Munich 2012

The same procedure as last year

You may already have read of our 2011 Munich gigs for MS awareness. The net result was getting invited back by Kilians Irish Pub for another three gigs, two at Kilians and one at Kennedy's Bar & Restaurant, at which we'd be trying to raise more funds for MS charities in Britain and Germany.

If you would like to donate towards multiple sclerosis research and support, The Multiple Sclerosis Society in the UK would be glad of your assistance as would Deutsche Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft in Germany.

The full Munich 2012 gallery is here.

There's been a change in the band line-up since Munich 2011, as Terry the original drummer has been replaced by Rob the new drummer. This explains the difference in hairstyle that the more observant may notice happens to 25% of the band between 2011 and 2012.

Before we even set out, I had a minor crisis. The stage at Kilians is fairly small, and I'd decided to take my Sei headless bass with me to avoid sticking the headstock into Kaz's right ear. However, while carrying it in a soft case, I managed to drop it and inflict some minor damage - sufficient not to want to use it in a gig before it had been repaired. JayDee Custom Guitars did a great job for me, completing it just in time to head off. Er, no pun intended.

Tag Eins - Dienstag

This time the plan is almost as per original plan - we are going to go to Stansted for Tuesday evening, stop over in the Stansted Hilton, and head off from Stansted at a ridiculously early hour. Steve, however, has decided to take his son to a Slash concert and meet us down there in time for the flight, so it is just three of us who load up and go.

We have a pleasant and not-too-costly meal at the Hilton, plus a few slightly but not hugely overpriced drinks, and head for bed relatively early as we've got a 4:30 alarm call. Apparently there are two 4:30s in a day.

Tag Zwei - Mittwoch

Get up, catch shuttle bus to Stansted Airport. We find where to check in but don't see Steve. I ring him but it goes to voicemail. Rob and I check in our instruments and I am sent to Zone H to send my delicate bass through. As I turn the corner, I called out your name see Steve sitting there. He checks in his stuff too and we head off through Security. For some reason, I set off the detector arch, and while the security chap gives me a good grope and runs a wand over me, I have a horrible image of a future in which latex gloves feature prominently. Fortunately, I am deemed safe to release.

An uneventful Easyjet flight follows, then a train journey to Munich. This time, our hotel is close to Marienplatz and even closer to Kennedy's where we will be playing the third gig. Finding the hotel It does take us a little while to find exactly where the hotel is, and my arms are starting to ache from carrying my bag as Kaz has stitched me up with her music stand again. I point out that if she learnt the words, we wouldn't have to carry around her music stand or song book. I am met with a frosty reception.

We settle in. Steve's girlfriend Christine is already at the hotel, looking rather more comfortable than last year in her rather better wheelchair, and we go out for coffee. You can't beat the rock and roll lifestyle.

Hotel Am Sendlinger Tor The hotel, incidentally, is the Hotel Am Sendlinger Tor. The service is very good, the rooms are good except for some poor sealing round our shower which means that if you have the shower head pointing in the wrong direction, the bathroom floor gets flooded.

The afternoon is spent sorting out set lists, then we go to Kilians for the evening to check that the equipment is there and have some food. I'm rather pleased to see that the monitor power amp has moved from behind the bar to below the mixer, which should avert last year's little problem with getting Kaz loud enough in the foldback. Head off back to the hotel a little after 9:00 - getting a bit tired now.

Tag Drei - Donnerstag

Rob didn't bring a hi-hat clutch with him and there's none with the Kilians kit, so he ventures out in search of one. Steve has directed him to a music shop - well, almost, anyway. After a fruitless quest, Rob returns to the hotel, where I ask the friendly receptionist about the presence of music shops. He directs us to a big one, in a street which is almost but not quite the street that Steve had said. Rob, Kaz, and I wander up there, and Rob's eyes light up at the sight of the percussion section. The bass selection is quite varied, with a fair selection of five-strings as well as four-strings, although there's only four fretlesses. Nothing tempts me except the Tecamp Puma head and that's only a 500 (if they had the 900 head, it wasn't in evidence, which was probably just as well). Kaz buys a couple of egg-shaped shakers, Rob buys a hi-hat clutch. Then we go for breakfast (Kaz wanted to go for breakfast before the musical expedition, hardly the sort of devotion to music I expect).

Outside Kilians We meet up at Kilians at 4:00 to set up. Rob rebuilds the bass drum - some of the lugs are knackered and he swaps them for ones which aren't so he can get the bass drum head properly tensioned. We do a soundcheck and head back out. We split up, intending to return for a final soundcheck at 6:30. Kaz and I wander round the centre of Munich. First stop is the Rathaus which is still open - it forms a quadrangle, and inside is a tarpaulined stage and a tarpaulined mixer booth. We have a chat with the guy who's sorting out the sound system - apparently on Saturday night there's a party for everyone who was 18 that year, thrown by the mayor, with two or three bands playing. We wonder how to invite the mayor down to our gigs.

We also wander past an area of central Munich that's being redeveloped. There's some archaeology going on - we read the information posters but can't make much of them as they're in German, though we can make out bits concerning dates and also the fact that a synagogue is among the things being studied, and it appears that it all goes back to 1260 or so.

Back to Kilians we go. Rob turns up and we wait for Steve for the final 6:30 soundcheck. And wait, and wait. Eventually we tell Paul the sound tech that he might as well head off. At about 7:30, Steve turns up. We try to track down Paul the sound tech but can't so we decide to go without an independent sound check.

Inside Kilians Nine o'clock arrives, none too soon. We launch into the first set. It goes well, and we finish after about 40 minutes of a half hour set. Then Kaz croaks that she has lost her voice! All she had was a croaky whisper - could this be disaster? She said (or at least croaked) that a recommended remedy was a shot of spirits to relax the vocal cords. As she almost never drinks while performing, it added some credence to her claim. She had a shot of Southern Comfort and sipped it slowly and we all waited in anticipation for the result. As failure meant that Rob, Steve or I would have to do lead vocals, this was important. Luckily it worked like a charm and Kaz enthusiastically embraced her medicine after each set for the following 3 nights. Kaz said it was rather more delicious than her usual throat spray and worked much better, and I must say that by the end of each evening, she was as cured as a newt.

At ten we start the second set, and again play 40 minutes. We keep the eleven o'clock set to half an hour, but the final set runs to about 40 minutes again, with the encore (which was "Smoke on the Water"). There are some faux pas along the way - Kaz rearranges "Stuck in the middle" on the fly without warning, Steve stumbles a bit over the intro and outro of "Black Magic Woman", and I lose track of where I am in "Hoochie Coochie Man". Steve deals well with breaking two strings in the third set. Between sets, we get quite a few enthusiastic audience members come to us to congratulate us, including one drummer who asks if his band could support us sometime. We are, of course, English (well, Anglo-Irish in my case), and still getting used to responding properly to people saying nice things to us.

We wind down and store the instruments away in the cage used for secure storage of spirits, saving us carting them back to the hotel. Then we wander back ourselves and head off to bed. At least the absence of a bar here means we don't sit up till dawn drinking.

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Tag Vier - Freitag

First order of business is a trip to the music shop to get some more strings for Steve in case any more break. We do that, and Steve has a play on a few acoustics. Inside the music shop He starts playing "Stairway to Heaven" and Rob and I both pick up acoustics and join in, and Kaz does some singing. Surprisingly, we aren't banned.

The rest of the day is uneventful, mainly spent relaxing in our rooms, and we assemble at the hotel reception at 7:00 to head off to Kilians. It's absolutely tipping it down and so we ask the very helpful receptionist if he can get us a taxi. He rings for one. Twenty minutes later, the rain has stopped and the taxi hasn't arrived. Our friendly receptionist rings again, and tells us that they can't get a big taxi, they'd have to send two. As it's no longer raining, we decide to walk.

At Kilians, Craig tells us that there have been a fair few demands for the football (World Cup qualifier, Ireland v Germany), so we'll be on after the match (which finishes at 10:30) and play three sets rather than four. So that's what we do. We watch Ireland get crushed 6-1, which is a bit disappointing for me as although I'm not really interested in football, I am half Irish.

We actually strike up at about 11:00, after quickly setting up and no sound check. The place is heaving tonight, and hot. We switch the sets around so we play the same first and second set as last night. We skip the third set and play a shortened final set, putting in "Smoke on the Water" and again finishing with "Always Somewhere".

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

We finish at about 1:30 and struggle out of Kilians at around 2:00. It wasn't quite ideal with the lack of set-up time and absence of a soundcheck, but we acquitted ourselves well and got the audience moving (and not out of the doors).

Tag Fünf - Samstag

Today is our last Munich gig, this time at Kennedy's Irish Bar & Restaurant.

Regular morning cafe We follow our daily routine, except that breakfast has now got pushed back another hour following last night's rather later finish and we meet up at midday. We have arranged with Paul the sound engineer to soundcheck about 6:30, and we'll need to get set up at Kennedy's, so we arrange among ourselves to meet up at Kennedy's at 5:00 and get ready well in time for Paul. At 5:30, I head off in search of Steve, who is just about ready to leave the hotel with Christine. Access to Kennedy's is down some wide stairs, with no lift, and someone from Kennedy's helps Steve to carry down Christine plus wheelchair.

Just as we finish setting up, with perfect timing, Paul arrives, and checks levels for us. He shows me how to use this particular mixer and we're all set. Well, almost all set - the stage is bare wood with no carpet or mat, and Rob's drumkit is migrating in a forwards direction. He weaves together an intricate webbing of tape, straps, and anything else that will serve, which he has to pick his way through to get to and from his stool. Now we just have to wait until 10:00. Some friends of Christine's turn up, we appropriate a table in a corner close to the stage, and have something to eat.

The room is pretty full by the time we go on. Kennedys We do two 30 minute sets, then stretch the third set out a bit. There are notices on the side of the stage instructing us on pain of pain to finish no later than 1:30, so we make sure the last set doesn't overrun. We top and tail the gig the same way as the first two nights, starting on "Summer of 69" and ending with "Smoke on the Water" and "Always Somewhere". We just do two of the originals tonight, "Legend to No-one" and "No turning back". After a bit of a hiccup last night on "Rock and Roll" we were thinking of dropping it, but we go ahead and do it and nothing goes too badly wrong.

I'm not sure exactly what time we got out - I think it was about 3:00. Got into bed at 4:00, knowing that we have to check out at 11:00.

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Tag Sechs - Sonntag

We make our way down to reception and settle up, after some complex financial calculations. Segway tourists We are all a bit weary and discover that Kaz's sore throat and croak has spread to Christine, who insists that it was all the shouting on Saturday night. We eschew our customary cafe when we look into the window and see a single cheese roll (or its Bavarian equivalent) where yesterday hordes of snacks of all varieties were assembled for our delectation, and head down Sondlinger Straße. The shops are closed, and the streets quiet but not deserted - a reminder of what the UK was once like before commercial pressures made Sunday that bit less special. We encounter a group of tourists riding round on Segways, then, feeling rather hungry at seeing all this activity, we hunt for a cafe. Kaz mentions that she and Mel had spoken about having at least one traditional Bavarian meal again - the sort of meal we had in the beer garden last year. During a wander round Munich earlier on in the week, Kaz thought she had found the perfect place on Sonnenstraße, so she led us to a bar cum restaurant for some food and much-needed coffee. We rise above the strange looks when we order 5 coffees and 5 orange juices at an hour when other Munich denizens are ordering their lunchtime beers. We are provided with English menus, and we order some traditional Bavarian fare.

We then split up and do a little sight-seeing - Kaz and I head off to Marienplatz, Marienplatz where we see the last stragglers of the Munich marathon coming home. Runners We stop for more coffee, then go to St Peters church.

We decide not to ascend the tower (maybe another time when we've got more energy) and instead go into the church, which is quite stunning. It was damaged in 1944 in at least one air raid, and then rebuilt soon after the war, with the spire topped out in 1951. St Peters St Peters magnificent organ St Peters pulpit St Peters

Buskers In Marienplatz itself, today's busking entertainment is a three-piece of clarinet, double bass, and a non-piano accordion, and the music is assorted Jewish folk tunes, including "Hava Nagila".

We go over to the Rathaus and have a little explore. There's an art exhibition on there called "Strange Beauty" which we have a look at but it doesn't appeal to me. Rathaus We hang around long enough to watch the figures doing their dance to the carillon and then head back to the hotel. On the way we encounter Rob and Steve arrives just as we do.

Our return journey is the reverse of our outward journey. We are helped by the Easyjet check-in asking if we would like to put our hand luggage in the hold. Seeing as Kaz and I are rather tired of lugging the stuff around, we're very glad to take up the offer.

We arrive back at Stansted at about 10:30, pick up the car an hour later and head for home, knackered but happy. And we hope to be back next year.

Share on Facebook
Find us on Facebook