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Blogs, News & Tour Stories

By The Talks, Sep 16 2015 01:23PM

France, Switzerland and Germany Tour - Part 2

16th to 19th July.

By Iain Allen

I woke up to dry lips, sticky eyes and a throbbing head - as in, the one on top of my shoulders. I looked round and noticed the window was wide open, which was basically like having a large part of the wall missing, practically enough room for a cow to wander through never mind some large lonely insect with a penchant for human snuggles.

We convened on the patio area at the foot of the main cabin for breakfast. Bread and Coffee! But really good coffee though. Although The Holt's (Joe Holt) experience was somewhat tarnished due to a larger than normal number of wasps kicking around the table. A lot of wafting, whimpering, sudden jerky movements and standing up and sitting down again ensued before it all became a bit too much and he retired back indoors. This is where we had spent a couple of hours drinking after arriving here on the previous typical French summer night, but this morning we had light and full visibility and the views were captivating. The hillside that the Gites were part of overlooked the full town of Dieulouard and various streams and wooded areas in the vast valley below, before climbing back up the opposing green, stippled mountain. This was pretty special.

Breakfast Pano
Breakfast Pano

We got our things together and faced ourselves south for Chiasso, Switzerland. The drive took us south east and through the more rustic parts of the Lorraine region before venturing into the Alsace, passing it's picturesque villages, famous vineyards and hilly, rural parts. Then into Switzerland, and if we thought eastern France was attractive than Switzerland is like an enchanting beguilement of natural beauty. The E35 trunk road that takes you from Basel right down to the Italian border really does just wind through the heart of typical Switzerland. For almost the full length of the country you're travelling through a vally surrounded by mountains and huge, clear blue lakes, mountainside towns and the high, snow peaked Alps. Immeasurably enormous bright green mountainsides that descend soaringly and plunge into sky blue lagoons of unworldly stretches of silently still water. Along with the colourful mountain towns, forests and fast waterfalls interject the descents. I don't mean to get too 'travelly' here but this place really is something else, one of the most breath taking and beautiful things that we've ever seen.

We pressed on through a series of sluggish, tailbacked areas consumed by holiday makers heading south; aparently every Swiss family had the same idea on the same day. During one of the hold ups we came across a trail of Thespian-esq 20 somthing's dressed in some kind of strange medieval costumes, walking by the side of the road handing out fruit to the trawling motorists. Pete and The Holt accepted a couple of apples and a pear. The apples were rotten and the pear looked like it had been stored under someone's arm pit for the past few days. Traffic picked up and we entered a mountain pass tunnel which must have ran for about 20 miles, as Pete exclaimed "it's like driving through the bawls of the earth, and about as hot", again it got seriously sweaty and uncomfortable down there.

We arrived in Chiasso. Chiasso is a Swiss/Italian boarder, hillside city in the Mendrisiotto region. Again, we're quite high up here and the humidity is really kicking off. It's not surprising it's so tremendously green around these parts. On route to the venue in the city, guided by the Nav, we're met with a road leading under a bridge that looks like it would struggle to fit a mobility scooter underneath, never mind 3 metres of van. We spin round and take the other route to the gig out of the city, up some fairly steep inclines by Pat's estimation - in fact, they were that steep I'm not sure how they managed to lay the tarmac - back down again and arrived at the venue. This in all took about 30 minutes of physical time and about 3 years off each of our lives. The bridge that we couldn't get under was about 50 yards from the venue. About 100 yards in the opposite direction was the Italian boarder. It's quite a bizarre and unnerving feeling that you get from the sight of 3 extremely casual, almost lazy looking police officers stood around smoking cigarettes with Sub-machine guns clipped to their belts. The gig was another outdoor festival affair in the grounds of a venue. At the entrance to the site we passed the the main outdoor bar which had an oversized Carlsberg fascia proudly presented on the front of it - we couldn't surely have driven all this way to be greeted with pale, warm piss!. Thankfully it was not the case.

The gig was a one day festival of which we were headlining. There was a cross section of bands on the bill, indie bands, punk bands, metal bands and one operatic rock band, which for once actually kind of works in Italian. Topping it off though had to be the French band that played the slot before us, an up-tempo blues band called 'Les Wayfarers'. They rattled and snarled their brand of raucous, sweaty, amped-up, biting blues into a frenzy of driven ferocity, rasping guitars and a pounding rhythms, leaving a previously somewhat tamer audience ready to beat the humidity. Real Dr. Feelgood / Nine Below Zero kind of stuff. We got ready. The sound man was not too committal and our line check became a bit of task as he really didn't get the gist of what we wanted. Line checks of this nature are always a tad on the awkward side as it's you, on stage, in front of the audience that you're about to perform to. We usually do this without Pat as not to lose all sense of impact when we actually go on stage and start our set, however it is still a procedure that you want to be wrapped up pretty sharpish. This dragged on and on with feeding back monitors ricochetting around the stage, Pete all the while trying to do his best to communicate our needs, but realistically he might as well have just taken a piss on the desk for the amount of attention the guy was paying. So we fucked it off and started the show. Surprise, surprise, a wall of noise; very little bass, even less vocal, the sampler just wasn't their, enough guitar to drown out an orchestra and I think the drums were OK... apart from the kick drum obviously, this is always the first thing to go, I think he must have ripped the fader off this channel, ragging it downwards when it's presence scared the shit out of him in the opening few bars. Verbal threats from Pete and lyrical interspersions of 'wake up Mr sound man' and 'do you're fucking job mate' during the opening numbers from Pat and it managed to become something near a mediocre mix.

Post gig and it was time to sink a few. We had our own beer kegs with pumps in the back stage area which housed a stupidly drinkable, exceptionally smooth, cold lager that slid down with ease. This was quite similar to the Veltins that me and Jolt got mullered on in Bad Nenndorf a few weeks previous, and the best since. We polished a few of these off with our new friends from Les Wayfarers and basically tried to dry out after the moister than moist gig. At the merch stand I was exercising my usual retail interaction along with Geoffrey, the bass player from Les Wayfarers; I don't know why but it's always Bass players. Kepple wandered over and we converted the prices into Swiss Francs - Me: "how much are we gonna sell these albums for?", Kepple: "10 Francs?", Me: "15 Francs", Geoffrey: "you're in Switzerland, 20 Francs!", so we took heed and made up our margins.

A couple of hours went by and me, Jolt and Pat found ourselves inside the venue. The venue was of moderate size with a stage at one end of the main open portion of the room, had a kind of traditional, tavern style feel to it with big, heavy oak tables, stone floors and various offshoot nooks an crannies. By this point the general festivities had moved inside from out and we carried on drinking at the bar with Les Wayfarers and made friends with the punters. We also got to know Los Infernos, a Mexican band that had played earlier on. These guys cracked open the tequila and insisted that we drink with them and try to match them drink for drink, professing that the English are supposed to be the hardest drinkers in the world and that we had to keep up the illusion; on the next days reflection I am absolutely certain that this isn't the case. The occasion seemed to be really heating up by now as the full bar was glowing with sweat and swaying. There was a group of us stood at one end of the bar and various others lining the front of it, to which by now the staff were just pouring, emptying in fact, bottles of spirits directly into our open mouths, gliding along the bar as they did it. At one point me and Jolt, managed to start off bar room shout-along of 500 miles, by The Proclaimers, that had faintly reared from the duke box somewhere in the distance, and every pissed up bastard in there joined in. Someone then tried to follow this up with Don't Stop Me Now by Queen, which impressively ran for about a minute before I think it's meter and lyrical flow became a little too much for the rooms seriously waning vocal control. More Whiskey, Rum, Beer and Tequila followed and it's around here that things get really hazy. At one point people were dancing on the bar and I got up to join them, falling directly off only seconds later and landing on a barman, which was lucky really as it was him or a bunch of beer glasses behind him. Apparently he caught me and I resided in his arms in a kind of a fireman's lift for a moment before he placed me upright and walked me back around the other side of the bar. At least I'll know where to go if the going ever gets tough in south west Switzerland for me again - my knight in shinning armour.

The next day proved a very weary experience indeed. I woke up fully clothed on top of the bed to an empty room with the door wide open; I was sharing with Pat and Jolt and I think they'd already exited. Still absolutely battered I stood up, shoved my face under a blasting cold water tap in the bathroom, picked up my bag and fled to the foyer. The rest of the band were lingering around in various places - Jody had gone to check on the van, Pete was getting to know the female receptionist and Titch seemed to be touching up on his Italian and Romansh over at one of the leaflet stands - if music doesn't work out for him, he's now gunning for a job with the Swiss tourist board. We gathered in the outdoor dinning area, sank a coffee, which did absolutely nothing to appease mine, Jolts and Pats still apparent drunkenness, and opted for Freiburg. The same serene journey as yesterday conducted us to southern Germany, and the same weather highlighted its amazing scenes. At one point we stopped at a service station, one of those real family orientated ones where it almost feels like people go to have a specific day out, I bought some ham, cheese and bread and it came to 20 Euros. I then said to the cashier 'I'll pay in Swiss Francs' and it came to the equivalent of 25 Euros. I tried to argue at what on earth was happening here but failing to decipher which of the possible 4 languages she was speaking, I accepted this daylight buggering and got back in the van - we had found Switzerland's catch.

We arrived in Frieburg. Gaststatte Walfisch was the gig, a really chilled out bar venue that suited this full scale hangover Sunday perfectly. We arrived mid afternoon so we had a bit of time to kill, with which we just lounged around in the beer garden drinking coffee. We managed to put in a detailed sound check and tried out some new tracks and ideas that we'd been messing around with. This was a really well equipped place as far as sound goes and never more prevalent than in Pat's lengthy geeking out session with the owner / sound man over his preferred choice of mics. Jody even joined in too. It came to show time and the hangovers were passing briskly by now, or at least we were almost fully sober. The on stage sound was near on perfect, one of the best we've ever had, monitors were just effortlessly delivering exactly what we needed with clarity, pretty much the polar opposite to the previous night. The front of house sound was equally as good, really crisp and clear, I'm assuming this guy had ran the place for years and just knew the room inside out, literally, that thrown in with not scrimping on his gear. We put in a good performance. During the show we had a group of guys wearing some kind of traditional German dress down at the front, kind of laderhosens but with trousers. They struck up some strange dance which looked like it would have been more suited to an ABBA gig in the 70's, tried to syncopate it and failed. After the show we got the van loaded pronto, cashed in all of our beer tokens, filled the bunk with a choice selection of the finest local brews and embarked on Dunkirk. This was around 1am. We arrived home at 6pm the following evening.

By The Talks, Aug 18 2015 09:49AM

France, Switzerland and Germany Tour - Part 1.

16th to 19th July.

By Iain Allen

It was the evening of Wednesday 15th July at around 8:30pm. Although, the festivities for this tour really began the day before, when our channel crossing was changed from Dover-Calais to Dover-Dunkirk, just to throw the proverbial pre-tour cat amongst the pigeons and really get things off to a flying start. Calais was on absolute lock-down due to strikes by French ferry workers over huge job-cuts from Eurotunnel. The French reaction to this - set fire to a sizeable pile of HGV tires on the entrance to one of the Eurotunnel lines and walk off all of Calais' ships. Well, the French have never been known to do things by halves have they! And what was more unnerving was the rather nonchalant (no pun intended) text message I received from DFDS briefly explaining, in text speak, that we were now sailing to a different part of France. So really not wanting to take any chances, because we've been down that road too many times before, we thought we'd give our selves plenty of time. So 8:30pm and we were away. We took all realistic diversions going (not the ones where you're heading for Birmingham and end up in Norwich), made really good time and as sods law would have it arrived at 1:30am. Our ferry wasn't until 5:15am. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose. So we queued.. and queued... and queued. Eventually we got to a check-in point - "OK, so your ferry was suppossed to depart to Calais at 5:15, we're gonna see if we can get you on an earlier one", so a drive round to the departures office. 10am!! they said 10am!! We were abruptly told to leave the site and return at 8am. I questioned it and questioned it, but barring punching the smarmy little twat in the mouth, there wasn't a lot I could do about it. We were determined not to be beaten on this one so we took to the BP up the road for a coffee and a think. Kep (Jody): "we could always just go back around again and go to a different check-in point".. Oooh! So back down the road, different booth and would you believe it "yes, we've put you on the 6am Sir". The odd few minutes of blurry shut eye in the vans foot well then off. On the ferry Titch got escorted away from the main restaurant area after pitching himself up a bed on some of the leather seating; a family were wanting breakfast and the sight of him sprawled out dribbling wasn't appetising. He came and found me and Jolt (Joe Holt) who were trying to avoid the hoards of riotous, parent-less children that seemed to engulf the entire passenger deck. Not appearing to bother Titch too much he practically dropped on the floor, put his snood over his head and fell unconscious. We made the point that we should draw a white line around him as he looked like he'd just fallen from a building. Pat had stayed in the van during the crossing, saying that if the ferry sank at least he'd have a calm death.

Titch and Me (Ferry)
Titch and Me (Ferry)

On the other side and Dijon bound. A couple of hours down the road and it was seriously hot by now... and getting hotter. We underwent the obligatory extortionate French service station stops - 7 euros for a cheese sandwich, that kind of thing - and sweated it out for another 6 hours; for some reason Google maps decided to shag us over on the timings for this one. By the time we arrived in Dijon the back of the van had almost liquefied. We opened the side door to a dissipating plume of steam and the honk of 22 hours worth of feet, farts and fags (cigarettes). Joe Holt looked even more waxed than normal. Yes 22 hours... from Hull to Dijon. The gig was at the Peniche Cancale, a boat harboured on the Port Du Canal in the centre of Dijon. It was 40 degrees. Apparently it had been like this for the past three weeks; it is July and we are in mid France but it usually settles at around 25 degrees, whereas this is unheard of. It was 5pm, we were expected at the venue at 3pm. The owner had a slight problem with the band sound checking after 6pm, which was doors, which we met with a question mark and said that basically this needed to happen if he wanted us to play the hour and a half set that was expected after a full days driving on no sleep. He saw our point and we got on with it.

This was a painful gig. By the time we went on, although the temperature outside may have dropped a couple of degrees, it had heated up the window-less, un air-conditioned main stage room / deck of the boat into a sweltering sweat box, the humidity through the roof and a stage consumed by stagnant air. It was like playing in an oven. Titch nearly passed out twice, Pats voice was really struggling, Kep had just technical problem after technical problem and Jolt broke a sweat. Every second of that hour and a half felt like an eternity. And I just hoped every song would be the last. I really can't ever recall playing in harder gigging conditions than that, it was the hottest, sweatiest thing we've ever done. When we came off stage Kepple's light blue shirt was now a deep navy and I felt like I'd just jumped in a swimming pool with my Bass, shortly followed by Titch. Albeit Titch decided upon this show to be his debut shorts and topless fare - steady on now ladies! The nights accommodation was an apartment at the other side of town and by this point sleep was about as overdue as a can of fly spray in the back of the van.

The next day was Pats birthday. So we all indulged in the compulsory 'being more vulgar toward him than normal procession', gave him the bumps - out of the window - and set off to Dieulouard... (we didn't really.. we were the same level of vulgar as we usually are towards him). A 3 hour drive proceeded and the temperature hadn't dropped; the sort of climate where you stand outside doing nothing, leaning probably, in only a pair of shorts and your still absolutely dripping with sweat. And the back of the van had not yet reformed. East Summer Festival in the North Eastern Lorraine region town of Dieulouard was our destination. The outdoor festival has been running for about 10 years and is hosted in a field next to a Football stadium. We arrived at mid-afternoon to full crew that were all hands on deck and ready help set up the stage. These guys were really on the pulse, quick off the mark and had our best interests at heart when it came to making the show as comfortable as possible for us - this may sound like they were just doing their job, but believe me a lot of the time its almost like its anything but their job. The sound crew were equally as on a the ball, they knew what we needed out front and they took their time perfecting it, and its always a good sign from the stage when you can see Pat laughing with the front of house engineer, oppose to pulling chunks of hair out, the little bounce he does and the phrase 'look mate' rearing its head at every turn, that's if he hasn't just pushed him off the desk by that point. As we arrived with good time before gates we managed to put in a good sound check, resulting in a really well rounded on stage sound from the monitor engineer, actually being able to hear all the things you need to hear to play the gig is really quite profound and liberating, it happens that rarely its almost like receiving a gift.

Video: Pat receiving his birthday presents

Our stage time was 10pm, so we had a bit of time to kill. We played a bit of football, resisted the urge to get drunk, well.. apart from Jolt, sweated some more and gave Pat his birthday presents. Pats birthday presents consisted of a colourful necklace and bracelet making kit, age 8 plus, and a bumper pack of Bodyform sanitary towels; we got him the ones with the extra large wings just to avoid any additional unpleasantness. He was thrilled. Billing wise, on before us were 'Respublica Von Taztika', an electro hip hop band from relatively close by. These guys had some really smart grooves going on, with a lot of searing samples and live Drums and Guitar with ragging, abrasive riffs that answered the two vocalist trading lines. A really good, typically French hip hop band. And this language just lends itself to the genre so well, the poetic flow of the French tone marries up with that quick fire spitting seamlessly; there's just so much you can do with it. Then our turn. A really good billing for us here as we were about 2nd from headline, just as the sun is on its last legs and people are really getting lively. The intro booms in and were off. The crowd were slightly subdued at first, but you could tell it was one of those where they weren't going to take much persuading. Enter 'Can Stand The Rain' and they're off, and they multiplied quickly. It got nicely packed in tight down at the front and they really did make it a wicked show for us. 'Hacks' came around way too quickly and the atmosphere was that electric that we really could have played the set again.

We came off stage and I went to check on the merch stall at the other end of the site. I walked past the backstage catering area, past security and through into the main arena. Just after I'd got through the gate a swarm of about 20 teenage girls shouting 'The Talks, The Talks' ran towards me. This was pretty damn scary. Thankfully the security guard was ready with a pen so I could oblige in signing their tickets and then after about 10 selfies later, I was free. I haven't blushed for quite some time but I must have come out like a beetroot in those photos. The merch woman had about as much sales experience as a damp flannel so I cracked on with selling. Meanwhile Pat was getting smashed on Jack Daniels with Prince Fatty and Mad Professor, who had done duelling DJ sets on the main stage after us. Prince Fatty (Mike) was a nice guy, they talked about touring, producing, recording and general studio stuff. They talked a lot about dub delays, spring reverbs, tape machines, popping echoes and the sonic array of things when it comes to room sounds and mood. Prince Fatty described his affinity for old fashioned Dub-Reggae and those real vintage, organic recordings that just wouldn't be possible with modern software. And then another bottle of Whiskey came out and by this point I think comprehensive speech had well and truly left the table. We then left for the accommodation, which took us on a long slopping drive out of the town and up an extremely steep, hilly road - Kepple driving and keeping his cool, the smooth number that he is - to a series of log cabin hillside Gites. This was one of those rare occasions where you get to stay somewhere that is really special, out of the ordinary, something that would never happen if you didn't sling your arse around like this, and more importantly it someone's home, which just adds to the moment a bit. We had a few more beers on the patio area with extremely nice fellow George (the proprietor) and Jolt decided to join us wearing nothing but his briefs... it was a balmy night after all. We whiled an hour away and then it was heads down, ready for Switzerland.

By The Talks, Jun 3 2015 08:28PM

The Talks May Germany Tour - Blog 2 (04/05 - 06/05)

By Iain Allen

Regensburg. We're quite surprised to find rather a large number of unsavoury looking guys kicking around when we emerge at the venue from the traditional, winding, Bavarian streets. Hence, during load in Titch is in the back of the van dragging stuff forward and out of nowhere a red faced, clearly 'all day on the booze' kind of chap in a padded rain coat and stained trackies is singing to himself whilst moving our gear. Pete, expecting the worst, narrowly avoids giving him slap and sends him on his way. So we're at the venue - Tiki Beat; a cool, bright, artistic place with two huge tribal carvings made from tree trunks behind the bar, a grand mask sculpture at the back of the stage and paintings, decorative art and interior design of the same style throughout. The place just propels colour and vibrancy. We got to the venue early so plenty of time for sound check and a little run through of some new tracks that we're thinking of trying out tonight. It's Monday so it's a bit of a guessing game what tonight's turn might be, but spirits are high, and after all, for us this gig is a bonus of filling in the gaps, the bookers nightmare, awkward as hell Mondays. Myself and Joe Holt had just about fully recovered from Marburg's Saturday night experience now and this is greatly prevalent in Joe as by 6pm he's sinking beers like the national supply is about to run out.

Sound checks and stage sorted for the show we were taken for dinner. Brauerei Kneitinger, two doors down from the venue. A kind of bar, come restaurant, come brewery, but none the less successful at all three. The beer, Kneitinger, was incredible, probably the best lager/pilsner/helles we've ever tasted, they had just two in-house ones on, a light one and a dark one and they were both absolutely belting. And then the food.. oh the food. Some of us had leg of roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut and it was truly delicious. The meat was as tender as it gets and I've never liked sauerkraut in the past, pickled stringy cabbage has never been top of my culinary agenda, but this was a game changer, I'll say it was the best meal we've had as a band (sorry, probably the most pretentious sentences I've ever written but really wanted you to know - smiley face). Although not as full band unfortunately, Titch stayed back at the venue as he'd come over feeling a little peaky during sound check, the colour had rushed from him and he said he felt as light as a feather so went for a lay down in the van. Back at the venue, in the kitchen green room with literally crates upon crates of beer and Joe Holt exercising his basic motor skills. Pat went to check on Titch in the van and it was at about this time that Titch got up, left the van and projectile vomited across the alleyway where the van was parked. Whilst Pat was gipping at the sight of this at the other side of the passage, borking to the nines, it was Pete who came, armed with a few bottles of sparkling water, to console Titch and wash the sick away. The gig was good, a vibrant atmosphere for a Monday night, all feeling for poor Titch even whiter than usual.

Later we decided to go explore Regensburg with a few folk from the venue. Another lively cellar bar; some of us outside smoking, the rest inside doing the rounds. Joe Holt found a group he'd spoken to earlier in the night, amongst which was a girl that had a striking resemblance to Ronnie Corbett, who, well oiled on the pilsners by now, was asleep, faced down on a table, occasionally swaying from side to side. Joe, kind soul that he is, went to see if all was ok, at which point she woke up, out of nowhere proclaimed "I'm sorry, I can't have sex with you, I am too drunk", rapidly clattered her way through the bar, taking tables and glasses with her, flung out of the exit, fell up the stairs and literally took flight across the road and head first into the opposing curb, managing to kind of aquaplane the top of it and somehow surface. Joe later said "I can honestly say that I've never been turned down before by someone that I'd not cracked on to whatsoever". Eventually finding our way back to the hostel, with dead phones and ancient alleyway after ancient alleyway, we dismounted into the 12 birth room. Jody and Pat were in the corridor when a timid, frightened looking young couple from the neighbouring room asked them if they could sleep in ours due to some dodgy, angry guy who was endlessly walking around theirs, banging on walls, in the dark, telling people he was going to fuck them up. The lads obviously obliged. A few minutes later I went to loo and was joined by him at the urinal. He was middle aged, overweight, had long dark hair, a wiry beard, scruffy, stained clothes and a pungent aroma about him. He muttered something to me a few times so I told him that they were "my sentiments exactly mate" and went to bed. The room in full snoring orchestration by now, like a dawn chorus of truck drivers and tramps, I considered my options. So i went downstairs and found a kitchen with a sofa in it. I laid there for a few minutes and remembered the nutter from upstairs, thought better of it, got the van keys and trekked across town again.

I woke in the morning as dry as a bone. There was a Netto at the bottom of the alleyway, so I went to buy water. Got back to the van, opened it and it was sparkling, surprisingly, and it fizzed up out of the lid and drenched me. I then found myself in dire need of a gypsy's*, so set off to find somewhere. The venue hadn't yet opened and public toilets aren't on the agenda in Bavaria, so i walked and walked and finally, really bursting at this point, settled on a wall along the banks of the Danube. Mid way through I glanced to my right, around a slight ridge in the wall and realised I was about 3 meters away from a young couple having a picnic. I avoided eye contact, finished up, zipped up and briskly walked away.

We set off for Munich. Heading further south the landscape really starts to open up here, the hilly views from the autobahn laden with vineyards. Tonight's gig is the Backstage venue. An vast, unique complex with 4 venues of varying size, set within tiered beer gardens and hidden bars surrounded by wild plant life. A lot of waiting around here as we'd arrived quite early, so we were trying to avoid lathery. We were supporting California's 'The Interrupters' who had the right idea and turned up much later than us. We played a cracking show, one of the best on the tour so far and the atmosphere was pumping in the cool, neon, 80's reminiscent Backstage venue 3. The Interrupters followed with a full throttle attack of 2-Tone and Californian street punk that smacked a couple of your teeth out and sent you ricochetting around the room from the off. High energy stuff, a well drilled show. This shows rider contained a lot of Whiskey, so after the show we went up to a roof garden a couple stories above where we were staying (accommodation at the venue - always a means for a raucous one) with Aimee, Kevin, Jesse, Justin and Alen and drank the lot. A great set of guys. Pat nearly fell off the roofs edge and Joe Holt fell asleep at the table. The next morning, we avoided the shower because strange white gloop seemed to be coming up from the plug hole, Titch got shouted at by one of the managers, we loaded the van in the rain and left for Jena.

* gypsy's kiss - piss

By The Talks, May 25 2015 03:16PM

Blog written by Iain Allen.

The Talks May Germany tour Part 1

So we disembarked. Onset for Mainz for pre May Day celebrations. Van packed, crew packed, brains assembled, or thereabouts - due to the 3am start appearances were a little disheveled, fully equipped with sleep lines on faces. 3 o'clock, A63 bound, getting up to speed. And getting up to speed. Trying to get up to speed. Oh, no speed. 50 miles an hour, and labouring. Opinion poll - "it's gonna be pretty hard to get Germany like this". So back to Hull. The van had undergone ongoing repair work for the past month - apparently that's how long it takes - but we were assured that everything was now hunky dory. Not the case. So 4am, back in Hull. Luckily Mercedes are 24 hours in Hull, and we dragged the limper over. The turbo was jiggered, hence the lack of thwack on acceleration. So 3 hours sat drinking coffee in the Merc showroom in a haze of backward lethargy, and the stead was still no better. Apparently the parts that they had supplied (the engine) no more than a week ago, wasn't right and the turbo was a dud. Nothing could be done till dinner time so it was home again until further notice. Dinner time came and went and it became apparent that we weren't going to make Reduit in Mainz for the first gig. Mainz was the first show we ever played in Germany and one of our favourite parts of the country. Saddened by this we waited for news. Midnight came and back to Hull Merc, with fingers crossed; exhaustion starting to rear it's head now. The Van was fixed - all singing, all dancing, all guns blazing. One of the most joyful moments in Talks camp for a while.

So we finally disembarked. With the van purring away we journeyed on the standard route toward the Eurotunnel, no hick ups, just the natural trying to get some shut eye where possible. On the continent and the 7 hour jaunt to Hannover for the Mai day faust, an outdoor city festival in an urban, bohemian part of Hannover - bicycle sales being a profitable industry here. There's always a really positive atmosphere about these kind of German festivals, it's like the whole city gets behind it without judgement or prejudice, and really praises the event for the good that it does for a community. So a few Gilde Ratskellers in the catering areas to dust off the cobwebs then on stage. This was a good opening show for the tour. The crowd digging straight in from the word go. A few more beers later and it was to the hotel for some exceedingly overdue kip. I think I got a solid 9 uninterrupted hours in, which is almost unheard of.

Spirits high and heads well enough rested we sprung off to Marburg, but not before a quick tyre change. On the way to the previous nights gig we'd noticed a flat spot in one of the front tyres, so the next morning, Saturday, we went to buy a new tyre - "just straight down the road and turn left", not open. Onto the industrial estate, all closed. It was becoming apparent that tyre merchants were averse to opening on Saturdays in Hannover, not on the agenda. We found a car park next to a garage, managed to use some air against the will of two disgruntled German mechanics and changed it for the spare. Onto the Autobahn. About 30 drama less minutes and then clunk, clunk, clang. What was that? Followed by Pats high pitched volcanism of 'pull over Jo' then higher still 'pull over Jo'. Another tyre had gone, one of the rears. So tyre changing skills at the ready and this time on the side of the motorway - the no speed limit autobahn. The feet had been ripped off the warming triangle so Titch had stand 50 yards up the hard shoulder holding it in the direction of on coming traffic, in hindsight, probably not a wise move. This time we (well, Pete) swapped the one that we'd taken off the front for the burst boy at the back. On the way again. By this point the van has had more work done to it than Joan Rivers after a disastrous skiing holiday with Vanessa Feltz, and no less aggressive in the aftermath.

We arrived in Marburg. Marburg is a very authentic German city, steeped in heritage with a sought after academic University. The gig was, again, a success, KFZ was pumping from the off. Then to the hotel, before Joe and Iain decided to sneak out to explore the local night life. Into Marburg's old town and a bar called Delirium. This part of Marburg had a very medieval feel about it, and Delirium was no less so, with it's narrow corridor and additional cellar bar. The beer was exceptional and flowed with haste. We got talking to some of the locals, mainly students and struggled to find anyone actually from Marburg. A chap called Fabian told me that the Brits had made a pact during WW2 not to bomb certain German cities, and Marburg was one of them, the Germans had done the same with the likes of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK - none industrial places where education flourished seemed a little immoral I suppose. I smoked with him then went back upstairs to find Joe.

On foot to the next bar and we came across 5 unsavoury looking guys in baseball caps, who took a disliking to us. A bit of swearing and shouting later we decided to exit the street and disengage - the guy wanted a cigarette which I refused. They followed us in to the bar which we then decided to loop a group (of students) and exit again, giving them the slip this time. The old town is on a hill and we cut through a winding stepped alley way and found a Keller bar (still nameless to us as recollections get hazy here) and proceeded. We drank more and made friends. We decided at 6am it was probably time we called it a night. The next day, the day off, was inactive to say the least. The hotel was outside of the city, in between the motorway and the countryside and comparable to the Kidderminster Travelodge, it had about much activity as Walsall's bus station on a Sunday afternoon. I think we were the only guests in the entire hotel. Monday morning couldn't come around quick enough and as Pete put it we were pretty happy to "gan our lads dean and get the flock out of dodge". Not before another little trial, as we only actually booked two rooms for the second night, but just decided to stay in all three and see what happened. So what happened was, Joe and I had to climb out of the room window to narrowly avoid the receptionist who was on the war path about the mystery of the third room - she should've worked Sunday. So out the window, through the gardens, and a little orchard and to the van. Onto Regensburg.

By The Talks, Jan 16 2015 01:21PM

We're really pleased to announce we are releasing a free live album from Kendal Calling festival last summer. You can watch the full concert on Youtube on link below, Or download the full live album from this link - http://bit.ly/TalksFreeDownload

So if you were wondering how the gig is live? you can have a butchers....

With love from The Talks x