28 November 2011

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Fire Room tour pt. 2. From Geneva, Paal, Lasse, and I traveled to Spain on the 25th for 2 concerts on the Primavera Festival, one in Barcelona and the 2nd in Madrid. It was rather extraordinary to realize that I had last been in Barcelona only 4 days earlier- it felt like a month had gone by, and the aesthetic change up between Made To Break and Fire Room was huge, the differences between Christof Kurzmann and Lasse Marhaug’s approach to electronics vast. For the show in Barcelona the trio only had a chance for a quick soundcheck (things running late and several bands on the bill) before almost immediately hitting the stage. The audience was small but enthused, the music more reckless somehow in comparison to the initial 3 shows; perhaps a growing understanding of what we were dealing with from a musical standpoint and the feeling that we only had 1 set to get ourselves across were the reasons. There was an after party held by the Arco Y Flecha folks, celebrating the conclusion of a tour with Dave Holland and Pepe Habicheula that they had helped organize. For about 10 minutes I got a chance to talk to Mr. Holland directly about music and his approach to composition, it was entertaining to hear his thoughts and the fact that the nervousness of an impending deadline coupled with an empty page were the primary motivators to get things onto paper. Fire Room traveled to Madrid on the 26th, which proved to be the most difficult gig on the tour. We had a long soundcheck, but it was the first one of the afternoon and we were the last group to play on the festival that evening (after the Pop Group- quite an unusual bill!); by the time we got on stage everything that had been sorted out for our sound was completely lost, and I was so loud in the monitors that the first note I played of the concert nearly knocked both Paal and Lasse unconscious. Immediately they stopped and tried to find the monitor tech to turn me down as I continued to solo alone off the edge of a cliff, but the guy was hidden up a ladder offstage- perfect. From there things remained bad, no way to connect, no way to get an ensemble feel; very, very frustrating. To celebrate we left the next morning from the hotel at 4am to head to Poznan, exhausted and drained, but with only a travel day (still not sure why it was necessary to leave at 4am if the gig wasn’t until 8pm the next day, but that’s touring for you- saving money wherever and whenever possible). The concert in Poznan on the 28th was recorded, giving us the first and last shows of the tour to work with for a new album, and in Poznan I was able to add the baritone to the arsenal, which fit in perfectly with the sound fields that Fire Room works with. After Madrid it felt great to be able to play 2 strong sets in front of a full house and get them properly documented. Made To Break from the Clean Feed Festival in Lisbon: