KOBO TOWN’s ‘Jumbie summer tour 2013’ – European Leg – Week 1

by Cesco Emmanuel

The band lineup for this tour was – Drew Gonsalves (Vocals, Guitar, Cuatro); Rob Milicevic (Drums, vocals), Jan Morgan (Trumpet, vocals), Richard Henry (Trombone), Neil Charles (Bass), Don Stewart (Bass, vocals), Cesco Emmanuel (Guitar, vocals)

Here’s a log of our travels…..

June 8th – Drew, Jan & I leave for London, Heathrow airport, Don’s passport is delayed in Washington, so now we are without a bassist. Drew has sourced one in London, so we will meet him tomorrow. Don will later arrive on Weds in Toulouse and we’ll pick him up at the airport. Rob is on his way, direct flight from Ottawa, and we’re meeting Richard (our Trombone guy) tomorrow as well in London.

June 9th – We arrive in London, Heathrow. Jan has his luggage misplaced and sent to Minneapolis instead. We take a taxi to where we’re staying – a lovely B & B in Kentish Town. The family there are lovely and they feed us. We settle in and get dropped to our rehearsal space – STORM. We meet Richard Henry and Neil Charles. We start to practice the material for tomorrow’s show and immediately we are locking as a band. This is amazing! The songs feel right. We rehearse for three hours. Go back to the house, and later grab dinner and walk around downtown London.

June 10th – Gig # 1. Soundcheck and rehearsal at the Old Queen’s Head, Islington. Great, cool venue, with the most amazing lighting fixtures, they’re old gramophones. We meet our rep from the Label, as well as our booking agent for the UK – Katja. We pack the house with press people, a few West Indians and tons of Brits. An old schoolmate of mine from Fatima – Nickolas Bibby, comes to see us play. The guy hasn’t aged a day. We have a great show and stay out late. In the morning we catch the train to Paris. We say goodbye to Neil. Richard is going to join us in Toulouse for our next gig at Rio Loco Festival.

June 11th – Problem with our tickets at Euro Star Rail, purchased through our booking agency. We have to buy new ones. Talk about great customer service here, no help at all from the people at this company. NONE. We eventually get to Paris and rent a mini-van for the rest of the journey. We have two radio interviews and performances at Radio France and Radio Inter. We meet our publicist – Simon, quite a funny guy. We have dinner and find out that Don’s passport is now lost somewhere between Washington and Toronto. So his flight has to be cancelled again. We also find out that France is going on an air strike from tomorrow. We call Neil, and immediately book a train ticket to get him to Paris. ASAP. He leaves with one hour notice. What a guy! We pick him up at 11PM at the train station and start to drive out to Toulouse. We instead get stuck in traffic and drive around Paris for three hours. Eventually, we book into a motel at 2AM.

June 12th – Gig # 2. We get up at 6AM and leave for Toulouse, we get there around 3PM, soundcheck and check-in our hotel. Richard’s flight is cancelled as ALL of France transit is on strike (planes, trains, buses). Great!. So we have to perform without him, he’ll catch a flight to Germany and meet us the next day. We perform at 6.30. We have our own trailer backstage. We’re well-fed. The show is an early show but we get a pretty good response. We head back to our hotel after midnight.

June 13th – we leave for Erlangen, Germany. The longest drive on this trip. We attempt to leave by 10AM, but we leave after noon. We end up jamming out Hotel M, the hotel owner is a very nice guy. We stop in Nime for a late lunch and then head back on the road to Erlangen. We drive through the night, in rain.

June 14th – Gig # 3. 5AM we arrive in Erlangen, we’ve been driving for 16 hours. Richard is there and gives us our keys to the hotel rooms. We are exhausted. Get up at 9AM for breakfast. Soundcheck at 3PM at E-werk club, we’re sharing the night with ‘Yoh To’ – a very popular band in Germany. We have a lil problem with soundcheck and the club engineer, it eventually gets sorted out but tempers were flaring a bit. Not that much people are at this show, which is weird for a friday night, but we get a pretty decent response.

June 15th – Gig #4. 10AM departure from Germany, we drive to Frick, Switzerland. We arrive at 3PM to the Adler Hotel, a rather, old and spooky looking sort of venue, grab a late lunch and walk to the venue – Meck, it’s an outside stage, lovely ambience. We soundcheck and head back to hotel, we’re playing at 10PM. We have a lovely dinner. We’re the third and last band for the night. It starts to rain! The entire crowd stays to hear us. We end up jumping into the crowd at the end to do our walk-off. We get soaked.

June 16th – Gig # 5. 5AM departure for Haarlem, Holland. We grab breakfast at a gas stop, pretty good actually. We arrive in Holland at 2PM, we play at 4PM. It is cold and damp. We get a great response though. Drop off Neil to the airport. Don’s got his passport and is going to meet us in Amsterdam airport tomorrow. We head back to the hotel later that evening and crash.

That was the end of week one.