La Tour Eiffel

It’s very difficult to find time on tour to do anything.  The entire day is spent packing the car, finding food, driving, finding the venue, unpacking the car, setting up, sound-checking, eating again (maybe), hanging around, and then actually playing.  OK, I missed the number one thing that musicians on tour are always searching for above anything else – the wifi connection.  We have to constantly connect to reply to emails, book shows, facebook the next event etc.

Alessio told me as we were driving out of Le Mans two days ago that there is a very big cathedral there, but of course we didn’t go to see it.  Any lucky free hours we find ourselves with on tour we generally spend trying to get some sleep if possible, or washing things, but occasionally, just on the off chance that we find ourselves with not far to travel and something on the route, we might do something touristy.  Last time we toured in France we took a quick spin around Lourdes.  This morning we have a few hours to spare with only a couple of hours to get to Lille this afternoon, and Pete & Alessio have both never been up the eiffel tower.

Well guys it doesn’t look like it’s going to be today.  So here is a picture of the tour eiffel that I got on the internet.  Maybe next time, alright?


a tour update quickie

We’re almost halfway done with our tour.  So far we’ve been battling against snow, rain, sore throats and illness, but the show must go on, as they say.  It has been amazing catching up with so many wonderful people along the way.  We had a fantastic night at Mondo Bizarro on Saturday with Bed Bunker and Head On.  Here are a couple of pics of us with the boss:

beast records


And not forgetting the awesome show at Ernee on Friday night, put together by the one and only Headsucker, and his beautiful wife Emma, who made sure that we left their town at least 3 kilos heavier than we arrived.  Here’s a video of a song we just recorded at SAE with Ivan Rossi, a cover of the JC classic, Give my love to Rose.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a new Beast Records release coming out soon in tribute to the man in black.  This video is courtesy of Phil LaCleck, (merci Phil).

Pete had an unintentional night off last night to rest his voice, sorry Caen, but we’ll be back next time I promise.  He has slept and dosed up on everything under the sun to try and recover for the rest of the tour.  Thanks so much to Alex for all the help and honey.  Tonight we head to Le Mans, tomorrow Paris.  Hope to see you on the road.


Post Tour Blues

After the show last night in Nimes we decided it was late and we were all too tired to risk driving all night back to Milan.  We stayed with Sylvain and spent all day in the car today driving back.  From 17 degrees and sunshine in Nimes this morning:

nimes in the morning

To thick fog and 5 degrees in Milan.  Just about enough reason to get a bit of post tour blues on arrival.  Luckily I am combating that with our Sunday night tradition – Pizza Margarita and a little drop of vino rosso.  There is absolutely no other food in the house.  O.K I lie.  There is one egg and half a jar of capers.

Stir Crazy

We’ve played ten shows in a row now without a break, and it is entirely possible that we are going a little stir crazy.

I was trying to upload the video, but I just realised that you have to pay for that.  So here is the link to it on facebook:

Backstage at La Jour de Fete

We had a fantastic show last night.  Played for over 2 hours to a packed bar and managed to sell a decent number of CD’s.  This morning Fabrice left us some nice croissants for breakfast while he was shopping at the market, and he is going to cook us some lunch before we get on our way again.  Somehow we have to find enough energy to play show number 11.  It’s going to be hard to top last night for good feeling though.  We are planning to hit the road straight after the concert, and drive the 6 hours back to Milan from Nimes.  It will take us all night, but at least we’ll be able to relax and sleep all day Sunday at home.  I’m not looking forward to going back because I have a huge week of work starting on Monday morning, and I hear it is zero degrees of freezing there.  I hope my lemon tree is ok at the door.  He hasn’t had a drink of water since I left home!

I can’t put up a post with no photo, so here is me & Alessio practicing our guitar playing skills at Cafe des Voyageurs:

cafe voyageurs day two


I love coming to Albi.  We get to stay at the home of Fabrice, who runs a marvellous, tiny bar called Le Jour de Fete.  He is a fantastic cook, overly generous with refilling our glasses, and just an all-round cool guy.  He booked us a concert yesterday at the local Juvenile Penitentiary.  There are up to 60 14 – 18 year olds incarcerated here for crimes ranging from drug dealing to murder and rape.  When we arrived we had to pass all our equipment through a scanner and leave our phones, cameras and computers at the door.  As we passed through the grounds in the middle of the jail we were jeered at from the cell windows surrounding, so we definitely felt like we were on the inside.  There were equal numbers of security guards to prisoners at the concerts, and we found out later that it had been a particularly hard day, with 4 boys on detention for fighting.  The day before had been family visit day, and when some families don’t turn up the boys become more aggressive than usual.  The concerts were very quick; we only had 30 minutes to play to two different groups.  Most of them had never seen live music before, and they asked what the songs were about.  The last song we played was Josephine; we told them it was a song written about Mother and they were especially silent and attentive in response.

It was inspiring to talk with the education department who work with these kids and organised the concert.  They have to battle against negative attitudes and bureaucracy to provide some hope for these boys and let them know that their lives aren’t over, and that there are different paths open to them.  It’s hard to know if we made any difference, but it was a pleasure to be able to get involved.  We hope to go back and spend some more time with them.

Today we have been out in the bitterly cold air for a little walk around Albi.  There were some yummy things in shop windows:


pretty macaroons

Of course I had to try one of these macaroons.  I picked mostly based on colour because I know they are all delicious.  This one is grenadine:

pink macaroon

We saw this great carousel on the square:


We went to the centre of town which is so immaculate and stunning.

albi grande

Inside this building is a great museum dedicated to the work of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.  He is famous for his paintings and lithographs from the end of the 19th Century; taking in Montmatre and the Moulin Rouge, the brothels, the people and the places of Paris in this period.  It was very interesting, and I bought this little print.  Maybe not one of the subjects he is most famous for, but then I’m a country girl at heart.

henri de toulouse lautrec

That will look lovely on my wall at home.  I have a place in mind already.

Tonight we play at La Jour de Fete.  I can’t wait for the Fabrice dinner, and will try and take it easy on the pre-concert wine.  I’m sure it doesn’t help my playing.

Basque in the Country

Ou la la … this isn’t France anymore Toto!  We crossed into Basque Country, where they speak a language that is not phonetically related to any of its neighbours, where people still “disappear” into the mountains, and where they are intensely defensive of their separate national identity from Spain.

Monday night we played a concert in a 200-year old prison, which is now run as a community youth centre.  We managed quite a good turn out and they broadcast the show on their own pirate radio station.  They put on a special night for us because they don’t get a lot of foreigners coming through town.  After the concert they all went home and left us to sleep in our cells.  Now this is taking the Johnny Cash experience tour just a step too far right?

cell block rock

our cell

We didn’t have to travel far, so we had time to drive up into the mountains and visit a newly built monastery, where the crypt is decorated in surrealist murals.


Tuesday night took in a show at Ibu-Hots in Vitoria-Gasteiz, followed by a Wednesday morning walk around the old part of the city.  I still prefer the italian kitchen to the spanish though.  We have been on a meat feast ever since we left home.

This was our set up at Ibu-Hots:

ibu hots

This evening we are back in France (just) for a show in Bayonne.  4 more shows to go.