It’s a bit cooler in Berlin today, the last week has been stinking hot. Just saying.
On Tuesday night we went to see Patti Smith and her band perform her seminal album Horses and by the end of the show the Tempodrom was like a sauna. At the healthy age of 68, her voice and personality have lost none of their edge or power. Soft and ethereal at times, vicious and violent at others, her performance seems to be unaffected by the 40 years that have passed since Horses was released. (If it has, in fact, been dimmed, then lord knows how crazy a Patti Smith show must have been in the 1970’s). There must also be very few peformers who can admonish any parents in the audience who might have brought their children to the show without giving them earplugs and then later tear the strings out of her guitar in a wail of anti-establishment feedback. At times it was transcendent, almost religious. Basically, Patti Smith still rocks harder then just about anyone.
(Thanks to Esther for the video 🙂 )
In general news, Phil was here for a week and Leanne has also arrived from Joburg and is staying with Rebecca – so things have been very homelike. We’ve just been wondering around, eating, drinking beer and playing table tennis (if we can find a public table with isn’t being dominated by the hardcore locals).
I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to my plans for the next year and a half or so and after having a bunch of chats with various people and some really helpful emails from Julien (my PR guy), I think I have settled on a basic plan:
In terms of touring, I will come back to Europe in November for a tour that will take in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and my first show in Poland (I have booked a lot of this tour already). After that, in April next year, I will try tour Italy, southern France and Spain (mostly places I have not been to before); then come back to Europe again in the summer if I am lucky enough to find some festival bookings; and then come back again in September/October for another round of Germany/France/etc. Concurrently, I want to try have a new album done by April with a crowd funding campaign leading up to it.
Beyond all this, it seems that a good general idea to follow for the next few years would be to a) revisit places often enough to allow a relationship with the venues and the audience to develop (that is one or twice a year), b) make sure that my set is always developing and/or that I have new releases to promote in order to make those return shows as attractive as possible, c) find new places to play and, finally, d) keep an eye out for potential opportunities to work with people on the business side of things (e.g. labels, bookers, etc).
(Just as an aside, I see that final point as being a bit different from the others. The first three are things that I can really work at myself and put a lot of direct effort into, while finding a label (and the right label at that) or a booker or whathaveyou would only be achieved indirectly as a result of getting the first three right – and might possibly be something that I don’t, or perhaps even don’t need to, ever achieve).
I go back Joburg on Monday. Weird.