NO blues ON tour: Greece part 1

February 15th, 2011

We get all sorts of requests to play somewhere in the world, most of them unfortunately will not result in a real gig or tour.
Sometimes it is the money, sometimes festivals or promoters change their mind, but most of the time it is our busy schedule that makes it impossible. It is also always an experiment to go to a country for the first time;  new people, new audiences and new promoters. You just never know what to expect.
So when we got an email from Athens inquiring if we were able to do a short tour in Greece (Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki) in the beginning of February we were  happy, but not already packing our stuff.
We never played in Greece before, did not sell  thousands of CD’s over there and were unsure if we had airplay. The only thing we were sure of was Anne-Maarten visiting a local club in Patras two years ago and finding himself listening to the music of NO blues.

So much for valid arguments to say yes or no to a 6 day tour to Greece.  No advance payments, no returned contracts and slow replys on our emails.  By that time we got an email from Aris, our local promoter in Athens, which contained the flight tickets. At that time we decided to take the risk and go to Greece.
Still a little unsure about the rock solidness of this tour we boarded our plain for Athens on Thursday February the 3rd. We left Holland on a beautiful sunny morning to arrive in Athens 6 hours later in a cold, stormy and very, very wet city.  After a short meeting with Aris we left with Lavros (our driver) on a 7 hour drive through rain, wind and snow to Thessaloniki. So after we left home somewhere at 8 in the morning, we arrived in our hotel at 2:30 at night. Welcome to the reality of being on tour, it is 90% about waiting and travelling and 10%  about playing.

After a short night we woke up in a different Thessaloniki: loads of sunshine and time for breakfast at Starbucks.  The club we had to play was right next door to our hotel,  so the best part of the day we spend with a walk along the beautiful seashore. It is always a good sign to find posters for the gig along the way:

Strangely enough we are thousands of miles from Deventer and still find a poster connecting us to our home venue the Burgerweeshuis (aka the Burgerproject). Tonights gig is in a club called RaiAlive. Most venues in Greece are privately owned and so gigs are a great financial risk for their owners.  Together with the fact that there is a crises (and a big one) in Greece and everything in this country is open for negotiations , it was no miracle to us the owner liked to discuss a discount on the fee.

More ON this story in part 2