Zaal 100 is a funky little place. I was one of 3 artists to play that evening. The room was full. The people kind, and I was finally able to meet Jonathan Brown, an artist I quite like, introduced to me via email through our mutual producer, Kramer who got me this gig.
I had sent an email to Max who co-runs a Tuesday night of songwriters on the next eve. He wrote me back that he saw I had joined the page on Facebook and that he looked me up on the internet and had already put me on the bill. When I showed up, he was so welcoming and kind, and gave me an incredibly nice introduction to the audience. What a great event he has there each week, in a wonderful room with a supportive audience. I met a fellow musician there named Otto who offered to walk me over to Anita's where Jonathan was playing. We just missed Jonathan though I saw a great performance by a solo singer/guitarist/songwriter. The audience was so attentive. The musician played squeezed behind a small bar on a little step. Kind of strange set-up, but very special place because of the warm reception the musicians received. No one spoke during the set. I got home early because the early next morning I had to catch a plane to Berlin and play that eve. ( I have to monitor how much sleep I get. When I am sleep deprived my voice feels it!) I had originally wanted to take a train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin, but having another opportunity to play music in Amsterdam nixed that plan. This leg of the tour was the only one I had not secured the travel plans, which allowed me room to change them to no detriment.
BERLIN: My first time in Berlin! I am staying in a very comfortable flat. It's a 4-story walkup so getting my luggage up with my back bothering me was a challenge. But the view is beautiful and the room very large with high ceilings, and a balcony. It is very comfortable there. The woman who rents out the room through Air BnB was very helpful and welcoming.
My first gig in Berlin was at a little spot in Preuzlauer Berg called Intersoup. I had booked this show back in April with a woman named Nina. She was very lovely on the internet and my understanding was that there would be one or two other people on the bill who would bring in a crowd. I was clear this was my first time in Berlin and that I didn't know anyone in the city. She said they did a lot of publicity for their shows and that there are always people at the shows.
It's a cute place- not too small on the main level, made up of little niches of living rooms. It’s dark and smoky and attractive. Downstairs there is one small room where the live music is held. That room is not as nice, or welcoming. The folding chairs are set up in rows. There is not that sense of character that dominates the upstairs. The woman who worked there that eve (not Nina) was merely doing her job. She informed me that I was the only artist, didn't I have friends here and handed me a box of microphones and cords to set up the sound system. One of the speakers didn't work.
It was pouring rain and cold outside this eve (I was told it was the first cold, rainy day of the upcoming autumn). I had walked about 20 minutes and was drenched when I got there. There were 5 people in the whole place. Upstairs. After setting up the broken sound system I walked upstairs and got a nice Belgium beer and started talking with people. Julia owned a little store around the corner. Nina (a different Nina) was a music therapist. They were very nice women and didn't mind my interrupting their evening. We talked for a little while. 3 people left and 2 others arrived. I talked the 4 people who had just come in for a drink into coming downstairs to hear the music. After 5 songs the 2 guys left. But Nina and Julia stayed and they were a great audience.
The next day I got up late to a gray day outside, made coffee and strolled down to the venue for that eve to introduce myself and make sure I knew where it was. Linnen Hotel is a small boutique hotel with a beautiful room next to the bar where they have concerts. I introduced myself to the man smoking outside and he was Bene- the guy who I had been emailing about the show. He has a bright shiny moon face, and warmly greeted me. He was so excited to see me. He kept saying, “I can’t believe you are here!” He told me that a journalist had done some research on me and published a good piece on the show in the local arts paper. He hoped there would be people there. I walked around Preuzlauer Berg all afternoon. The sun came out. It was lovely. I took photos. I sat outside and ate a burger and had a beer. I went back to the flat, changed clothes, grabbed my guitar and went back to Linnen and played a fun show to a small but attentive audience.