Atlas Road Diaries - Episode 1
Writing this while cruising through the rolling hills of central Germany on our way from Bautzen to Krefeld. The landscape looks similar to that of South West Virginia - with grey, cloudy skies up above. We have been having a fantastic time here so far. Much to our surprise, the crowds have been way bigger than we expected! The first night in Arras, France - we played a tiny club ‘Blue Devils' in the heart of the city. The owner cooked us chicken with fries complete with French/Belgian beer. The next night - Rouen, France - we had some time before the show to look around and explore. We walked to the church where Joan of Arc was burned - which now has a tacky ferris wheel towering over it. The crowd of 100 people that night were all singing along to our songs, dancing, and almost every single person in the place asked for our autographs. Was definitely a shock.
Afterwards, the promoter pretty much force-fed us his homemade apple moonshine and we killed the whole bottle. He starts blaring ACDC over the bar’s speakers and proceeds to start pouring more whiskey down our throats. Taylor and Max are air-guitaring, Bryce is behind the bar, Dave’s shirtless, and I’m arm and arm with this promoter screaming at the top of our lungs….at this point, our 9am departure the next morning has completely left our brains. We end up going out in what turned out to be just a blur of a night complete with thick French accents, broken english, singing, dancing, and more whiskey. The people in Rouen we so kind.
The nine hour drive the next morning was pretty rough to say the least. Thank god for Heavy D (our tour manager). We made our way to Enschede, Holland where we were booked to play a really cool, family-owned blues club that had been there for over 50 years. The family was awesome - they had two daughters around our age who ran the bar, the dad owned all these badass vintage amps and guitars, and the mom cooked us a dinner fit for a king. The crowd seemed to really dig it.
The next morning consisted of a seven hour drive to Bautzen, Germany. This place is legit the most eastern city in the whole country. We were practically in Poland. We got to the club and the owner informed us that he had already sold 125 tickets to the show that night...We were so confused as to how these people even found out about us this far from South Carolina. The show was killer! The people were so friendly and seemed to really be into our music.
After the show - Max, Bryce, and I went out to find a couple drinks. Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from the center of town - about halfway through the walk the f*ckin skies open up and it starts dumping rain on us. It’s probably 35 degrees out and we just start sprinting through the cobblestone streets and slick sidewalks to try and find anywhere open that will take us in. Rounding a corner- Max spots out a beacon of hope - a tiny black sign “BAR” in the distance…we sprint up to the door and rip it open. Inside, there are 3 German dudes sitting in the back corner smoking cigs who looked up and just stared at us three shivering wet dogs as if we had just landed from Mars or something. Not speaking a lick of German - naturally we fit right in. We started speaking broken English with them, they found out we were in a rock band from America, and they started playing our tunes and dug them. The bartender unveiled a piano next to the edge of the bar, pulled down some children’s guitar from atop the liquor shelves, and we started jamming. They called two of their girlfriends to come down and there we were - drinking, dancing, & jamming out on a freezing cold, raining Saturday in former Soviet Union Eastern Germany without a common language between any of us except for music. The bartender used us as his Guinea Pigs for his new concoctions like these Whiskey Sours floating on top of a Manhattan, Dark & Stormies with his own ginger beer...hell we were there until about 4:30 in the morning just singing songs and drinking with these guys.
We’ve definitely been having an experience better than any of us could’ve imagined so far. It has been exhausting, but the hospitality and the welcoming nature of these people in the cities we have been to has been amazing. The tour goes on!