When I started booking an Eastern European tour for my band, I really had no expectations, other than the conditions set forth in our rider. Even those were minimal: vegan dinner upon arrival, wine if possible, a bed to sleep in after the performance, and payment. Prague had a sense of safety to it because it’s a bustling metropolis, but once we were out on the open road, it was just us and our GPS. This was the first European tour in which we had a GPS and let me say that it was a relationship saver. We’ve traveled across the United States and Western Europe together sans GPS but having one this time took a lot of stress off of me, the navigator (aka the manager, the booking agent, the press agent, etc), and therefore our relationship benefited from someone else bossing us around the road.
The Czech Republic is divided into two regions, Bohemia and Moravia. On my birthday, we had a gig in Šumperk, a ski resort village in Moravia. It was the first birthday, in over 10 years, that I didn’t perform as part of the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. I hoped we would have a good experience in Šumperk for my birthday and as it turned out, it was one of my favorite shows of the tour. We arrived at our pension, a modest room with two twin beds, a kitchenette, and bath with shower, where we were able to contact our promoter for the evening. He met us and let us in so I could take a short nap. It was comfortable, clean, and quiet.
The venue, H-club, was huge compared to some of the places we had already played. It featured a cool art gallery and lounge on the first floor called Elektric.
Elektric Cafe & Gallery
The venue itself had a great sound system and was beautifully lit. We shared the bill with Czech bands, The Finally and Blackerfeed. We were greeted warmly, ate delicious pasta, enjoyed Czech wine, and had great conversations with members from both bands. The line-up was the best of the tour with all three bands having a similar melodic, hypnotic thread of psychedelia.
Carlos, my husband/bandmate.
We met our promoter, Jirka, the next morning for a small tour of the village and lunch. Since it was off season for skiing and the weekend was upon us, things were pretty quiet and most of the shops were closed. Luckily, his Mom had a jewelry shop where all of the items were handmade and very unique. He got the key and let us in to shop! I purchased my mother a necklace, Carlos bought me earrings for my birthday, and Jirka gifted me with a necklace for my birthday. He was also kind enough to allow us to leave our equipment at the venue after the performance, so we stopped by to pick it up after lunch. I loved being able to go back to the venue for a view during daylight.
Jirka made me an espresso before we hit the road again.
I purchased an art book from the gallery and we gave Jirka a copy of our new LP.
photo credit: Carlos Jackson
I honestly can’t wait to return to Šumperk. The drive was beautiful through the hills of Moravia and getting to know Jirka was such a treat. We made a friend we will keep in touch with and hopefully tour with in the future. It was also the first time I’ve seen a ghost. I’m serious. But that’s a topic for another post!
May your journey be your muse,