Red Bazar in the Netherlands at the best venue ever

I roadied for our bassist Mick Wilson and his bandmates in Red Bazar and Tiger Moth Tales last weekend on a long road trip to The Netherlands and back. It was great fun, and a great gig was had.

Two things stood out for me. The first was that I was reminded of what an incredibly dedicated bunch they are. Mick, Andy and Paul have been plugging away for many years now, never giving up, even when it seemed impossible for (what was at the time) a small, instrumental band to get any attention. They have a disciplined rehearsal schedule (twice a week) which they keep up all the time, as well as all the writing, recording and mixing they do, and day jobs. Peter goes along with this too, and even when he’s away doing his other stuff the other three keep rehearsing. As a result they are super-tight, and they really reap the benefit of that when they play gigs.

Peter works very hard too, he’s constantly slogging away with smaller gigs to pay the bills, as well as long international tours with the likes of Camel.

So they’ve clawed their way up the prog ladder with their bare hands, and now they’re on the verge of bigger things, and they fully deserve it.

The other thing that stood out for me was the venue, the Boerderij (‘The Farm’) in Zoetermeer in The Netherlands (Zoetermeer is right in the middle of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague, which are all fairly close together). It was very well designed place. You turn up and you can park the van right next to the loading doors. You’ve only got to move the gear a few metres. The stage is large, and easy to access. The gear is all top-notch (a Midas PA, and the DIs are all BSS, no cheap hissy Behringers here.) The lighting rig is amazing. There are dressing rooms, with drinks fridges and comfy couches. There are plenty of bars. There’s a large-screen in the other bar (away from the main gig hall) which screens the concert for those who can’t squeeze into the gig hall with crowded gigs. The toilets are clean. Basically, the opposite of most of the venues in the UK that we’ve played at (although admittedly we have mostly played the lower end of venues).

There’s also loads of staff and stage crew there, many of them volunteers. And what young person starting out in sound wouldn’t want to volunteer to work there — so much great gear, and great people to socialise with? Everyone there was, as well as being knowledgeable and highly competent, really nice. Even the owner came and had a few beers with us afterwards, despite the fact that he is used to much bigger bands most of the time. He said he wants to help out smaller bands and not just have every gig be a big act (like Steve Vai, who is playing there in a few weeks), and he’s doing that, not just talking about it.

It was like a dream venue. Even the food was great. It’s on my list of places I want Coralspin to play before I die, and any other band should add it to their list as well.

As far as Coralspin goes, it’s going to be a while before anything happens as I’m bogged down with various things — mainly work and paying bills — and so is Ellie. Jake is less busy and has done most of his guitar parts for the second album; he’s not the one holding things up.