The trip continues

So much for a daily blog entry. The Gato Loco residency is rounding into its 7th day, and what a trip it has been.

The first few days were really rough, with a very busy schedule. Our first day had us playing an outdoor show at a small cultural center in Cenon, a small town/suburb of Bordeaux, that’s a 5-minute drive across La Garronne river, which divides Bordeaux proper from some of the smaller towns and principalities that make up the larger Bordeaux region. The old city/center of town is where our hotel is, and it’s gorgeous. There are lots of arches built by the Romans, and plenty of pre-renaissance churches and buildings. We consistently see small shops and stores with signs saying, “Depuis 1622” or some such year. It’s quite a different history than in NYC, where it is rare to find a building older than 150 years.

We discovered, in a painful way, that we were terribly under-rehearsed. That night, Mattieu, our main guide and helper, offered us his own rehearsal studio for the night. We went to his apartment and loaded all the gear into a picturesque arched-ceiling rehearsal space (which he uses for his own band, Contreband). We shed all of our music HARD for 3 hours, and came out of that basement a rejuvenated, tight-ass, fire-breathing mambo band. Thank you, Mattieu!!!

The following day we had THREE gigs, each with a load-in, set-up, play, load-out schedule. It was a grueling and difficult 24 hours, but by the end, the whole band was miraculously in great spirits, thanks to how bad-ass we were sounding. The day ended playing in a library that was surprisingly fun, filled with great energy, great people, and GREAT wine!!!

A note about the wine : it’s incredible, and it’s everywhere. With lunch, with dinner, at schools and at libraries, in the restaurants and in our hotel rooms. At the library show, they had a great wine that was made 3 blocks from where we were standing. The following morning, a friend of Tuba Joe’s, Chris Issartier, brought a handful of us to his vineyard, Chateau Beau Rivage. He took us into the vineyards, and he took us into the barrel room, where we drank samplings of the 2009 wine, OUT of the barrels! Bordeaux wine is a mixture of several grapes, the most significant being Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. In his cellar, we drank the individual grapes, before they are mixed together to create the final product. We then went back to the main chateau, and drank the wine from 2005, and from 2000, tasting the differences in age development. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Our residency during the festival includes a lot of community outreach shows. We’ve played 3 or 4 shows in schools, for about 150-200 children. These shows are great, and the children are REALLY well behaved, and attentive, and responsive. I’m guessing it’s because there’s not too much processed sugar in their diets. :) We’ve also played in cultural centers, libraries, a town square, and one theater. Every day we have lunch at a school that is out of session, and served home-made food by an incredible chef, Jackie. She’s from the Congo, and she told us that if we ate all of the food she served us, she would belly dance for us. Sure enough, she was shaking and dancing by the end of the meal. She is an incredible personality, with alot of positive beautiful energy that is translated through delicious meals.

The festival seems to be a big deal here, and we are seeing giant posters all around town for our shows. Musique de Nuit, the festival coordinators, have been documenting every show and every move we do, and so have we. We’ve been videotaping alot, with the intention of editing the footage down for a video and small “documentary” that we’ll have up on youtube in a few weeks. Also, there was a great review in La Monde, the largest paper in France, about our residency and shows. For those who can read french! . Also, a journalist for Sud Ouest, a fairly significant paper in Bordeaux/Aquitaine area, has been following us around, and will run a large article about us next week. And we did a radio interview for some local radio stations. Good media!!!!!

AND NEXT WEEK : we will do some larger shows, and will record our album for Winter & Winter. Stay TUNED!!!!

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