March 11th – The Crown , Scissett, Yorkshire
I woke up on the 11th of March, early doors to get my clothes and equipment packed for the little Yorkshire tour ahead. We were only away for two We Steal Flyers gigs so I didn’t need much for the trip. Mel (Derek’s wife) was picking me up around 11.30am to drive back up to her house and then we could leave from there. One of the gigs was in Scissett, Yorkshire and the other in Birstall, Yorkshire and are both repeat venues.
Mel grabbed me and my gear from Bedlington after a pit-stop to the yummy ‘Seahorse Chip shop’ and we headed back to her house and Derek and I had our lovely chip buttys before heading off on our drive. The chippy is an awesome way to set you up for the day!
We got the car packed up with the PA system and guitars and then we set off on our sunny drive from Broomhill, down the A1 to Yorkshire, with the ‘Hollywood Vampires’ album keeping us company for most of the journey.
We turned up to our hotel for the night after two and a half hours drive, The Fairway in Barnsley which we have stayed in many times before on our musical travels around the country. A great little hotel with a nice bar and food downstairs and Derek’s favourite little mini beds in the family rooms. Hahah. We pulled up outside and parked right outside the doors of the reception and there was a huge man mountain of a guy walking in holding his clothes in one hand and on the back of his neck a huge tattoo of some darts with the name Kong above it. Derek loves his darts on Sky and with a quick google we found he was a professional Darts player with a bit of a crazy history thanks to the Wikipedia World telling on him. We tried to catch up with him for a photo opportunity but he was offski to his room and nowhere to be found anywhere.So we headed up to our room and Derek shoved his bed into the corner near the window so I couldn’t tickle his feet while he was sleeping.
After we had a hotel room yucky coffee I headed downstairs to feed my greed while Derek chilled in his room with a peanut butter sandwich. Before we left Mel had been talking about a Fajitas party she was having while we were away and I think I had been secretly fantasizing about them ever since she said the words. So…… ‘Spicy Cajun Chicken Fajitas’ in the bar was my choice and they was lurverly…. and spicy!
The Crown in Scissett was twenty minutes drive from the hotel and we have played here many times before. It’s always a regular gig on our tours and always a fun gig with lots of friends and fans turning out for us what ever day of the week it is. I like the gig as the first half of the show everyone is quite quiet and we get to play more chilled and original songs and then when we play the second half of the show after the break they are all up for a good sing song and have some fun with the set. We had a star tambourine player this time who decided to join us on stage for a song and sat between Derek and I banging away looking at the floor. I think he may have been a little intoxicated. We finished up the second set and after seven encores later the land lady was still asking for us to play more but you have to stop somewhere and sometimes the show needs to stop in a certain place to leave the bar when its right. The gig was great fun as always though and we headed back to our hotel room with some lovely cheese and pickle sarnies, courtesy of the bar, for an early morning snack before sleep time.
March 12th – The Black Bull, Birstall , Yorkshire
I woke up pretty early in the hotel and had a quick spoach around in the online world before rising completely. I needed a proper coffee so I headed downstairs for a quick chat with the Curly one and ordered myself a full English breakfast and coffee, I couldn’t help myself once I walked into the restaurant and smelt the yummy coffee and bacon aromas floating around my nostrils. Derek got packed up and joined me for a coffee a little while after and we sat and chilled in the bar for a couple of hours as we were officially homeless without a hotel room from midday.
After chilling and chatting we headed to Barnsley to see if we could find any second hand shops around the town with goodies in. Its part of our little tour routine now when we are away to go wandering around towns and villages and find some decent second hand CD’s for the car or great books lying around in the charity shops without a home.
We managed to find lots of outdoor market stalls going on in the town centre and stumbled on an awesome comic stall with lots of great books, comics and DVDs. Derek got some great Spiderman comics as a little present for his little daughter Rebecca as she loves her comics and I managed to find an awesome score ‘The Black Crowes – Shake your money maker’ CD for the car journey to the gig. A great little wander around buying other bits and pieces and then we headed back to the car and drove thirty minutes to Birstall to the Black Bull which was the next gig.
We were there by 4:30pm so it was a long time before our gig at 9:00pm. We got the equipment in and I had a cheeky half of Doombar then we headed upstairs to the old courtroom above the pub where they hold a few different music nights. It still has the old judge boxes in and we thought we would quickly make a little video whilst we had the place to ourselves. Here it is!
We had a little back room area near where we played in the bar and when we came out to start at 9:00pm, all the tables and chairs in front of us were full of familiar faces and the lights were turned out. I loved the first set and the quietness while we performed but then we came out for the second set and plugged in and there was no guitar coming through the PA system and after a few channel changes, some crazy noises and lead changes it wasn’t going to happen. Its a nightmare sometimes when things go wrong and you can’t find a solution or a fault anywhere. After I tried everything I could think of we asked the crowd if they would mind us doing the second set unplugged and told them what was happening. They were all fine with it and we left the vocal mics on pushed back a little, gathering some of the acoustic sound for the PA. It worked out great as the crowd were well behaved and there to see us live. It was a totally different gig to our usual second set but the challenge is always accepted and everyone loved it! We nailed it and had a great time with everyone and its always another experience of playing unplugged incase anything happens in the future!.
At the end of the show, we were nearly packed up and a lovely lady asked us to play a complete unplugged song for the bar before we left and she would stick a contribution in our little merchandise funds before we headed off. We played ‘My Girl’ unplugged and the bar was completely silent for us and it was a great little few minutes in the Black Bull.
We hit the road around midnight with ‘Tenacious D’ in the CD player for most of the journey home and landed at Derek’s house around 2:30am where Curly was waiting to pick me up and take me back to Bedlington for sleepy time after our little mini tour of two days!
I hope your still enjoying the reading and stories of my journeys through out the year! Thanks for all the continued support and taking a little time from your busy lives to delve into mine a little. See you somewhere soon!
Jason – Amazing Adventures Always
Day 9 – Lucerne to Immensee and back
I woke up to day nine of the tour and opened my little red hotel room curtains to the view of Lucerne lake being scattered in heavy snow. The lake looks stunning no matter what time or what is happening outside with the weather and this tour it has went from a dark gloomy lake to sparkling in the sunshine, heavy rain bouncing off the water and now snow. It was perfect. The swans outside were acting like they had never seen snow before and they we’re doing crazy fast circles round and round as the snow landed on them by the bridge. It was like watching children playing and they looked like they were having lots of fun together in their tight little groups of paddling buddys.
We were travelling to Immensee in Zug for tonight’s gig at the Sprue & Weisen Bar. Mark was driving us and Steffi had been messaging already saying she was cooking chilli for us at the bar and had been a little generous with a bottle of red wine. Not to the chilli but to herself as she cooked us up our meal. We have played at this venue on quite a few other tours and this place had connections with Steffi’s family. Its a great, moody, low lit bar and its also a smoking bar. I’ve been off the cigarettes for 15 months now but when I see people smoking , I still miss it! I doubt that will ever go away though when I spend such a lot of my time in bars, clubs and venues.
We loaded in and set up the PA system and had a quick sound check, then it was time for our food. Steffi sat us down in the bar and came out with her amazing feast for us all. A great big pan of yummy chilli and fresh roasted potatoes to fill us up. She did an amazing job on the food and we pretty much demolished all of it. Lots of her friends and family had turned up to the bar and Christoph the owner of the place. We got caught up with everyone and met some newbies and before we knew it, it was time to get started even though I think we all felt like we needed a lie down after all the great food.
The first set flew by and was nice and chilled , in the break Steffi asked if she could get up and play a song before we started again and if I would join her. Christoph joined us too and Steffi got through her first time on a microphone playing and singing a song to an audience. We had a great laugh and Steffi could hardly get up off the chair at the end of her song. I’m not sure if that was the nerves or the red wine from the cooking or a mix of both. Hahaha.
We finished off the second set and after the gig we said our goodbyes and headed back to Lucerne. Mark and I headed to Shamrocks for a couple of cheeky Guinness where we met a lovely Swiss guy who was so full of beans. He had a big guitar badge on his jacket and we got talking about a few things at the bar while his wife and friends sat behind us chatting away.
He asked us if we would head to Wonderbar with them for a drink. Mark had to head back but I’m not one to pass up on a beer and a bit banter so I headed to Tschuppis Wonderbar with three complete strangers to the other side of town. The music is always great in Wonderbar and there was a rock DJ on in the corner playing all sorts of great stuff. We had a few beers, giggles and danced around the bar with beer mats stuck everywhere. When it was time to head back we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the hotel ready for some shut eye! On day 10 we have to move hotels to the wonderful Schweizerhof for our last two days. Two more gigs to go!
Jason , Amazing Adventures Always
Day 4 – Pickwicks Bar – Baden, Switzerland
I woke up on day four of the tour to my usual routine of this trip. I checked my phone for anything of importance, messages or new ladsbible videos, made a cup of coffee and opened up the curtains and shutters of room 101 to the view of Lucerne lake. It looked very different this morning however. There was millions of little circles forming all over the surface from the heavy rain pour that was happening. The promenade outside where people are usually sitting drinking coffee and beers was completely empty and there was no one around, just the swans and ducks bobbing up and down on the lake with the odd character all wrapped up, wandering across the wooden bridge.
There was no point in heading out anywhere in the crazy weather outside, but it was still a nice view to watch rom inside. Even as a kid I’ve always enjoyed being indoors when the weather is bad and you can see outdoors or hear the wind howling away. I used to love sleeping over at my grandmas when she lived onto the back of Dr. Pit Park in Bedlington. The back bedroom window looked over the park and you could see it all light up when we had lightning storms, then sitting looking out the window and counting between the thunder and lightning so we could try and work out how close it was to us.
I got caught up on the tour diary and before I knew it, it was time to meet Mark at 3.30pm to head to Baden for tonight’s show. Derek and I headed off with backpacks once again to the meet up point in the rain where we found Steffi. The four of us were heading to Pickwicks in Baden tonight. It was dark when we arrived there and Steffi saved the day being Navigator as Marks Sat-Nav was having none of it. I’m sure sometimes they just have bad days and think “that’s it!! I’m gonna take you everywhere but where you want to be today” but luckily we had Super Steffi-Nav and she got us into Baden and found our way to the back of Pickwicks ready to load in for the gig.
After we got set up and said our hello to some of our buddy’s we aint seen since October it was time for a little drink and some food! I had myself an awesome ‘Pickwicks Special bacon Salad’ but no… I aint trying to get rid of the churb! I can’t really eat much before a gig and sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all as it really can effect how I sing, play and perform when I’m full to the beans! Hahah. The salad was awesome though and it was covered in yummy balsamic vinegar!
Tonight’s gig was two , one hour sets and Derek was still struggling with his ear since the flight. He battled on though through the sets like a champ as always. We really do go through lots of illness through out our gigs and shows. Pretty much everything can cause some kind of troubles when you are singing 3 or 4 times a week and a simple cold or sore throat can really make a gig a lot more hard work for us. That said, it has to be pretty bad for us to not play a show and of course we still enjoy it. It is just one of the challenges of a being a full time musician. The first set flew over and we always have a great crowd of nice people when we land at Pickwicks, Baden twice per year. Just before the end of the set we got a lovely Australian guy Ryan up to help us sing out the last song of the first set and got everyone singing along to finish up for our break.
Before we went back on Ryan asked if he could play a song with me before the start of the next set. He had a great big warm voice on him, and was looking to head down a musical solo career. We jumped into Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons which I’d never played before but I love the challenge of having to jump in, watch and listen to everything and add something to songs I’ve never performed live before. He went down brilliantly with everyone in the bar and I hope he really does give his music a go, it’s nice to see nice people do well with something they love.
Derek and I jumped straight in and raced through an hour long second set with a couple of encores for all the happy music loving folk that were wanting to hear more. The gig went down great and Steffi even ended up swinging off the chandeliers after a few beers because she loved it that much!
After the gig I had another sneaky whisky and Mark did an awesome job of making the equipment dissapear into the van. We hit the road back to Lucerne with an awesome Burger King treat on the way back to make up for my salad earlier. We sat around a table talking about comics, marvel, DC comics and aqua-man for a good half an hour while Steffi just sat there drunk and yawning, confused at three grown men talking about cartoons, comics and movies.
We headed back to the hotel across our little wooden bridge once again and it was time to hit the snoozy pit for a kip. Tomorrow’s gig is up in Grindelwald, home of the 13,020 ft Eiger Mountain.
Thanks for reading! Jason
Amazing Adventures Always
Follow more of the tour at www.facebook.com/westealflyers
Day 1 of the Swiss Winter Tour 2016
Today the Switzerland ‘We Steal Flyers‘ Winter 2016 Tour has arrived and before I knew it, its the end of the day and I am parked up in my hotel room over looking Lake Lucerne and its just turned midnight. Here is a little run through of how things panned out today!
I woke up around 10am and was feeling a little spaced out and little rough as it was my big brother Andy’s Birthday yesterday. Curly and I popped down with a present and card around 5pm. Andy was in his little workshop out back and came in to make us some cups of coffee before we headed off. Somehow the coffee magically turned into a glass of red wine for Curly and some of Andy’s home made Sloe Gin for me. We had a good bit crack in the Vares Kitchen and I finished off one of his bottles of Sloe Gin and moved onto the next one. After Andy had tried out his desktop drum kit and had some giggles with a head massager from Momma Vare I headed home and took the last of the sloe gin with me.
Anyhow after a bit catch up with a friend at the house and couch time with the Curly and more of gin I woke up in the morning still feeling a bit potent after Andy’s secret weapon sloe gin. I still had a few things to sort out and Mel was heading to get me to head off to Manchester Airport around 12.30pm.
Mel, Derek and the kids tipped up and I was pretty much sorted thanks to the awesome help of the Curly machine who packed up my case and got pretty much everything ready to go for me, while I stumbled around looking hazily for guitar cables, strings and chargers.
We headed south in the car with me driving, Derek in the passenger seat and Mel and the kids having a party in the back seats. It took just over 3 hours to get down to Manchester airport with the constant roadworks that seem to be on every main road in the UK for the last 4 or 5 years. We had one little wee stop at Wetherby services and had time for a quick Greggs beef & veg pastie then headed straight off again.
We made it to Manchester airport just twenty minutes before the bag drop closed and dashed through the customs to arrive at Gate 9 as it was closing, jumped on the end of the queue and before we new it we were up in the air and heading off to Basel, Switzerland. I got the window seat and deg sat in the middle talking to his new buddy and giving her a We Steal Flyers sticker from his bottomless pocket of sticky circle pictures of me and him sharing a bathroom. Hahaha!
We were planning on jumping on a train to Lucerne but the amazing Swiss Steffi turned up in her little Clio to pick us up and take us to the Hotel Pickwick. As usual I jumped in the drivers seat and headed off on the wrong side of the road. Its a strange thing driving on the wrong side of the road and the roads are pretty strict in Switzerland and before I knew it we were heading along a motorway in a 120kmh stretch and a speed camera lit up the road behind me. I think it may have sneakily changed to a 100kmh and confuddled other side driving Shaggy didn’t see it. Oooops!! either that or it was just some fireworks for the Flyers arriving in Switzerland.
We had a quick stop off on the motorway at a co-op which for some reason had a Sex toy shop in the entrance? So the first place we stopped off on tour in Switzerland was the MEGA SEX STORE! Hahahha… After Steffi checked out all the ‘toys’ and Derek and me grabbed a few goodies to nibble on we hit the road again to Lucerne trying not to set off any more speed cameras.
I’m not sure how many tours exactly we have done in Switzerland but its always a nostalgic feeling driving in as you come over the bridge over Lucerne Lake and you remember some of the times had in this beautiful part of the world.
“Have guitar, will travel” was an album by Bo Diddley and when I first started getting into the acoustic guitar as a young laddie, I remember it popping up in different places and my musical buddy Paul Bainbridge used to be always singing and playing Billy Bragg songs. He would teach me his songs and he gave me a book with his music in with ‘Have guitar, will travel’ on a silhouette drawing of Billy Bragg. Its always stuck with me and I even have a old Tattoo with the words on a scroll on my left arm as I sit here in Lucerne in a hotel writing this Blog with the Lake Lucerne in front of me and my guitar sitting by me in its case.
We met up with Mark our tour manager here in Switzerland and Mr. Bill Weir and the five of us had a catch up and I sank a few Guinness as we sat in the corner of the Hotel Pickwick bar on the lake of Lucerne. Then it was up to our rooms to get some well needed sleep after I made a little start on the blog.
Before I knew it I’m waking up by an amazing lake in Switzerland and ready for another step into more Amazing Adventures Always. We are here with a great tour ahead of us!!
Here is our tour dates for the adventure ahead!
- 19th Gallus Pub, St. Gallen, Switzerland
- 20th Pickwick Pub, Baden, Switzerland
- 21st Expresso Bar Grindelwald, Switzerland
- 24th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland
- 25th Spreu & Weizen, Immensee, Switzerland
- 26th Schweizerhof Hotel, Luzern, Switzerland
- 27th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland
You can keep up to date with the tour with photos and updates along the way on our Facebook page. If you can and it’s your thing please share away anything you can regarding the tour and our dates. It all helps with making our shows awesome!
I’m off to do some adventuring and I hope you have an awesome day ahead of you!
Jason – Amazing Adventures Always
Ever since I came across this wonderful internet world that we all pretty much take for granted these days, I have been involved in some way in performing & sharing live music in some way online.
From virtual Avatars performing on a great range of bizarre, beautiful, and wonderfully built 3D venues and stages in a completely virtual world to performing live audio and video streams from my studio, bedroom or even streaming live shows from a venue in the UK.
I’ve met some of my greatest friends and fans along the way of the journey and some of them still continue to be some of the friendliest, nicest and most active people when it comes to getting involved in my music, sharing and supporting online and they are all from very different places in this wonderful little world.
So…. I thought I’d share a few little things about each platform and let you have a little insight into each one and maybe if your a musician or a music lover that wants to watch or perform from home then you can have a little look and see if something here might help you in some way. So here goes…..
Secondlife : Secondlife is a massive multi player 3D universe that lives online. It has no computer controlled avatars, just real people. It also has its own currency which converts to which ever currency you work in. I’ve done a lot of live shows in Secondlife over the years and had some great fun in there and also built on a nice group of friends and fans. I first ended up heading to Secondlife to discover the music scene in there from a chat with someone in Camfrog (See below) and from there I met a venue owner called Fluffy who managed to help me out and let me play some shows in her own 3D venue called Casablanca. She became a great friend and now I travel to Ireland or she comes here at least a few times a year to meet and catch up. You can earn lindens through a virtual tip jar which is placed on the stage while you perform and you can also be paid from venue owners a fee for an hour show for instance I did a few shows for ‘Orange’ the mobile phone company in there who had they’re own venue with 3D models of new phones coming out. They pay to have an artist play in they’re venue and people come to listen and take a look around. The money converts back to your own currency when transferred out to Paypal.
Here is a little video of me performing in Secondlife, all the avatars you see in the video are listeners who came to the show. This might give you a better idea of how it works and let you see how it looks.
Homepage – www.secondlife.com
StreetJelly : A fantastic online video streaming platform with a very ‘online busking’ feel. StreetJelly is completely free to sign up and all you need is a webcam and your off on your own streaming show. It is best if you understand sound a little and you have some microphones and a mixer to get it sounding nice before you stream but it is not needed or necessary. This place is all about live music and has such a great community feel about the place, where people like to get involved, listen to and perform music live to people who love it. You can also be tipped by listeners and they have a great little pin badge system for achievements which the listeners can award which makes it great fun. This is my favourite of all the platforms at the moment.
You can check out the live music and my StreetJelly profile HERE
StageIT : This is another brilliant live video and audio streaming platform. A very professional outfit and has artists like Bon Jovi and Jason Mraz performing on there live. On StageIT you must schedule a show and set a ticket price to sell your entry tickets. You perform for 30mins in front of your webcam/webcams and then a short encore set. If you have friends or a fan base which is outside of your own country this is a great way to give them the chance to watch you live.
I will be performing as We Steal Flyers with Derek on StageIT on the 1st of May 2016 and you can grab your tickets online HERE if you would like to check it out.
Homepage – StageIt
Camfrog : This is a live video chat room style platform. Camfrog seems a little out of date now and I haven’t performed in there for many years. You have to install software to use Camfrog and then you have to find and join a room and it seems a lot harder these days to find any music rooms in there. If you do there doesn’t seem to be many people hanging out in them. Camfrog music rooms have more of an open mic feel to them where you added yourself to a queue and waited for your turn to sing a song on the camera to the rest of the room. Camfrog isn’t aimed at musicians in anyway and is more just a general video chatroom service. At the same time it can be fun when it all comes together with the right people listening.
Homepage – Camfrog
BlogTV : This was very similar to StreetJelly but not quite aimed at musicians as much. You had to pay for a yearly Pro fee and the people at BlogTV sponsored ‘We Steal Flyers’ a lifetime PRO account for the ‘100 gigs in 100’ days tour and we performed live on there every tuesday as part of the tour. During the shows of the tour we managed to get numbers of viewers into the thousands at one time. Unfortunately BlogTV is no more and it got moved over to YouNow which wasn’t quite the same and not as much fun. It was a great time while it lasted though.
Homepage – YouNow
So hopefully this gives you a little brief insight into how some of these platforms work and maybe even gave you some excitement to jump in, listen or perform live yourself. They can be great fun and as a musician it can be very rewarding performing to an online audience and a great way to reach an otherwise unreachable audience.
If you have any questions about any of them or would like some more information you can drop me a message or tell me about your own experience in the comments below.
Enjoy your streaming, listening and creating ‘Amazing Adventures Always’ and if you’d like to come join me in a StreetJelly show, get signed up and hit the follow button.