I’ve had the most wonderful and musical summer. It started with a UK tour that had me perform with my Sotones friends and ended with a fantastic performance in a fair trade shop in my hometown of Elmshorn, Germany.
First things first, this was the first time I tried taking the train from Hamburg to London with my accordion. I am still trying to figure out the cheapest way to get to the island with my instrument. Easyjet have already refused to take on the accordion as it’s too heavy! My route of choice, the train, took 12 hours and I was very very relieved that I had seat reservations. What were all of those British pensioners doing in Cologne?
My first UK show in nearly a year was in Southampton, where I spent many years. My friends have opened a wholefoods shop in town (Rice Up Wholefoods) and I played at their opening.
It is a great shop and I urge you to pay a visit if you’re in the vicinity. It was great to see all of my friends at the opening, although I think some of the shoppers were confused as to why there was a singing accordionist at the entrance accompanying their weekly shopping trip
The same day I made my way to London with my trusted tour mobile Kentika II. My good friend and wonderful musician Victoria Hume and I performed a show at the charming Quinto Book Shop on Charing Cross Road. Victoria and I originally met at a Balcony TV session in Brighton in 2012 and she supported my Southampton album launch at the Tudor House in September. It was so great to see and hear her again and the venue was so cosy and lovely.
What made the performance extra special was that some of my friends from Germany managed to come, too! And they wore my T-shirts (which you can still buy from my shop page
After a beautiful evening in London I made my way to the Midlands. Last year I performed at LOAF Festival at the Coach House Community Arts Centre, which had been organised by Elena Thomas. I had such a nice time that I couldn’t resist returning this year. Together with Dan Whitehouse
, a good friend since my university days, we provided musical entertainment in the glorious sunshine…
And afterwards Dan and I had the pleasure of filming a live performance in a cemetary for filmmaker Frank Garland
. Here is one of the videos with us performing my new song Red:
As if that wasn’t enough for one day, Dan and I also found the time to finish off the evening at the Sun on the Hill in Birmingham, where we both performed sets for the Free Love Club
After such a wonderful weekend I wasn’t sure what Monday had in store for me… But I should not have doubted my friends and fans in Manchester. I returned to Fuel Cafe, where I last played in 2012. The place is so great. Vegan food galore and full of brilliant creative folk.
The show was a joint evening with fellow Sotonian Richard Lomax
, as well as John Ainsworth
and Mark Mace Smith
. It was a lot of fun and a night full of political and philosophical conversations. Thank you Manchester!
Whilst I was up North it was an obvious choice to spend a few days with my good friend Mikey Kenney
and his band Ottersgear. Mikey and I went on tour in America in 2011 and have so many funny memories of that time. It was sooooo nice to see him and his band again and to hang out. We kicked off our mini-tour with a gig at the Caledonia in Liverpool.
Ottersgear absolutely rocked their set and still found the energy to perform as my backing band as well. I don’t know how they learnt all of those songs, but it sounded fantastic and it was really nice to have a full band play with me again.
After a great night we set off fairly early to North Wales, and more specifically to Bets-y-Coed. Wales is so beautiful, and Bets-y-Coed is a picture book village. We did all of the things tourists are expected to do. We walked through the wood, had fish and chips (or in my case just chips) and rode the miniature railway.
And then we played a completely acoustic performance at the Stables Bar, which proved challenging. But the beautiful scenery completely made up for the technical difficulties and the midges.
We spent the night camping in the Welsh wilderness before parting ways again. Ottersgear were off to continue their tour, and I made my way to Folkestone to return to Googies Art Cafe
, a cosy seaside coffee shop that we discovered early last year. It is an absolute gem and if I lived in Folkestone I would be there all of the time!
It was really difficult to get on the train back to Germany. I had such a wonderful time in England and it was so lovely to see all of my friends and fellow musicians again… But don’t fret, I will be back in October to play a few shows with Dan Whitehouse:
29th September 2013 – The Crescent Theatre
3rd October 2013 – Bootlegger’s, Kendall
8th October 2013 – Slaughtered Lamb, London
10th October 2013 – The Castle, Manchester
This time I will try flying with the accordion. I’ve booked an extra seat for it, so fingers crossed
I finished off the summer with a very special performance in my hometown of Elmshorn Germany. My accordion-playing friends of the trio Handregal and I played a charity gig at the fair trade shop Weltladen TOP 21 to an attentive and diverse audience. It was a great night and it was topped off by the amazing vegan buffet provided by Elmshorn’s Volxkueche.
I can’t wait to see all of you again in the autumn!