While the Ceramic Dog concerts were the major musical focus of my week in Europe, I did see several other live music performances while I was there.
On our last night in Paris, my traveling companion found a very cool little jazz club near the Bastille called Les Disquaires. We didn’t know much about the performers, but it was a free show and we figured we couldn’t go too far wrong. We ended up being very pleasantly surprised! The band in question was the Rodolphe Lauretta trio (Lauretta on alto sax; Damien Varaillon on bass; Ariel Tessier on drums) with guest musician Renaud Gensane on trumpet. I had a really nice evening drinking wine and listening to this quality jazz band. My friend Moritz Bichler had his camera with him, to give you an idea of the intimate atmosphere of the club:
The following day, we took a train up to Amsterdam, and within a couple of hours of arrival I was in my friend Rune’s car heading towards the Heineken Music Hall on the outskirts of the city to see Sigur Rós. I liked the venue more than I was expecting – since corporate sponsorship isn’t usually a good sign, and some of my Dutch friends aren’t fans of the place. But it was built specifically for music, and has good sight-lines and acoustics, which is more than a lot of venues offer.
I’d heard their music, but I hadn’t seen Sigur Rós before, and I was very impressed with their show. I think it’s safe to say that there are not any other bands out there putting on performances like theirs – the music, the lights, the video, the whole experience. I can certainly understand that their music is not for everyone, but if you like their music I think you would love their live shows. A great deal of thought and design has gone into their performance and presentation. I’m really glad I got to see them, and I’m especially glad I went to see them in a nice venue in Amsterdam, because they’re playing at a hockey arena when they come to Boston (ugh). I didn’t get any photos or video at this concert, but this will give you a pretty good idea:
Skipping over Saturday night’s main event (which will be my next blog post), the final performer I saw on my European vacation was Pascal Fricke, a guitarist I’ve been friends with for a number of years. He drove a couple of hours from Germany to join us for a party-and-music weekend, and – lucky for us – brought his guitar with him. He did an informal concert in the livingroom of my friends Marco and Gerda, which was a really beautiful way to finish a week full of live music. There is nothing quite like hearing an acoustic guitar expertly played just a few feet away – those rich, warm tones can never quite be reproduced on a recording. Pascal played some requests, and I asked him to do his amazing classical arrangement of Tom Waits’ “Hoist That Rag.” He has a ukelele version of it on Youtube that I love:
Isn’t it great having talented friends?
My next blog post will cover the epic Ceramic Dog concert at the beautiful Bimhuis in Amsterdam. I mention this because I love you all so much that I’m giving you a sneak peek of some of the video footage I snagged: