4 June 2007



From Hasselt another night train, this time in the direction of Poland for a leg of the tour that would finally set things in regular motion- four gigs in a row: Warsaw (May 7th), Krakow (May 8th), Posnan (May 9th), and Slupsk (May 10th). I have come to expect exceptional things from the audiences in Poland, and I was never disappointed during the Powerhouse concerts. The performance at Aurora in Warsaw was, for me, a breakthrough gig for the band. By not using monitors (the stage was too small to include them and fit all the instruments and equipment), or microphones on anything but the sax (nice exchange between John and the sound man: “No mics on the drums please.” “Yes, yes, I understand, but I do it anyway.”), we were forced to keep the sound levels down to where everyone could hear the sax acoustically on stage during the gig. In addition, we had hammered out most of the issues on the pieces, and were at a point when a new composition, “Broken Numbers,” could be played correctly. This show was a last minute addition that came through with the help of friends, particularly Laurence. Huge thanks to them for keeping the band performing every night we were in Poland instead of “vacationing.”

The next night, in Krakow, was somehow more difficult, things that just fell into place the night before needed more work to come together at Alchemia, which was frustrating because that’s such a significant place for me to play. Perhaps the nature of Aurora, which was more of an underground rock club, fit the type of music Powerhouse Sound plays, I’m not sure. It was hard for me to gauge the audience response to the music during the gig, but after the show we sold twice as many cds as ever before in that city, so something must have been working right. The band really nailed things the next night at Estrada in Posnan, two of the best sets we played on the entire tour delivered to a packed house- tremendous. Afterwards we had dinner at the presenter’s home, a great meal served with the help of his two teenaged kids. He was hoping to get them to speak English with us but they, and we, knew better. Up late as usual and hard to leave such great people. In the morning we stopped to change the Polish bills into euros. As if more proof was needed that Poland actually belonged to another world, the woman working at the currency exchanged who helped with the funds asked me if I would be so kind to sign the Powerhouse cd that she had bought at our gig the night before. This was certainly a first.

We finished the Polish stretch in the town of Slupsk. Not knowing what to expect, and hearing that we were playing in a theater that was presenting music for the very first time, I was a bit nervous about what the turnout would be. This proved to be needless- the venue was standing room only and the concert was a total success. The next morning was tough, 5:30am start, driving to a breakfast with Laurence’s mother at 6:30am, based on the amount of food she put on the table it seems she must have thought the band was an octet, then a long drive to Berlin to catch a train to Greiz for the Jazzwerk Festival. I was very tired, but the band played well. We were getting deeper into aspects of the music each night, everything changing with the different collages of the material during the sets. The way John was playing across the bass phrases opened up the rhythmic matrix of the music beautifully. And he came up with the best response I’ve heard so far for the endless sets of advice I get about what I should do with our music: “You should add more chords,” “You should only play with one band,” “You should try and record with a bigger record label…”

“I’d really like to, but I don’t want to.”

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