Balmorhea Tour Diary, Part 5

Hamburg

Balmorhea recently returned from a month-long trip through mainland Europe and the U.K., a tour that provided the group with some of its most memorable experiences to date. Fortunately for us, band member Michael Muller was kind enough to jot down his impressions and share a few photos of the journey with MAGNET. Read our Q&A with him. View more images from this tour on Balmorhea’s Tumblr page and Muller’s personal blog.

Hamburg, Germany, April 21
A lovely gig at the Haus III&70 in Hamburg. During the show, we heard echoes of American accents, and to our amusement in the crowd were some Americans. Philly band A Sunny Day In Glasgow had a day off in Hamburg and made it out to our show. They were quite lovely people, and it was so very nice to speak our mother tongue at a normal rate. After swapping tour tales, we loaded the van and had a short walk to our apartment, where a 12-hour sleep took hold. As the sun rose high above the city, we made our way back to the venue for a breakfast in the cafe. This was much anticipated since our first stop by Haus III&70 last spring. The venue also houses a lovely mascot: an old wobbly dog named Lisa (complete with leather harness), who joined us beneath the breakfast table.

Just a short drive to Bornsen, Germany awaited us for a day off and a private concert and dinner party in the home of Nils’ father, Klaus (a renowned architectural photographer). His immense old farmhouse had been passed down from generations and held more than 20 rooms in its massive structure. A maze of small work rooms and offices held all varieties of treasures and remnants from the past as well as some high-tech photography and computer gear for Mr. Frahm’s business. We spent a good hour exploring the array of rooms and knick-knacks before jaunting out to the nearby forest for an adventure through Nils’ childhood playground. We hopped over creeks and picked up lichened sticks along the path in the immaculate woods.

Upon our return to the home, we set up our instruments and had a brief soundcheck for our mostly acoustic set before reclining in the garden with an assortment of pastries and coffee crafted in old antique Italian percolators. For the dinner, Mr. Frahm was making two massive pots of soup, one cream of asparugus and one cream of pumpkin for the 30 some-odd guests. Shortly thereafter, the onslaught of guests starting trickling in, a full barrage of important-type people ranging from architects to archivists to designers to editors to musicians. We all sat at different tables strewn throughout the ground floor before crowding around Mr. Frahm’s recently restored Bechstein grand piano. After the concert, which was by far the most intimate we may have ever performed, we got to know the guests and our new friends. At just after 2 a.m., we all parted ways for our room of choice, each with the cool spring German country breeze parting the panes.

With just two more shows on this tour and en route to Leuven, Belgium, I find myself jotting down this entry longhand in a small journal for slight bumps on the Autobahn. This tour has indeed been the best we’ve had the joy to venture on, full of interesting people, foods and culture. It will be hard to wait six more months before we return to this continent. Thank you for reading and for caring about music. We’ll see you soon.

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