August 23rd, 2010 by val
Gronigen to Frankfort across miles of windmills and green fields — long walks in wild park near venue Haufener Brotfabric while the Hall of Flames plays on.
Then a long and tiring for all drive to lovely Arona at the south end of Lago Maggiore, a long lake with 1/3 in Switzerland and the rest in Italy just northwest of Milano. But, yesterday was a day off and good times were had by all. Laura, Tucker, Alex, Karl and Tim all swam a couple of times in the clear and dramatic lake. Leslie and I took a day ferry ride north to Isola Bella, a Baroque era castle where the wealth of the very, very wealthy of 500 years ago is still very much on display.
Today we drive east across Italy to the last performance of Laura Veirs and the Hall of Flames in the seaside town of Ravenna – just a bit south of Venice.
August 19th, 2010 by val
It was a long 14 hour drive from London to Dover and through the Chunnel and through a bit of France and across Belgium and on to where the Netherlands meets the North Sea. Tennessee was such a good traveler and Leslie was such a good baby whisperer.
We all have enjoyed the green city of Groningen in the Netherlands. There are bikers everywhere: working women in all attires, including high heels; people carrying paintings, paint cans, flowers, bread, children and partners. A calm prevails as bikers bike and cars pass by slowly.
Today it rained, and Tenn and his granny nannies and many others got caught in a downpour near one of the canals.
The arts festival began today and will continue for the next ten days, with a wide variety of performing arts, including children’s activities. We wandered through the park grounds, sampling tiny Dutch pancakes dusted with powdered sugar, yummy ice cream sandwiches, and great koffee from food kiosks scattered between the venues. Laura, Tucker, Alex and Karl performed in the Spiegeltent, a charming round wooden structure with colorful stained glass windows. They reported (at 12:30 a.m.) that the tent was packed and that the concert was well-received.
I (Val) have noted that this town if filled with tall and beautiful people! It is not uncommon to see a 6 foot tall woman wearing 3″ heals and towering over her male partner!
Tomorrow morning we leave Groningen for Frankfort where Laura and the Hall of Flames perform in the evening.
August 19th, 2010 by raven
Hi all — This is the “Experimental Baby Tour” through Europe. It’s been challenging in many new ways, and way more fun when Tennessee is smiling us through the normally-boring hours waiting around airports and venues. My parents have been doing the blog this time since I’ve been busy with the baby. What do you think? Thanks to the Mom and Dad for helping out, to Tenn for being awesome, and to the band and crew for making this a fun first family tour. Off to play a show in Groningen, Holland…Only three shows left! Love, Laura
August 17th, 2010 by val
Lots of traffic on that drive north from Brighton to London! But, Tim fought our way off the main and very clogged roads to alternative after alternative and arrive we did on schedule at London’s Jazz Cafe. We are just north of central London on Camden where hoards of tourists gaggle and gape. Lots of noise, with TN napping through amazingly loud sounds of street-cleaning trucks brushing by, checkered emergency vehicles with sirens blaring, horns honking and brakes screeching. We walk a mile or so home to our hotel each night and enjoy the calm quiet. We search out green parks and are surprised when we find one designed by an elementary class in true Victorian-garden style. The students made scale drawings, visited an authentic Victorian garden, designed theirs, propagated plants and grew their own plants from seeds, and even built a stumpery.
Back at The Jazz Cafe, Tim did a sound check as The Hall of Flames practiced, Val danced with TN in the stroller, and Leslie photographed the shenanigans. We met Celia Brooks and her friend Justin, walked to a market area for Indian fare in a building originally used as a horse hospital. Waiting as we often were on the street outside the venue, we saw many people stop and look at the posters and some had tickets and others wished they did. One woman was scalping tickets but we don’t know how much money she was asking.
August 16th, 2010 by val
We (this is Leslie writing) had a nice drive south through forest and green Holstien-studded fields from Leicester. We arrived in Brighton, where Laura and Tucker managed the difficult route-finding through extremely narrow and picturesque lanes in the downtown area. We then went to Komedia, a well-known live entertainment venue which has a reputation for hosting award-winning cabaret, music and comedy teams. After the July Flames practiced and we enjoyed delicious, fresh salads from a local vegetarian place called Bill’s, Val and I took off with TN for the 3 mile walk back to our hotel along the beachfront promenade. Tenn loved looking at the magnificent lighted Royal Pavilion, which was originally built as King George IV’s pleasure palace. It’s an extensive series of buildings with impressive Indian architecture, magnificently restored to its original 1823 splendor. We then perambulated back to the hotel, taking in the fresh sea breezes along with assorted people activity along the way. Guess who was soundly asleep by the time we arrived…..
August 15th, 2010 by val
Pimms and lemonaid and VERY loud rock music took Leslie to a new plane here in the midlands yesterday.Â After visiting the artist’s drink tent, Leslie and Alex had conversation that became very animated and fun. Laura and the band had just performed in front of a crowd of 500 jammed into the inside stage.Â Outside rain squalls turned the outside stage to a muddy hill and inside lasers and strobes and a huge striped video screen gave Laura and Tucker and Alex and Karl a wide palette upon which they wove their acoustic and visual spell.Â The drive here from Manchester was across lovely green hills with round-abouts (rotaries in this country) that we are getting better at negotiating.Â At one point Leslie and I had the baby in the car and Laura and the band were in the tour van practicing as Tim drove.Â TN woke up and after some play with Leslie he might have been thinking of food.Â But, Laura was in the other vehicle. Horrors!Â We called on the mobile but the van continued on and on.Â Leslie made ridiculous mouth sounds, faces and blew gently at times.Â This pleased TN and eventually we found a place to park the vehicles and mom sprang into action.Â Today we are soon off to the beaches of Brighton.
August 13th, 2010 by val
Laura and Alex and Karl and Tucker set up their equipment at Bernie’s house and had a good practice session this morning.Â Everyone slept pretty late after our long and disorienting flight from Portland.Â Leslie and I took Tennessee on a neighborhood tour where we watched the ducks and pigeons in the park and enjoyed the ancient trees and elegant if somewhat aged row houses in this neighborhood.
Midafternoon, we drove to the Ruby Lounge where the band set up and ran through their numbers while the “granny nannies” and TN wandered in the central business area of downtown Manchester.
August 13th, 2010 by val
‘Home’ at Bernie’s in Manchester The Laura Veirs European tour started in Portland when we all headed off in different directions with the aim of meeting at Heathrow many hours later. Laura and Tucker and Tennessee left at 6:30 in the morning to fly to London via Philadelphia. Karl left mid morning to go via Dallas. Then Alex left after lunch to go via Calgary and Leslie and I (Laura’s parents) left some hours later to go via Minneapolis. Through the quite workable magic of being packed into packed airplanes, we all met up again in England! Tim picked us up in his Sprinter and we sprinted to a car rental place where we came out with a big (for England) black hatchback.
So, the tour begins. Through rainy downpours and sparkling sun beams and rounding multiple roundabouts, we transited through Birmingham and on to Bernie’s home in Manchester. Here we met the fabulous hostess, Bernie, about whom we had heard so much from Laura over many earlier UK tours. Bernie’s home is a veritable way-station for traveling musicians.
But, this is likely nearly the last as Bernie and her family are clearing out this large home and moving lock, stock and barrel to Vancouver BC at the end of this month.
July 15th, 2010 by raven
On July 9, Laura Veirs, along with Portland musicians Dave Allen, Rachel Blumberg and Jared Mees, discussed factors that contribute to the success of Portlandâ€™s independent music scene, the ever-changing landscape of the music industry and music distribution, and why we should care about sustaining independent music in Portland. Have a listen:
Friday Forum: The Portland Music Scene Audio
Read more here:
PDX City Club – Friday Forum: The Portland Music Scene
June 17th, 2010 by raven
Laura Veirs was eight-plus months pregnant at the time of this recording. It’s something that you can’t pick out, no matter how hard you try – how closely you lean in. The Portland songwriter was with child for the first time and she was still out on the road, but nearing the end of this run of dates before heading home to wait out what could have been any day or any week, when that baby would be in her arms, looking up at the pretty, perfect match for a librarian that anyone could ever imagine, who happens to be its mommy. Veirs didn’t seem at all too uncomfortable, and if she was, she wasn’t letting on. She didn’t have a noticeable waddle. She seemed to be managing fairly well, considering the circumstances and enduring lengthy van rides every morning and afternoon…
Read more and listen to the entire session at Daytrotter