water , water every where .....next to our hotel in Haugesund
Luke and I set off for Haugesund, Norway on Thursday 29th in the morning and we arrived via Oslo at around 10.30 pm. The hotel was very nice but we were not prepared to pay £60 for a fish supper and so after a local Donner kebab, with a curious sauce we both liked, from a nearby cafe, we both retired. It had been a long day.
Next day we found the gig was only a two minute walk from the hotel so that was great. Luke and I were having a coffee in the hotel cafe when we saw Jarle arrive. It turned out he was staying in the same hotel as us so that was very cool. It is always good to see him. Nothing changes no matter how long has elapsed between meetings.
Jarle invited us for cognac in his room and it was a fine cognac. We sat and chatted and Luke caught up a bit. He hadn't seen Jarle since the church gig in Upholland when we all finished the evening at Val and John's home. The next day Jarle had gone off to see Liverpool play at home and we won.
Time passed and after collecting our guitars we all walked across to the gig to sound check.
The club Haugaland is a wonderful wooden building by the waterfront. I felt right at home there and realised if I had brought a small travel rod I could have fished there earlier in the day. Still it was nearly show time as Luke and I wandered around the club taking it all in. One of the bands was sound checking as we arrived. The PA sounded superb and it was obvious from the start that the house engineer really had his stuff sorted.
The building is almost entirely made from wood and it has that wonderful aged, golden colour through out. Great space with great acoustics. It used to be a Salt House and then it was a Herring processing factory. This was way back in the days when Herring was the Norwegian's gold. Now it is oil, while it lasts.
The stage was quite large and the front of house was great with a balcony at the rear and a restaurant/bar on one side.
The band, scheduled to appear last, was an interesting set up. We watched the sound check with some interest. A guy on guitar and a young woman on drums and bass was very cool. White Stripes and Royal Blood came to mind and we wondered if they would be successful outside Norway.
So Luke took to the stage and sound checked a couple of songs. We were both very slightly nervous which is usually a good thing. Complacency is the enemy of all creative endeavour. Luke asked for a fairly extreme reverb setting which is a long halo around his sweet vocal. The sound guy was masterful. Beautiful. We were both well pleased. My turn and again my sound was easily and quickly achieved.
We headed back to the hotel with Jarle and it was not long before we returned and were ensconced on the third floor of the club. From there we watched the first band on and then Luke took to the stage. All nerves disappeared after his introduction and he soon had the audience's attention. I love to see their reaction as he slips from his low voice to the sparkle at his top end. I think they soon got him and considering they had never heard him before he soon got them onside. I noticed that there was a mix of older and very young folk who were most attentive through his half hour set. I could see Luke was very happy and for me that was relief. I didn't want to drag him all the way to Norway only tor him to be disappointed on his first solo outing there.
While Luke was courting his new fans below I sat up in the gallery and I ached. My neck and shoulders were tight and I turned to some people connected with the club and jokingly said that the only thing missing from this great venue was a masseuse. A woman told me her partner, sat nearby, was a healer. He came over to me and worked his shamanic magic with out laying a finger on me. I am a little used to that part as my lovely friend Val Bradshaw has given me Reiki sessions when I have been a little stressed.
After the healing I felt much better and I thanked him. By the time I was walking down the stairs to the stage area I felt really good. So thanks again my friend. I hope we see each other again.
As I walked out onto the stage I was warmly greeted and bless them they listened to my new songs and the old ones with equal interest. I loved playing the show for them. The on stage sound was perfection and I revelled in it. I finished with a couple of old songs and left the stage very satisfied with the nights work. Next up was the young duo. They rocked and all was good. It had been a great night. We said our farewell at around 1.30am and left to walk the few yards to the hotel in pouring rain. We had a pickup to the airport at 8.30am so it was no partying for us and we went straight to bed.
Luke gave me a shout at 7.50 am and we soon piled out into the morning air to get in our transport to the airport. All was good and we were glad to be moving on. The journey back went with out hitch and we had a great time in Norway. I love the place and would even more if it were not so expensive.
Thanks to Stig for picking us up when we first arrived, to Bjorn for all his good work and Knut for having us at his his top venue. We both hope we will be invited back to Haugaland.