When not spending time in excellent bands such as Grubs, Trust Fund and Towel (and probably 12 more since posting this), Roxy Brennan releases equally excellent records as Two White Cranes. Last year’s self-titled album was a direct and beautiful collection of sad and triumphant songs, and was one of 2014’s very best. In May 2015 Two White Cranes played in France, Luxembourg and Germany, and Roxy was kind enough to give us these tour memories. Enjoy, then buy her music.
TWO WHITE CRANES EUROPEAN TOUR DIARY 2015
So this was an unusual tour for me as it was all booked by a BOOKING AGENT which is I suppose less DIY than my previous tours but because it was my band I actually did more IY than usual (lots of logistics). The idea of driving around Europe terrified me greatly and it turns out in reality it was terrifying. But we survived. Here are my hazy recollections and also some shoddy drawings
– THE CAR-
Mostly the tour consisted of driving. Nick drove us and I think it was over 2000 miles in 8 days so that is pretty wild and he must be pretty tired. I sat in the front, navigating badly cos I was too cheap to buy a sat nav (I regret that decision) and putting on the tunes. Owen sat in the back and this one time he said something funny about France looking like Middle Earth, but on the whole his contribution to this portion of tour was minimal.
– THE TUNES –
So obviously with three ardent music enthusiasts spending a week in a car together, the bangers were plentiful. My favourite songs that we listened to were:
Long Way Around – The Dixie Chicks
Love Goes On! – The Go-Betweens
Love Buzz – Nirvana
(they all begin with L what does that mean???)
– THE SHOWS –
Every show was totally different. 2 were in cafes, 1 in a record shop, 1 in an art centre and 2 in bars. Everyone was exceedingly nice and we drank vast quantities of free beer. The main thing that was odd was that every show (apart from Berlin) was JUST ME playing. No supports. And at most of the shows I played for like 45 min to an hour. Like people wanted me to play for that long – I wasn’t just being a diva. It was wild. To bulk out the set and help boost the songwriting quality I did 3 covers which were:
After – The Middle Ones
Rosemarie – Superchunk
The Promised Land – Bruce Springsteen
– THE BANTER –
For some reason I thought doing banter which not everyone might understand was rude so I didn’t really speak for all of the shows, which was extremely awkward. Occasionally Owen would say “danke” so quietly that no one could hear him. BUT on the last night we realised we could just do banter and literally everyone in Germany speaks perfect English so I was extremely witty and charming and they loved it.*
– THE BURPING –
For some reason everyone gave me fizzy water for the shows and this combined with the beer meant that I averaged about 12 burps per set, usually during particularly poignant bits of my break up songs. Sigh.
– THE VIEW FROM THE CAR –
My favorite thing was observing passing landscapes. They didn’t change all that much but they were all a little different to home and that was a satisfying feeling. Watching fields and wind turbines fly past makes you feel like you are achieving something somehow.
– THE PEOPLE –
We met so many lovely, kind people on the tour who gave us their beds and also delicious food.
– Jakob sang us some totally brilliant songs in Berlin and was also dressed v well.
– In Colmar a really lovely man made a film of us singing a song on a boat in the sunshine and also when we saw two dogs going passed he said “double dog” which I found hilarious for a good few hours.
– In Frankfurt Bernhard was a LEGEND of a promoter/host taking us to an awesome bar and telling us that when they first started making Nivea cream they put lion’s urine in it. If you don’t travel you don’t find out things like this. You can hear Berhard’s music here: http://www.boohoomusic.com/
– My favourite person of tour was the DJ at the show in Hamburg. He was called Tom Ende and he played loads of songs I love but in really unexpected ways – Low and Queens of the Stone Age and also The Strokes. Imagine! It was like being 16. He was very lovely and gave me a hug.
There were lots more people but presumably you have stopped reading by now.
– THE CONCLUSION –
It was a really interesting experience for me to do this tour. It was a lot of work and a lot of worry to put into something that is essentially just for me – my songs, my band. I really like being in other people’s bands because I have a lot of belief in the value of other people’s music. Having that belief in my own music is a little difficult for me for whatever reasons. But this tour felt like an exercise in investing in myself. I think overall it paid off, in that I feel much tougher and like I could organise a tour anywhere now. And also I can play for an hour and not fall over. And also although I pretended to Nick and Owen that I was bored of my songs so that I looked cool, actually I love the music I write and I could sing it forever. So I guess I feel pretty invigorated by the whole experience and definitely would do it again. Owen and Nick were super good to humour me by coming along and I am really really grateful to them. 10 out of 10 European tour, well done.
* A banter footnote is that Owen is traditionally very patchy on banter but at the homecoming show we played at The Cube at the very end of the tour he pulled out the best banter I’ve ever heard about being drunk and leisurely and the audience lapped it up. He is and will always be my hero.