From Vienna the band took a long train ride to Leer, Germany, before taking another long train overnight to Krakow in order to begin a week’s worth of performances in Poland. After arriving we had a day off to recover and get ready for the next night’s concert. We decided that the best way to relax way by staying up all night with the owner of Alchemia. This turned out to be the modus operandi for the next several days…
The gig at Alchemia on the 29th was excellent for a lot of reasons: the band was playing stronger on the new pieces, the house was packed and the audience was completely enthusiastic, and the group got to take a look at the new Vandermark 5 release on Not Two records, “Four Sides To The Story.” Once again, Marek Winiarski pulled out all the stops for the album- it’s a double lp box set that weighs nearly a kilo. The next morning we piled into a small bus that would be our transportation for the rest of our time in Poland. Not sure who designed the interior, but passenger comfort was clearly not a high priority. Based on the “leg room” and angle to the backs of the seats the vehicle may have been built by, and for, snakes. This aspect, coupled with the worn out highways, beat the crap out of us all day long as we were driven to the towns where the band was going to perform. At some point along the way I actually fell asleep, only to be woken up by the sound of someone yelling at the top of their lungs- it was Dave Rempis, who was also gesturing frantically towards the window. I looked out, a horse was rearing up on its hind legs, jabbing its front hooves at our van, which for some reason was stopped in the middle of the road behind a large bus. A farmer was pulling desperately at the horse’s reins, struggling to get it back under control. Screaming, flailing, the horse jumped away from the van in a momentary flash out of a Kusturica film, and then I was back asleep.
The first stop after Krakow was Gliwice on the 30th, then Andrychow on the 1st of December, which turned out to be another fantastic concert. As the group worked on the new compositions each night we adapted and edited them to make the pieces more efficient and kinetic, and in Andrychow the music was really taking off. Our final concert in Poland was in Sanok on the 2nd. This gig was a tough one because of the acoustics in the club. The stage was directly under a brick curve, it almost felt like we were playing a show inside a horizontal well. Though it was impossible to hear what was happening right next to you, if someone sneezed from across the stage it would blow your ear out.
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