Melissa Bel
Melissa Bels Tour Tagebuch

Hooked On Music präsentiert:
Melissa Bel


22.05. Beat Cafe - Lemgo
23.05. Cafe Live - Alfeld
24.05. Pony Bar - Hamburg
25.05. Meisenfrei - Bremen
26.05. Alter Schlachthof - Soest
28.05. Markandu - Paderborn
29.05. Kunsthofgohlis - Dresden
30.05. Fiddlers Green - Jena
31.05. Divan Cafe - Weimar
02.06. Alter Gasometer - Zwickau
03.06. Café Cairo - Würzburg
04.06. Molly Mallones - Marburg
05.06. Steinbruch - Duisburg
06.06. Kajüte - Lippstadt


#1
Here's my blog from my show at the Beat Café in Lemgo last night. I've also attached a couple of pictures.


Lemgo:

I already love it here. Last night I had my first gig in Germany at a super cool, retro-themed restaurant in Lemgo called the Beat Café. It was absolutely unreal. It's a small venue, but it was pretty full, and I must say I don't remember the last time I heard so few people clap so loudly!
I used up basically all of the German words I know within the first 5 minutes, but the crowd was so friendly, and SO attentive. And they were kind enough to give me an encore! Thank you Lemgo and the Beat Café!
I found my posters all over the street that the gig was on, and a couple of young girls came to the show because they actually knew who I was!! Insanity!!!
Yesterday I also did an interview/performance on a Duisburg TV station called Studio 47 that will air next week before my show at Steinbruch (in Duisburg) on June 5th. Oh and some more great news, I got my first full-night's sleep since I've been here! What a relief, because 3 hours a night really just doesn't cut it.
Now we're off to get some breakfast and then head to Alfeld for my gig tonight at Café Live. I cannot believe this is my life right now!!!!

Melissa Bel Lemgo Melissa Bel Lemgo

Talk to you soon,
Melissa :)


#2
For some reason I can't get onto my email, so here is my blog for yesterday (via Myspace):


Alfeld:

Melissa Bel AlfeldOur commute from Lemgo to Alfeld was definitely the most scenic drive so far, but also the most eventful. If you ask me, the thin, winding country roads are much more dangerous than the Autobahn. And at one point our GPS (nicknamed Frau) led us to a river and instructed us to "Board the ferry" in order to cross. Excuuuse me Frau but I don't think we can drive our car onto the ferry, good try though. Needless to say, we took and alternate route. I felt like I was going to hurl by the time we reached Alfeld, but I recovered quickly enough to have a couple of afternoon drinks at the closest cafe.
It was another tiny, but beautiful town, and the venue, Cafe Live, was the only live music venue in the city. I was scared that there wouldn't be much of a crowd, but the place ended up being packed! There were a couple photographers and someone from a radio station that came to interview me before the show. Again I could not believe that the audience was silent through basically my entire performance, and this time I got 2 encores!! There were some young people who spoke really good English so we hung out for awhile after the show and I had my first wheat beer which I thoroughly enjoyed (they come in half-litre glasses by the way). We were staying the night in a room just above the venue, so by the end of the night all we had to do was stumble up the stairs to our beds! Awesome.
Our host, Michael, didn't speak much English but was one of the nicest people I think I've ever met. He made us an amazing breakfast that was waiting for us when we woke up, and said I can come back and play at Cafe Live anytime. Danke shoen Alfeld and Cafe Live! Oh, I also learned the German words for "cheers" (Proste!) and "still water", which is highly useful because drinking the sparkling water that is the norm here while I'm playing makes me burp. Not so attractive.
Soooo now we're in Hamburg where I'm playing at the Pony Bar! We've been here for a few hours now and we're currently waiting for the bar owner to come and let us into our accommodation. My mom is sleeping on the couch while I write this. A little nervous about the show tonight, because the big-city feel of Hamburg is different than the small towns of Lemgo and Alfeld. But I'm sure it will be fine...right?

Melissa Bel Alfeld Melissa Bel Alfeld

I will let you know tomorrow!!!
Melissa :)


#3 & #4
I hope that the length of the blogs are not getting too long! Haha there's just so much to say!!:


Hamburg & Bremen:

Keeping up with this daily blogging business is turning out to be much more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. Mostly because my free time here is extremely limited. The usual day is get up, eat breakfast, attempt to see a a bit of the city we're in, drive to the next city (usually 2 - 3 hours), check in to our hotel, find the venue, soundcheck, eat dinner, get changed/put my face on, perform, go to bed. I'm beginning to regret having packed so many gigs into such a short amount of time, because there's so much in each place that I wan to see, but just don't have the time! But anywho, that is my rant, and onto the gigs.
This is my combined Hamburg/Bremen blog because of the issue you just explained to you.

So let's start with Hamburg which was on May 24th:

Melissa Bel Hamburg The most exciting thing happened to me. The first time was when my mom and I were literally sitting in our car waiting for the club owner to arrive to show us our accommodation, and I was getting into the car and a man ran up to me saying "Melissa Bel? Melissa Bel?". I figured he was the venue owner, but turned out he was a fan that had printed off some pictures of me to autograph! That blew my mind a little bit. Then later on when I was just getting to the gig I got out of the car and 3 people ran up to me to get my autograph and picture! The gig was a success. The place was pretty full, and people listened so intently, and when I was done they wanted me to keep playing but there was another band after me (the AWESOME Roskinksi Quartet from Hamburg) so I didn't have time to squeeze in any more songs. Which was admittedly a bit of a relief because my throat has been a bit sore and the tendinitis seems to be setting in. Then we hung out after the gig and met some people, had some beers, and I played some foosball (how do you spell that??) and won! Thank you to Davide and the Pony Bar for having me!!

Bremen, May 25th:

Melissa Bel Bremen I'm still in Bremen now and I must say this is one of my favourite cities so far. It's on a beautiful river with a strip of really cool restaurants along it, and lots of shopping to do. Being here has made my frustration set in about not having enough time in each place. The venue last night was called Meisenfrei, a really cool blues club, and one of the bigger venues I've played so far. When I got there at about 7:40 (for an 8:30 start), the place was empty, so I was freaking out a bit that no one would come (like I do most nights). But by 8:30 the place had filled up with people who had actually come to see me - I still can't get my head around that - and I ended up playing much long than expected and sold the most CDs of any gig so far. People definitely go there to listen to music, which makes me very, very happy. Oh and my German is improving slightly. I can now say "I'm very happy that you're here". Because seriously, I'm very happy when people show up hahah. But after the long show my throat and hand/wrist are pretty sore today, so I told my mom I'm going to be a diva and speak a very minimal amount.
Today we're off to Soest where I have a gig at Alter Schlachtof (?), and then tomorrow I have a much needed DAY OFF!!

We're about to get kicked out of our hotel room now, so I'll post pictures later today!!
Melissa :)


#5


Soest:

Oh my goodness...I get to spend 2 nights in the same place. I can't believe it. The show last night at Alter Schlachthof in Soest was a great one. It was a big, open place, kind of reminded me of the Freeway Cafe in Hamilton. I know I sound like a broken record but the crowd was totally receptive and seemed to really enjoy the show.
They particularly liked "Stand By Me". The organizer, Kelsey, was an awesome lady (also a musician herself) and referred me to a masseuse here in Soest that I'm going to see tomorrow. Yessss. Also, we're staying in a beautiful hotel that is the oldest in Germany! So what will I do with myself on my day off? Well I certainly have some catching up to do email-wise, but we're mostly going to wander around town and take it easy.
I was just checking John Mayer's tour schedule and I see that he doesn't play more than 3 shows in a row and then has like 2 breaks. Why didn't someone tell me this? I just played 5 shows in a row, 1 break today, then 4 shows, then 1 break, then 5 shows. To be fair, he is traveling across the U.S.A., but now I know for next time that I don't need to have quite such an intense schedule. And that way I get to stay in Germany longer!

Melissa Bel Soest Melissa Bel Soest

Melissa :)


#6


Paderborn:

Unfortunately I have to make this blog rather quick because we have to get started on our 4-hour drive to Dresden for a gig tonight. Paderborn is yet another beautiful city I've gotten to visit along this whirlwind of a tour. I played at the Markandu Kultur & Cocktailbar, and again I sat in the venue for a good couple of hours thinking that no one was going to show up, but by the time I went on stage the place was filling up and the crowd was amazing. It was definitely a party place, so after the encore (woo hoo!) a DJ started playing awesome music and it was definitely the best after-party I've had since I've been here!
I met an amazing artist/photographer named Emell (who took some incredible photos of me playing which I will post!) and a very talented singer/songwriter, David Beisel, who is doing his CD release party at the Markandu on June 4th. Also, the club owner, Logus, was so much fun and took my mom and I to a Spanish restaurant for a delicious dinner before the gig. I will most definitely be back to Paderborn if they will have me!!
How is everything at home?? I hear it's really hot! I miss home for sure, especially my dog Charlie, but I think I'm ok with spending a couple more weeks in Europe.

:P I loooove it here!
Melissa :)


#7


Dresden:

Melissa Bel DresdenKunsthofgohlis in Dresden is unlike any venue I've played so far. We're in more of a suburb of Dresden really, and it's like a cross between a barn, bar and art studio. Oh and it's home to 12 cats and 2 dogs. The owners, Iggy and Uva, are two of the nicest people I've ever met and are born and bred music lovers. Kunsthofgohlis is also an inn so we stayed in one of the rooms upstairs overnight which is great because I love not having to carry my amp to the car after the show.
One of the coolest things EVER happened to me before I went on stage. One of the other guests, Chris (lifetime musician and my soundman), gave me a letter that had arrived with my name on it but was addressed to the venue. Inside were 4 pictures of me, a note, and a pre-postaged envelope. An amazing (and clever) fan had sent the pictures knowing I would be playing at the venue and included another envelope with their address so I could sign the pictures and mail them back!! Talk about good planning. I was in shock. The gig went really well - I'm 7 for 7 encore-wise! - and the sound in the room was fantastic (thanks Chris!). The audience, as usual, was incredible, and someone even requested "I Wish You Would Kiss Me" when I hadn't played it by the end of my set. I'm always amazed when there are people in the audience that have actually heard my album hahah. Also my mom is turning totally pro as camera woman! But unfortunately she'll only be here for 2 more gigs and then she's going home to tend to my brother and the pets :( Boo-urns.
Today is my Dad's birthday!! Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Daaad, Happy Birthday to you! He will be leaving for Germany tomorrow night and meeting up with us in Frankfurt on June 1st to do the switch with my mom. Dad, you have your work cut out for you as cameraman. Why don't you Google some tips before you come? He loves Google.
Tonight I am playing at an Irish Pub in Jena...and as usual there is no point in me even guessing what it's going to be like because I am usually wrong, so we shall see!
Thank you Iggy, Uva, Chris, Eddie (the dog) and everyone else who made Dresden soooo awesome. See you next time!

Melissa Bel Dresden Melissa Bel Dresden

Melissa :)


#8


Jena:

I can't believe that the tour is already more than halfway over!! Only 6 shows left, which is definitely bittersweet. I'm admittedly pretty tired because of this crazy schedule, and I'm having a hard time remembering which city I'm in because I'm only in each one for 24 hours tops. But on the other hand this whole thing is ridiculously cool. I've seen soooo much and met so many people, and I get to sing for people almost every day. I think I am living the dream. I am also mastering the art of living out of a suitcase.
Last night I played in Jena at a place called the Fiddler's Green Irish Pub. At first it was one of the "Oh crap I don't think anyone's going to come" situations, but it was a small place and filled up rather quickly. I didn't play any Irish drinking songs (obviously), but most of the crowd was not at all like what you'd expect an Irish pub crowd to be like. They were quiet! I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here...this blog must be getting boring...what can I do to spice things up a bit? Honestly I'm not feeling overly creative at the moment. I'm kind of an autopilot, and my brain power is on reserve for showtime. So today we're off to Weimar (only 45 minutes away!!) where I am playing Divan Cafe und Restaurant. It's mom's last night here, and I've been keeping so much of my stuff in her suitcase I don't know where I'm going to put it all when she leaves!

Melissa Bel Jena Melissa Bel Jena

Dad, pack light :)


#9


Weimar:

Melissa Bel WeimarWhat a relief to only have to drive 30 minutes from Jena to Weimar! Definitely the shortest drive of the tour, and I was so glad that we arrived in Weimar early in the day because it is possibly the cutest little town I've ever seen! Seemed like it was right out of a movie, with the old buildings, the cobblestone roads, and even a horse and buggy. I played at Divan Restaurant and Cafe which was a Turkish restaurant and everything inside was handmade from Turkey. It was absolutely beautiful inside, I've definitely never played a place quite like it. I felt like I was playing more of a restaurant entertainment gig like I would at home - as opposed to a concert - but by the second set people started to get into it and I didn't feel so much like background music. There was a little boy running up to the stage and making faces at me while I played which was cute and entertaining for awhile, but then when I didn't look at him he would scream until I looked at him. What do you do in that situation, really? I got 2 encores last night, which is completely flattering but I am usually soooo tired by that point...but I was ok with it because today is my coveted day of rest! Afterwards my mom and I had some drinks with the owners (who spoke Turkish, German, and decent English), and I got a bit of a Turkish lesson and a German lesson. I am definitely taking German lessons when I get home by the way.

My off-day has been spent making the 3 hour drive from Weimar to Frankfurt to take my mom to the airport to fly home and meet my dad because he landed this morning! Definitely sad to see my mom go. Oh the fun we had...but there will be a next time for sure!

My dad and I just got back to our hotel from probably the most authentic German meal I've had since I got here ("sausage with sauerkraut") , and some sightseeing in the old part of Frankfurt. And tomorrow is back off to the races. We have a 2 and a half hour drive to Zwickau where I'm playing Alter Gasometer, and today I saw a clip of me on the Zwickau TV station to promote the show! (http://www.tv-zwickau.de/online-tv/montag/ - go to minute 14). I couldn't understand what they were saying, but still super, super cool.

Melissa Bel Weimar Melissa Bel Weimar

Auf Wiedersehen for now!
Melissa :)


#10


Zwickau:

Melissa Bel ZwickauSo today was my Dad's first official day on tour as the new tour manager. He is already a master of the Autobahn, and we got our Hyundai up to 180km/hr, which is pretty much all it's got. This is a direct quote from the mouth of my dad "Why are you slowing down you pussies?? What's the story?". Awesome.
It was rainy and dreary all day so we didn't get to do much sight seeing in Zwickau unfortunately. And I had mixed up the soundcheck time so I ended up being completely rushed to get to the gig at Alter Gasometer (www.alter-gasometer.de), and ended up putting on my tights backwards and wearing them that way all night. But everything worked out, and I loooved the venue. It was a music venue (not a bar), and people actually purchased tickets (some in advance!) to come see me play. They even did a ticket give-away over the radio. Melissa Bel Zwickau It took a little while to warm up the crowd...and my onstage banter does nothing to help my cause because I don't think anyone really understands what I'm saying. But halfway through the 2nd set I definitely felt like the crowd was on my side, and it was wonderful. And Dad did a great job as photographer/cameraman/merchandise manager as well, he's a fast learner.

Only 4 shows left in Germany!
Booo-urns :( I wanna stay!


#11


Würzburg:

Melissa Bel Wuerzburg I'm writing this to you from our hotel bar in Wurzburg, where I am enjoying a pint of the local "Wurzburger" beer. This might be my favourite city yet. It's full of amazing old castles on hills, cathedrals, and our hotel is right across from a beautiful river that seems to separate the city into two sides. And finally the weather cleared up tonight so I got to see the sunset over the river and light up the old buildings so perfectly.
I played at a "Singer/songwriter Jamboree" at Cafe Cairo tonight. It was probably the fewest people I've played for on this tour, but I played in a courtyard outside (my first outdoor performance of the patio season!), and I got to meet some amazing and talented musicians. Which is absolutely one of the best parts of this job. I shared the bill with Markus Rill and Stefan Saffer from Germany, Laura Bean from Kentucky, and Annika Fehiling from Sweden. Soooo awesome.
Only 3 more gigs left, and I'm seriously not ready for this tour to end!! I think I am officially cut out for life on the road, which is good to know. It's different here from home, in more ways than driving 180km/hr on the highway and drinking beers in the street. It's different in a good way, and I wouldn't mind at all touring Europe for a couple of months! Off to Marburg tomorrow to play at Molly Malones!

Melissa Bel Wuerzburg Melissa Bel Wuerzburg

Pictures to come later! (Pete's camera died)
Melissa :)


#12


Marburg:

Melissa Bel Marburg Yesterday morning at breakfast I thought I was ordering an iced coffee, but instead I ordered an ice cream coffee. They're crazy about ice cream here. It was delicious, but took up about 50% of my calories for today. The landscape in Germany is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. It's made up of hills and mountains covered in thick green forests, so I don't mind the long drives we make every day. I'm amazed at how green it is here. It's like being in northern Ontario, except hillier. We're staying in a tiny little village about 6km outside of Marburg at the town's one and only hotel/restaurant.
I played at Molly Malones Irish Pub, and it was kind of dug into the side of a hill and then underground. Every other place I've played on this tour has had to have the music finish by about 10pm because of noise restrictions, but not this place! There were more English-speaking people in the audience than any audience I've played for so far. Which is kind of a relief because usually when I'm talking between songs the people just stare at me blankly. But this time when I told them that the fizzy water they have here makes me burp onstage, they laughed.
One thing I will say about this country is that there is no way to avoid the tolling of bells at all hours of the day (and night, and morning). This morning (Saturday) I was woken up at about 7:30 by a bell that seemed to last for about 10 minutes. I thought that maybe it was broken and had gotten stuck on "ring". Then there was the garbage truck that seemed to go up and down our street about 3 times at 8am. On Saturday morning?
Seriously? Clearly I am just tired and grumpy. But today we're going back to the EuroHof hotel in Duisburg where we spent my birthday because it is just sooooo awesome and beautiful. So I am very excited for that.

Melissa Bel Marburg Melissa Bel Marburg

2 more gigs left!
Melissa :)


#13


Duisburg:

Melissa Bel Duisburg So I'm back at what was my first stop on this adventure, Duisburg.
I did that TV interview here to promote the show that I played at Steinbruch last night. It was another singer/songwriter showcase type thing that is hosted regularly by Stef Boens, and last night K.C. McKenzie and I were her guests!
It was an absolutely beautiful night, so we got to play outdoors, and I guess the TV promo did the trick because it was a full house. Oh how I loooove the summer weather.
Before Pete and I make our way to the next (and last, booo) gig, we might do some yoga in town here. It's about time I got some exercise. Then tonight I play in Lippstdat at Kajute, where I'm hoping to go out with a bang.
Then tomorrow night we're heading to to England for a week (my dad was born there) to visit some family and have a bit of a much-needed rest! I'm playing one show there in a town called Surrey thanks to my pal (and very talented musician) Andy Stedman.
I seriously don't want this tour to end! Don't make me leave!

Melissa Bel Duisburg Melissa Bel Duisburg

I miss Germany already.
Melissa :)


#14


Lippstadt:

Nooooo I don't want to leave!! Please let me stay!! I definitely expected to have a lot of fun on this tour, but I didn't expect to fall so in love with Germany!
The last gig in Lippstadt at this super hip cocktail bar called Kajute was wonderful. I tried to spend every moment of it just soaking up how amazing it is to be here and play music for people. I was worried that people weren't going to come because it was a nice Sunday night, but lots of people came (many of whom owned my CD...wild) and I really didn't want to stop playing, even after the 2nd encore. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the crowds here. Everyone watches and listens so quietly, and it's the best feeling ever. I can't believe that I played 14 (mostly 2-hour) shows in 16 days. Honestly after the first 5 gigs I was so beat I didn't think I was going to make it. But now my body has finally adjusted to the pace and I feel like I could keep going forever! I've actually enjoyed driving at least 2 hours a day and being in a different city every night, going to sleep and waking up in a hotel (the breakfasts are always soooo good). I don't want to be off tour. I loooove it!
Thank you SO much to ToneToaster, the booking agency who booked me this crazy adventure, and to CMM Promotion here in Germany for doing such a great job with press and promo. And danke, danke, danke shon to Germany and all of you beautiful people in it for letting me play for you and being such amazing audiences. You made my first official tour something I will never forget!!
So now I'm off to England for the week with my Dad, and my internet access will be limited...which might be a good thing because I can relax a bit from trying to be on this thing 24-7. I'm so proud of myself for keeping up with the blogs hahah. Thank you so much to www.hooked-on-music.de for their support in posting all of my updates on their site!

Melissa Bel Lippstadt Melissa Bel Lippstadt

Auf wiedersehen Deutschland, ich liebe dich!! I will be seeing you again very soon!!!!
Melissa :)


Ralf Frank, (Artikelliste), 23.05.2010 (Updated)