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Monday, March 31, 2008

Music Promotion Revisited ^^

Bahnhof Hardbrücke in Zürich is a good place to take the train. Just today I ran into the guys from Membrane Records again. And same as last time I boarded the train with three new CDs, however, this time I had to reject two of the CDs he wanted to promote because I already own them.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Irish & Celtic Night @ Grabenhalle St. Gallen

I'm a big fan of An Lár and Irish Folk in general, so I just had to go to St. Gallen and be part of the Irish & Celtic Folk Night.

Opening the evening were The Vad Vuc, a Skaountry & Irish Folk band from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. They even had a dedicated group of fans along, who danced along right from the start. But these guys were by now way alone, after half an hour the place was packed and space for dancing was getting restricted. Fortunately, the Ska elements of The Vad Vuc's tunes generated a small moshpit and so we soon had space enough :).
The Vad Vuc played for over an hour and I would have gladly listened longer, but there were two more bands on the bill and after dancing for the whole time, I could use a break.

Next up were An Lár, the reason why I decided to come to this concert. Their show was fantastic, they played all my favorite songs and they even managed to hush the crowd so that David, the vocalist, could sing a sad song without a mike. Their performance also lasted longer than an hour and again, we were only willing to let them depart because another band was waiting in the wings.

The final band to take to the stage were Red Shamrock, a Celtic Folk band from the Aargau, who played very melodic songs full of the atmosphere of Scotland and Ireland. Their set lasted the longest, this time there was no other band waiting, and so I had to leave after 80 minutes to catch my train (which was canceled as I discovered at the railway station, see The Daylight Saving Time Conspiracy) and when I returned 15 minutes later they were still playing encores! All in all they were on stage for 100 minutes!

After the last concert the evening continued with an Irish Folk party, and I have to congratulate the DJs, they had a perfect nose for danceable songs and so I was dancing the night away until my first train left at 4.30am.

On the way to the train station I raided the merchandise stand and left with five CDs (two each of The Vad Vuc & Red Shamrock, and one of An Lár) ^^.

So, all in all, I had a terrific time! :)

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The Daylight Saving Time Conspiracy

Yesterday evening I became a victim of the Daylight Saving Time. I was at a concert in St. Gallen and, as one does, had a printout with my train connections along. The most sensible connection, due to an overlong concert, but I'll blog about that later, seemed the 2.27am train. I left the concert on time, even though the last band was still playing, around 2.10am. However, when I arrived at the train station the clock showed 3.15am and a quick check of the next departures confirmed my first thought: My train was canceled due to the Daylight Saving Time!
"Fortunately" the first train left St. Gallen at 4.32am in the direction of Zurich and so I was home by 7am, two hours later than expected...
Did you have similar experiences? Maybe we should form a resistance against the Daylight Saving Time, because it causes more trouble than it brings merit...


Friday, March 28, 2008

Stories in the Dark

A very special reading took place yesterday evening in a unique place in Zurich. Franz Hohler was a guest in the Blind Cow, a restaurant where the customers are literally left in the dark. Sitting in complete darkness we were served by waitresses who were either completely or partially blind. Our food was delicious, once we found it on the plate ;).
These surroundings added a special touch to Franz Hohler's reading, without any lights he recited stories and poems he knew by heart. These were a mixture of his own work and texts he remembers fondly. Franz Hohler also had his Cello along and played various pieces of music.
All in all it was a magical evening, which is hard to grasp in words. Sitting in the complete dark listening to these stories and to the music; it felt like we were on a different world and as if Franz Hohler was only performing for me :).
By the way, this was my second time in the Blind Cow (the first time was in April two years ago) and again it was a night to remember. I can highly recommend both the restaurant as well as their cultural events, they are one of a kind!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

House Infernal by Edward Lee

My Christmas present slowly starts to pay dividends ;). Late last year I signed up to the Cemetary Dance Book Club, one book a month from Cemetary Dance Publications. Recently, I just finished the first two books, and they're both brilliant.

First was The Folks 2 by Ray Garton, a thrilling novella about an incestuous family.

Next was House Infernal by Edward Lee, for which I want to post a short review here:

"All Venetia Barlow wanted to do in her summer break was to earn a couple of extra credits by helping to restore St. John's Prior House. But then she starts hearing voices... from Hell, and slowly she discovers the many secrets the Prior House has hidden so well over the years.
A terrific novel which combines a lot of with well-thought-out descriptions (Mephistopolis, the city in Hell with it's different districts is a very fine example) and a suspenseful storyline with steadily mounting tension until the story concludes in a brilliant finale, but be warned, on the way you'll encounter a couple of unexpected developments.
I finished the second half of the book in one sitting, it was way too gripping to put down."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nasty Weather in Europe

Wednesday last week I discovered the following Weather report for Europe in "Heute", a free Swiss evening-newspaper:

Granted it was a very stormy day, but -99° Celsius, that's a bit harsh ;)

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Sinfath Larp 1 - The Engagement

Lord Victor invited us to his engagement party and so Rina, Moya and Rakar traveled to the Schattenbachtal (Shadowcreekvalley). However, since the valley is well hidden we were in need of a guide to find our way. Fortunately, Lord Alfons and a guide were waiting for us to lead the way.

But then disaster struck. We were waylaid by a Zombie, who turned out to be Lord Heinrich, and a necromancer. They accused Lord Alfons of stealing another's estates and quickly slayed him. We made a hasty retreat and were lucky enough to encounter a house, where we were offered a shelter.

However, the shelter wasn't as save as we hoped as we were visited by Bandits as well as hordes of zombies. And our benefactor, Lord Sigmund, seemed to know more about the Undead than he led us to believe.

Looking for clues to lay the Undead to rest we ventured deep into the forest, turned our lodging inside out and talked with both the necromancer and Lord Heinrich. And so we discovered the shocking truth: Sigmund raised Lord Heinrich from the dead to get rid of Lord Alfons and claim his lands. A trial found him guilty and so he was locked in the cellar until his deportation to the imperators courts.

In the meanwhile we discovered rituals that would neutralize the necromancer and destroy the Undead once and for all. And even though many were skeptical we succeeded and after a final and spectacular battle put an end to the Undead menace.

Pictures can be found here.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sidewalkpoets @ Hafenkneipe

It was pure chance that I heard about the CD Release Party of the Sidewalkpoets, a Zurich based Melodic Alternative Rock band. However, I still vividly remember their concert in the Abart on Whit Sunday last year, so it was clear I had to be there ^^.
The Hafenkneipe was sold out, granted it is a small venue, but still there were well over 100 people there to listen to the Sidewalkpoets' newest songs. They played a nice mixture of quiet, introspective and faster, rockier songs, which was greeted by lots of applause. As a special treat they asked a friend to accompany them on the Cello for two songs. The only complaint I had with the gig, was that they didn't play 'Smelly Socks' my favorite song so far, nevertheless I did enjoy the concert and at the end also bought the CD.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Rabenschrey & Des Königs Halunken @ Werk21

Last Saturday should have been a big day for Des Königs Halunken, the release party for their first CD. Unfortunately, technical difficulties delayed the CD and so instead of the release party a regular concert took place.

Opening for the Halunken were Rabenschrey, a German Pagan Folk Rock band. Their hilarious texts and catchy tunes invited to dance, jump and sing-a-long and that's what we did extensively :). Rabenschrey also put a lot of emphasis on interaction with the audience with chants and shouting competitions, which enhanced the good-time-feeling I had. After 100 minutes they almost had to be dragged from the stage to make room for Des Königs Halunken, but they promised to soon return to Switzerland.

And then finally Des Königs Halunken took the stage. They played a well balanced set alternating medieval acoustic songs with rock songs which was greatly appreciated by the audience. The atmosphere was so charged and hot that many fans ended up dancing without their t-shirts. Two other things made this gig special, first the replacement of the Halunken's bagpipe player Graf Gilbert and second the mix which enabled the didgeridoo to be clearly audible above the other instruments, which I greatly appreciated as it gave the songs an eery quality. After 90 minutes and an encore the Halunken left the stage for their well-deserved rest. They did a great job and it there was a world of difference to their last gig in Thun (late last December). And so I'm eagerly awaiting their next appearance and of course the release of their first CD!

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