Chris Reiss, me, Robert Oberbeck
these last two days were a pretty big musical weekend for me so I thought I’d share.
On Saturday, Troublemakers bass player Chris Reiss and I got up early to drive to Marburg for the first Marburg Sundown festival. We were going to share the stage with my good friend Robert Oberbeck.
I’d been looking forward to this gig for quite some time because some great musicians were on the bill: Elliott Murphy & Olivier Durand, Shannon McNally and Will Sexton. I gotta admit, I was most excited about meeting Will. You see, back when I lived in Austin in 94/95 I saw Will play all the time, mostly with the great Bill Carter, sometimes on his own, and sometimes with his brother Charlie (who is one of the finest musicians alive, at least to me).
At any rate we arrived at Spiegelslustturm in Marburg in time for soundcheck and found a beautiful location with a breathtaking view. Really extraordinary. If you’re ever in Marburg, make your way to the Spiegelslustturm.
We met Robert there, quickly soundchecked and then retreated for a rehearsal.
Robert and I have played a few shows together over the years but mostly in very loose jam-type situations except for a three or four-gig run that he backed me on about four or five years ago. In order to save time, we decided against driving back to town to his rehearsal space. Instead, we carried our instruments into the woods a little ways and practiced there. That was fun!
When we got back to the venue/festival grounds we heard that the opening band - a Bob Dylan cover band - had been talking to various people, trying to change the lineup so we would go first and they second. I understand the sentiment but it’s not that cool to try to change things around on the day of the gig.
At any rate, they started at 4 pm. We went on at 5. I think we did alright. I gotta admit, it spooked me a little to see Will Sexton sit in the front row. It shouldn’t faze me but it did. But overall I think we played a good gig and went over well. We even got asked back for an encore.
It’s always wonderful to play with Robert. He’s a great guy, wonderful musician, always a partner, never a rival. He’s one of the best.
Needless to say I feel the same way about Chris!
We were followed by Elliott Murphy & Olivier Durant. They’re a class act, they’ve been playing together for 15 years or more, they know what they’re doing. Another strong set. Elliott even asked me to help out on Rockin’ In The Free World.
(Elliott and I have met a few times at Blue Rose christmas parties and other events. He’s a great guy, so is Olivier!)
The evening was rounded out by Shannon McNally with Will Sexton & her husband Wallace Lester on drums. Their set had an opener of its own, Marburg’s own Lisa Marie Fischer. The first time I saw Lisa Marie, she was maybe 15 years old and in the audience at a Marburg gig I played. We’ve been loosely in touch over the years. She’s now 20 and has a very enthusiastic, hard-working manager who put this whole festival together basically as a vehicle for Lisa Marie.
You can tell she has stage experience now and things are coming together for her. I’m looking forward to seeing how her writing and her career will develop. She was accompanied by her producer Mark Evitts from Nashville.
Mark also sat in with Shannon on fiddle. For much of the set Shannon played electric, Will played bass and Wallace was on drums. The moments when Will switched to electric and Shannon to acoustic were the highlights of the festival for me. Shannon has strong songs and Will is an amazing guitarist. Just plain wonderful.
I had a great time getting to know Will backstage. Before we left, he gave me a CD of his, a super kind thing to do.
Here’s some backstage pics:
Robert, Lisa Marie, Elliott, Olivier, me.
Shannon, me, Will, Robert.
More festival pictures here
Chris and I got home by 1 am. But no sleeping in on Sunday, we were downtown for Würzburg’s street music festival StraMu at 11 am.
The day again started out a little stressful. First there was no electricity at our spot, then it was difficult coordinating the setup of three bands in this one spot.
This led to our first set starting late with no soundcheck and everything feeling a little rushed. We never really got comfortable in our first set.
Things got a lot better in our second set two hours later. We had time, we had better sound, we were more relaxed and had a real nice crowd as well.
More of that medicine in set three.
It felt really good to have our keyboarder Jan along for the entire day. This was maybe his fourth or fifth gig with us and the first one where he played on practically every song (he may have sat out one or two). We played three different sets. I noticed some bands repeated the same set every two hours. That’d drive me nuts.
Here’s Skinny Teddy from the StraMu, recorded by Patrick Wötzel. (Of course he had to film a song on which I botched the lyrics somewhat. Sorry ‘bout that.)
A good day with very nice audience response. And, best of all, we really enjoy playing together and spending time together.
We look forward to rocking the Stadtfest in Würzburg this Friday, Sept 14, at 5 pm (Main-Post stage, Vierröhrenbrunnen).
Plenty more pics from the StraMu at www.facebook.com/markusrill
Come on out! The Troublemakers are a good little band!