the violin between his knees and Rhys trying to play the cello standing up.

A guy called Didi delivers a vocal p.a., (it’ll be mostly acoustic tonight) and friendlily regales me with stories of the club. Turns out it is how it seems – on the verge of bankruptcy – and he admits it’s a weird place, with weird characters and a very real sense of weirdness. Have I made that clear? It’s a weird place, right?

He also warns us that the promoter is a nice man, but ‘a very chaotic person’. Yes.

With twenty minutes to doors and no sign of the promoter, we go through to the restaurant to order some dinner. At first misreading what we think is the menu, we realise that it’s actually a price list for all the, yes, weird paintings on the wall. We start looking at them, a bit freaked out by the Barbie doll torsos and anguished daubing, before realising that the old couple across from us are staring at us. We suspect one of them may be the artist, and quickly set our minds to ordering food. This takes time – the waitress doesn’t seem keen – and the promoter arrives just before the food does, saying he’s cooked for us. Oh.

He says he’ll go and cancel the food and disappears again. Later, the waitress brings the food we ordered. No-one knows if this is a good thing or not, but we eat and head to the gig.

The room is still empty, but the returning promoter suggests we get on with it. We agree, and suddenly there’s about 20 people there. More weirdness. I have a little chat with them, and they join in with gusto – and, what do you know, it’s really nice evening. The old couple from the restaurant even come in halfway through, merrily chatting away through the second half of the set.

After the show, we talk to the audience. The old guy informs us ‘his woman’ is indeed the artist responsible for the paintings in the restaurant, while shaking our hands vigorously with a vice like grip.

We also meet some people from Munich who, having seen us in Hamburg and missed us in their hometown but told friends to go, have driven an hour and a half to see us tonight. We trade idioms and they draw a big heart on the van window as we head off to sleep. Aww. Thanks guys.

We are staying with Helinde in town. She has an amazing flat, with a multitude of curios pouring out of everywhere we look. She’s well used to bands staying with her, and we join her for a schnapps before retiring to bed, fully unweirded.

Was bisher geschah:
The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 1
The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 2
The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 3
The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 4
The Miserable Rich – Tour-Diary Pt. 5

The Miserable Rich auf Tour

06.05. ZÜRICH | Papiersaal
07.05. STUTTGART | Wagenhallen
08.05. FRANKFURT | Brotfabrik
09.05. SCHAFFHAUSEN | TabTap

Youtube direkt

Myspace // Label


Comments are closed.