Finally it took a while but here’s Summer 2012’s tour log…..European Leg (Part 1)

by Cesco Emmanuel

Ok, so it took me a while to write this. Here’s a brief idea of  what my most recent trip to Toronto and tour across Europe and Quebec with KOBO TOWN entailed……

– July 22nd – Left for Toronto, 3-hr stop-over in Newark, NJ…total in-transit time – 10 hrs

– July 23rd – Arrived in T.O., got picked up by Drew (Band Leader) from Kobo Town, stayed downtown and got a few musical supplies

– July 24th – Kobo Town band rehearsal at downtown Toronto studios, stayed out late and grab dinner with a few friends

– July 25th – Me, Drew (running rather late and almost missed out check-in time) and Don (Bass) leave for Frankfurt, Germany via Air Canada. Watched tons of movies on the plane. 9-hour plane ride

– July 26th – Arrive early in the morning (German time) at Frankfurt Airport. Meet Linsey (Sax) in airport. Get rental van and browse downtown area. Fall asleep by river (Drew took a few embarrassing pictures as proof). Meet rest of band – Derek (Percussion) and Jason (Merchandise) four hours later at Frankfurt airport. Leave for Nuremberg. Arrive around 5PM in Nuremberg, browse around town and grab dinner.

– July 27th – got up early, had a great breakfast at the Mercure Hotel and went shopping. Walter, (Drums) arrives via train from Cologne. Leighton (Photographer) also arrives later that day from Leamington, ONT. Soundcheck and Load-in at 4.30. Our set is at 7PM at the St. Katharina Stage. We are the first band at the 37th Bardentreffen Festival. We pack the ‘bombed-out’ church relic which has now become a live music venue, we get a great response. We stick around the downtown area and grab a few drinks. Reach back at hotel after 2AM.

– July 28th – Next gig at Sebalder Platz stage at 2PM. The weather is a bit cold and rainy but the crowd is welcoming and we do our usual ‘walk-off’ into the crowd. Again we get a great response. We go back to the hotel, Walter agrees to show me some football basics, he exclaims that I am indeed – ‘hopeless’ but we have fun anyway, get bitten by bugs. We all meet up later backstage at the main area for dinner. We decide to find a club and dance until 4AM. We behave like complete idiots dancing to Polka music the whole time. I don’t get to bed until after 6AM. Polka music is it! Seriously!

– July 29th – We stick around for most of the day at the festival. I spend some time inside a beautiful Cathedral in the main square. We have a week-off in-between our next set of shows in Slovenia, so we’re roaming across Eastern Europe. We leave in the evening time for Prague. Walter leaves to head back to Toronto. Derek heads to Berlin to visit an old friend. So myself, Linsey, Don, Drew, Leighton and Jason depart for Prague. We arrive close to 9PM in Prague and after checking into our hotel, we go roaming and grab some quick and easy street food for dinner.

– July 30th – Drew and I find a laundromat, drop off our clothes and along with the entire group, we head to the Prague Castle. The whole walk is cobblestone, absolutely amazing! I take hundreds of pictures. Am more than tired from climbing up stairs, but the view from on top is unbelievable. Walk inside a few churches. All along the bridge there are statues of Christ. We stay in the square and have dinner. Rain starts and we run back to our hotel. Stop off at bar and engage in drinking 70% Absinthe, wait to get completely drunk. Nothing happens. Missed laundry pick-up. Tomorrow.

– July 31st – After breakfast we get laundry. Phew! We leave later in the evening for Budapest, so we spend most of the day walking around and shopping. We head back to the Prague castle. We reach as far as the bridge then turn back as time was running out. We leave after 5PM for Budapest. We arrive at our hotel after 10PM to be told our rooms won’t be ready for another day, we book another hotel just for one night. We stay at the Mercure Hotel in the downtown core. We go grab a late night gyro and browse around quickly downtown.

– August 1st – We check out of the Mercure and into the hotel we were supposed to stay at (I forgot their name), we go roaming across the river and up to the Buda castle. We spend the rest of the day there. We reach back to the hotel after 7PM. We head out to late night club after midnight and stay until about 3AM. Some random bar girl is walking around selling raw carrots out of a bowl. Bizarre! so we take a few. Big mistake! Carrots and beer do not mix. No way.

– August 2nd – Leaving Budapest later in the evening to head for Slovenia. So again we subway it to the Castle. The escalator to get down to the subway is so long that I get dizzy each time. We grab a few more souvenirs and leave around 5.30PM for Slovenia. It takes a while to get to Slovenj Gradec in Slovenia, and we get lost a few times. We finally meet our contact – Bogdan and get to our lodgings – an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast farm. We have a late dinner and get to sleep upstairs in a barn (minus the animals). We’re staying in the mountains of the Slovenian Alps. The view is breathtaking.

– August 3rd – We play later that evening in the Market square of Slovenj Gradec. We awake in the morning to fresh-brewed organic coffee (the best I’ve ever tasted),we decide to give the family who runs the B&B a ‘lil preview of what we do, so we play a few songs, much to everyone’s delight. Later we meet Bogdan and a few other friends for mid-morning drinks at KLUB Bar. We stay there a few hours and finally return to our lodgings for an early dinner. We meet Rob (drums) later at the bar. We heard there’s a strong chance of rain, we think how bad can it be? We had no idea it was going to be practically a storm. It’s a downpour for hours. The show gets called off. So we head to Klub bar for drinks. We do an impromptu ‘bottle and spoon’ performance at the bar for all the patrons. We leave there after 2.30AM but get lost for an hour trying to find our lodgings. Finally get to bed after 4AM.

– August 4th – Quiet day at the B&B, after breakfast we just stick around the farm and I check my mail. We’re playing in the evening as we got rained out the previous day. We play a lil small game of football before we grab dinner and head to our show. We get lost again, what is it with getting lost in this town? Anyway. It’s an indoor venue, crowd seems a bit shy with respect to dancing but they do give a loud round of applause after each song.  We stay to hear the next band, a Slovenian Polka band that lives in Italy. Polka is really big in this part of the world. We go back to Klub bar for a few drinks. Again we get back to the farm at 4AM. We leave mid-day tomorrow to drive back to Frankfurt.

– August 5th – Rob’s uncle and grandfather meet us for lunch at the park, with an amazing view of the Alps. We’re practically on the border with Austria. Rob leaves us at the border and heads back to Slovenia, we drive through Austria to get to Germany. Almost 10 hours worth of driving including stop-offs, restroom breaks. I must mention that at one restroom, we all thought we were going crazy as we heard bird songs throughout the entire bathroom, and it got louder when we flushed. Then we all realized that it wasn’t in our head, it was actually coming through the PA. Phew! We get into Frankfurt hotel after 3AM. Our flight is at 10AM. I decide not to sleep, but just stay up.

– August 6th – Get up early and grab a nice breakfast before heading to the airport. It’s rainy and cold. We get dropped off at the wrong spot. We goto arrivals instead of departures. We have a long walk to our terminal. We run into a few rude travellers who yell at us for standing around. First sour experience in Europe and it’s on the day we’re leaving. It wouldn’t hurt to be nicer at airport folks, just saying. Everyone is always a bit edgy at airports. And that makes travelling all the more stressful and annoying. After we get to our terminal. We get our seats, Linsey has a flight delay back through the U.S. before he reaches Ottawa, so he’s not happy about that, but what can you do? We say our goodbyes and return to Canada.

And that’s our European Summer tour in a nutshell….

Next up……Kobo Town’s Canadian Tour of Quebec, 2012