I’m writing this in the back seat of a Citroen van, rolling along a Spanish highway through an ever-changing Krazy Kat landscape.
A week ago today we flew out of Atlanta, Mark and I changing planes in Toronto and Franher on a different route with a layover in New York. We reassembled at the Madrid airport, where we met our friend Paolo Xeres who had flown in from Italy to drum with us on this tour and Pepe Ferrández, our agent and road manager in Spain.
Delta Moon’s method of coping with jet lag in Europe is to stay awake after arriving and not sleep until bedtime that night. We wake the next morning rested and in sync with our new time zone. That’s the theory anyway. In Madrid it’s easy. We took a train downtown and headed straight to our favorite Madrid starting point, an old-school working-class tapas bar with a metal counter, a little way off the beaten tourist path. The guys there remembered us. We spent a pleasant afternoon, walking here and there, tasting this and that, and making some new Spanish friends, until it was time to catch the last train back to our hotel. A good start to the trip.
The first show was the next night in Zaragoza, a town we’d played twice before. Rock and Blues was a larger venue, with free admission. Half an hour before showtime I was afraid no one would show up. Fifteen minutes later the place was slammed. We gave the show everything we had, and it went over big. A Facebook review later called us a “blues hurricane” with a “barbaric nature”. Right!
Friday we drove to Barcelona, another favorite city. This was our third time at Rock Sound. Several people there told us they’d been to all three shows. We’ve never failed to have a great time there. In the morning we enjoyed paella for breakfast at a restaurant near La Sagrada Familia, the famous cathedral that’s been under construction since 1882 and is due to be completed in just a few more years. Then we piled back into the van and headed for the next town. Already we’d settled into the rhythm of the road.
Our venue in Monzón was a 400-year-old church converted to a modern concert hall. After our show the promoter invited us for a drink at a local bar. It seemed like half our audience was there. They were wonderful people and I enjoyed talking with them, but the room was smoky and loud and everyone was shouting. After finishing a beer I went outside and sat on a bench in the square opposite. A little while later Paolo emerged and joined me. There was a tree nearby with its branches cut short. Each limb ended in a scarred ball with one fresh shoot sticking up about six inches, like an upraised middle finger. “Look,” said Paolo. “It’s a fuck-you tree.”
Sunday we drove to Santander, an ancient city on the northern coast. Little Bobby was a small venue, perfect for a rainy Sunday evening when there was an important football game (but when in Spain is there not an important football game?). We played an early show, then walked through the wet, narrow streets of the old town to a nearby restaurant that stayed open to provide us an excellent meal in a back room.
We had time for only a few hours of sleep before hitting the road early to Seville, all the way across Spain, on the southern coast. We were dismayed to learn that morning that Tuesday’s show in Granada had been cancelled for reasons beyond our control or understanding. The promoter was able to fill the date by changing the venue to a nightclub in Estepona, a couple hours away, which was fine as far as that went. But we received many online “say-it-ain’t-so” messages from fans, some even sending photos of their tickets. I answered every one and did my best to get the word out, but it was an awkward situation. I hope that someday we can make it to Granada.
Sala X in Seville was a lot of fun. This was our first time in the city, but there were many familiar faces in the audience, people we knew from Madrid and Italy and as far away as Germany. It was good to see them all. We had a good crowd, and I hope we made some new fans and friends.
As I’m writing this we are pulling into Estepona, a wealthy enclave on the Mediterranean shore. The sea looks blue and lovely through the van window. I’m going to close the notebook now and put on my sunglasses.
Photo by Cristina DeVille Photography.