London psych-gazers Whistlejacket recently wrapped up their first touring spell of Europe, in this feature we bring you the band’s thoughts on the experience. The debut shows saw the quintet making new friends, playing in quirky venues and recording some music in a technology-free studio [that means no wifi, no gadgets, nothing].
So over to frontman George Matheou for the rundown of what happened on the 11-day trip.
4 o’clock Tuesday morning at Sam’s House. The van is packed and we’re ready to leave as we intend to go on – under slept and over excited. Playlist – done, passports? Yep (after sending Danny’s in an uber because he left it at home).
We leave the white cliffs behind us unceremoniously, only taking notice because Charlie (our manager) keeps us updating our socials. I fall asleep almost immediately after the ferry arrives in Dunkirk and stay that way throughout France and Belgium. My phone tells me I’ve been in 3 countries already today.
We arrived in Den Haag dehydrated and tired. The venue, a little outside of town, masquerades as a rehearsal space during the day. This is a tour that includes some bizarre venues, and HPC/Bazhart is just the first. We arrived and dinner was provided. Not only was everyone catered for but there were multiple, heaped servings of pasta and baskets of bread to welcome us to The Netherlands.
After realising we had a vegan, I was made a feast of my own. We were treated so well, and were quickly embarrassed to be British, specifically from London. We’ve never seen catering for bands as extravagant and accommodating of dietary requirements as many of the shows we had on this tour. We were provided accommodation in every place we went to, often meaning total strangers opening up their homes to us and in one case, just giving us her keys.
We ended our first night sat on the canal celebrating a good show, meeting new friends, seeing old friends and the tour ahead. Apparently Utrecht is known as little Amsterdam. They should just call it Utrecht. As with many of the places we stayed we saw almost none of it, but the 200 square meters, or so, of it that we did see was beautiful. We saw a canal with hanging lights outside restaurants and in the clear late summer, this place demands its own hype. The show wasn’t too busy, but we played for ourselves and whoever else was in the room.
We stayed in Amsterdam that night, and the next day was spent in a super cool, fully analog studio. I’m in neither camp in the battle of analog versus digital. Both have their merits but it’s nice to be in a studio rather than a bedroom. Again we were treated so nicely. The session was free and we were given food, drinks, whatever we wanted. There was no wifi, a smartphone ban and only a mismatch of VHS’ for entertainment. Who needs entertainment in a studio anyway?
Groningen. De Gym is an old gym [no shit right?] and we arrived to a banana and peanut curry, which was delicious. That’s one to make now that we’re back. The venue was a maze of different rooms, including one where we slept. It was full of bunk beds, tables and kitchen stuff. That was the best show so far, and definitely one of the best shows overall. The overall highlight though, as with so many of the shows, was the people. I can’t emphasize this enough. After being taken out for drinks we were given the keys to the venue, where we slept. When does that ever happen in London?
It was a long drive from Groningen to Copenhagen. Nice ferry though, decent coffee and sufficient table space for a game of Uno. We were delayed and got to the venue late. The show was great though, cool venue. Never have I been given drinks tokens that can be exchanged for cocktails in London. Apparently we depleted their Kahlua supply! Espresso martinis were apparently invented because some dame came into a bar and crassly asked him to make her a drink that would “wake me up, and then fuck me up”. The bartender’s subsequent creation was the first espresso martini, initially called ‘The Stimulant’. We were stimulated.
Find part two of Whistlejacket’s adventures in Europe here.
Whistlejacket’s new EP ‘Oh Brother’ is available now via Fierce Panda Records. To stream and purchase, head here: http://smarturl.it/OhBrotherEP.