The Troublemakers had a great run this last weekend playing gigs in Uettingen, Berlin & Lauchhammer. On Sunday I played a solo gig at the opening of the Rock & HiFi Museum in Marksuhl/Thüringen.
A short recap.
Since regular Troublemakers drummer Aggi couldn’t make the trip, my longtime friend Leonardo von Papp took his place for these gigs. We had two afternoons of rehearsing and a warmup gig planned before our trip East.
In early March our planned warmup gig at Holzwurm in Marktheidenfeld fell through. The city has a ruling that there be no festivities the day before Good Friday.
So with the help of our friends in Lick And A Promise we arranged a private party in Uettingen on short notice. About a 120 people showed up, we played a rocking 90-minute set and things went well. Leonardo was very well-prepared. Unfortunately, we got the news that our keyboard player Jan was in bed with a fever and would not be able to play the next two shows with us.
On Friday we set off to Berlin for our gig at Bassy’s. Berlin is the only place in Germany that allows live music on Good Friday and Bassy’s is one of Berlin’s coolest venues - so we were happy to snatch that gig. It really is a very cool venue but Berlin being Berlin we were supposed to start very late - 10 pm.
After soundcheck the manager told us to start a little later, maybe 11 pm, then the sound guy Javier said “better start even later” and in the end we had to put our foot down to go on at 11.30.
We had a good crowd, a whole bunch of people were there to see us. Some had brought CDs to sign, one good man had even come all the way from Greece to catch our show (I’m not kidding). Via twitter Ruud had requested that we play Sarah Stein and even though it was not the most natural song to play at that venue, it went over well.
We had a good time and ended our show with the 1 pm curfew.
One of the BossHoss guys came in and caught the tail end of our show.
My only problem on an otherwise very enjoyable night: My pretty expensive and pretty new Fishman Aura Spectrum DI thingy started acting up. No signal.
Leonardo von Papp, our sub drummer
We stayed overnight at the Bassy Club’s artist apartment, Leonardo - since he lives in Berlin - stayed with his family.
Since Lauchhammer is less than two hours away from Berlin, we had a little time to explore Berlin on Saturday morning. Felix & Chris explored, I stayed in and read some in the enjoyable new Tom Wolfe novel Back To Blood. Then I went out and realized I was very close to my favorite English bookstore in Berlin so I went there and spent some money.
And onwards to Lauchhammer near Dresden. I’d been to Real Music twice before in 2005/2006. One time I opened solo for Chris Knight, the other time I brought my then-band, The Gunslingers.
Since then, Real Music have moved to a different venue that they have decorated and built beautifully. With us on the bill was Elizabeth Lee from Austin, Tx. and her Italian band, Cozmic Mojo. Sitting in on drums in her band was booker Christian Böhm, a pleasant surprise. He’s a good guy, I’ve met him a few times.
We went on first and went over very well. We changed up the set a little, bringing Natascha to Lauchhammer in exchange for Sarah Stein and exchanged a few more songs but again, Leonardo played like a champ and we did our best to keep up.
Elizabeth Lee was very complimentary about our set and invited Chris & me to join them on Dead Flowers (which went very well) and I Just Want To Make Love To You (which we weaseled our way through).
A very fun night. Lots of folks had brought CDs for me to sign, everybody was very complimentary. Felt very good.
The boys left early on Sunday to spend Easter Sunday with their families. I drove three hours to Marksuhl in Thüringen (where my Dad now lives) to play at the opening of the local Rock & HiFi museum.
The place is beautiful with lots of cool memorabilia, mostly great Stones stuff but also Traveling Wilburys stuff, an original autograph of all four Beatles and plenty of other really nice things.
I played two solo sets for maybe 40 invited guests. I enjoyed playing a few songs I hadn’t done the last three nights and having a very quiet, attentive audience. Surprisingly, I sold more CDs to those 40 people than I did the entire three previous nights combined in which we had played for maybe 450 to 500 people in total. Weird how that goes.
At any rate, that was a very successful and fun trip. I would love to be able to bring the band up north for some shows in Hamburg, Bremen, maybe Hannover. Would also love to play some dates out west in the Cologne/Dortmund/Ruhrgebiet area. Contact me if you want to book us, ok?
April will bring a whole bunch of solo & duo gigs. Should be fun!
On Saturday we played a double header concert at das boot in Würzburg with Lick And A Promise, a great rock’n’roll band in the Stones/Black Crowes/Faces tradition. The Troublemakers presented a new band member in piano and organ player Jan Reinelt and a whole bunch of new songs. It turned into a great gig!
Lick And A Promise opened with a few acoustic numbers. I love a rock band that knows more than one gear. They have some beautiful acoustic tunes, some of the psychedelic Led Zep school and some with a bit of a country influence, obviously those are closer to my heart. And then they have a knack for writing truly great rock songs. Sometimes it seems like writing a kickass rock’n’roll song is a lost art. These days most songs in that vein have a certain rock factor (big drums, big riffs) but lack the roll part of the equation, the swing, the tongue in cheek, the finger-snapping groove. Lick And A Promise have certainly got it all.
They have a singer with charisma, a great guitarist who plays licks with flair (and looks, I must admit, just how you want a rock guitarist to look), a drummer with drive & subtlety and a bass player with great harmony vocals and arrangement skills. They’re often joined but Andi Kümmert, a talented songwriter/guitarist with a great voice, and a horn section. The horns weren’t there on Saturday but the songs and the band were in shipshape.
I sat in with them on Hard To Handle, the Otis Redding number.
Knowing that Lick would bring a bunch of fans, the Troublemakers also played a pretty rocking set that saw a few debuts.
Pianist Jan Reinelt played his first gig with us. I’ve known Jan for a while, he has often mentioned that he likes my stuff and would be willing to sit in should the occasion arise. He recently said this again and this time the timing was perfect. (My longtime partner Andi Obieglo is far away in Berlin these days and very busy with his band Carolin.No.)
We spent three hours on Saturday afternoon running through the songs with Jan (we’d only had a private two-guy rehearsal before) and he rounded them out and made them sound fabulous. We also debuted a whole bunch of new songs.
They all went well, we felt good on stage and had fun playing with Jan.
And as a rousing encore, Jochen and Manuel of Lick joined us for a cool take on the Stones’ classic You Can’t Always Get What You Want (perceiced by many as the evening’s highlight) and Chuck Berry’s Nadine.
photo by Regina Haflinger
Whew, what a real good night. We’re still getting great feedback from the camp of Lick & A Promise and their fans.
Looks like we’ll repeat this soon.
a few weeks ago I shared a couple of gigs with wonderful British songwriter Paul Armfield from the Isle Of Wight. We tried dueting on the Hank Williams classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” at the Erbse in Dillenburg, a tiny venue but we had fun nonetheless.
Obviously, Paul sounds a lot better on this but what the heck, you might still enjoy it, I hope.
here’s a short recap of an eventful weekend.
I had three gigs in north and middle Hessen lined up for Thursday, Friday & Saturday so I figured I’d bookend this trip with two more recording dates at analoghaus.
Arrived there around noon on Thursday and had only a few hours before I had to trek on to Café Vinyl in Wetzlar.
I managed to lay down vocals for the only two songs that will have overdubbed vocals on the new album: Your Own Private Rainbow (co-write with Annika Fehling, see the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQr154Wrypc) and Future Memory (written with Andi & Caro Obieglo). And off I went to Wetzlar.
Café Vinyl turned out to be a small but very cool place. I shared this gig with British singer-songwriter Paul Armfield from the Isle Of Wight who turned out to be quite big.
Anyway, the place was pretty packed, I went first and had a really good time before I turned the stage over to Paul. He shook my hand saying I was “the whole deal” - that felt nice.
Paul was amazing. Wonderful songs, brilliant guitar picking and great stage presence - truly wonderful. We shared a few songs in the encore. I played a little harmonica and tried a harmony on Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had A Boat” and sang a verse on Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (you can hear my solo demo at http://www.markusrill.net/sounds/So_Lonesome.mp3). A really good night and it felt like Paul and I were going to become friends.
We met again the next night at the Erbse in Dillenburg. This gig was tiny but sold-out (ca. 30 people), some of the people in the audience were among my very first supporters and have seen me many times along the way.
With Paul listening, I played a bunch of songs I hadn’t done the night before. I also played some of the brand new songs for my longtime fans. Went over very well.
Paul was great again and then we did a longer jam encore including “Boat”, “Lonesome”, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and “Clap Hands” by Tom Waits. I believe we were filmed during the encore, so maybe something’s going to show up on YouTube soon. I’ll let you know.
That night, both Paul and I stayed at local promoter Henning’s house - we all stayed up talking till three in the morning and had a great time. I sure hope to see Paul and hook up with him again soon. He’s a great guy, runs a bookstore, plays guitar - what’s not to like?
On Saturday I drove out to Frankenberg - my new Walden guitar in tow. I had picked it up from my endorser in Marburg the day before and had also met my good friend Robert Oberbeck (www.robertoberbeck.de) for a nice long talk.
The gig at Klimperkasten in Frankenberg was set up by local duo Wuthe & Faust, two fine young fellows. Part of their Songwriter Night under the moniker “For The Sake Of The Song” is a shared third set. So we quickly ran through some possible covers to do. Maik is a great, versatile guitarist, Jan a wonderful singer, both are great guys (they like soccer, french fries & rock’n’roll).
They sounded real good together, my solo set went fine (with Maik joining me on That’s All Right, Mama) and the encore jam was a lot of fun (we did - among others - For The Sake Of The Song/Townes, I Shall Be Released/Dylan, Long As I Can See The Light/CCR, Don’t Think Twice/Dylan, Working Class Hero/Lennon, Too Much Monkey Business & Nadine/Chuck Berry, Who Do You Love/Bo Diddley, Not Fade Away/Buddy Holly).
I sold quite a bunch of CDs and had good conversations with some music lovers in the audience - another good night.
Got to bed kinda late and had to get up early to arrive in Karben before noon. We did quite a bit of work on a number of songs. Actually, Tom did most of the work, playing great guitar parts and some organ while I merely gave the thumbs up sign most of the time. Comforting Thought sounds killer now, I’m real excited about that one. Rainbow is taking shape thanks to some great jingle-jangle guitars, Future Memory was embellished with some slide guitar.
I think we may only need one more day of overdubs (mostly backing vocals, maybe some piano/organ on Rainbow), then we can start mixing. We’ll continue working the first week of April!
Stay tuned & take care,
photo by Patrick Wötzel
whoa, I had a fabulous weekend with two outstanding gigs - Nürnberg on Friday, Würzburg on Saturday - and an alright one in Mannheim on Sunday.
On Friday I played a solo gig at a very cool venue, the community-run Casablanca movie theater in Nürnberg. For some reason, when I was approached for this gig the Casablanca was described to me as “a former movie theater”. So all along I expected a place that was maybe a little run-down. I must also admit that for some reason I expected a smallish audience.
I was wrong on both counts. The Casablanca is a wonderful movie theater run by a group of volunteers from the neighborhood (I loved seeing my name on the marquee!) and it’s a very cool venue for acoustic live music as well. And we had a decent-sized audience (for a solo show).
Very early on - I think it was in fact after the first song, might’ve been after the second one - a question from the audience regarding the need to change harmonicas sort of broke my stride. Which ended up being a good thing because I had to think on my feet and improvise a little. It’s always good for me to a) engage the audience in dialog and b) be very “in the moment” during a show.
I also got a request to do Sarah Stein which can be a hard song to do solo but I suppose I pulled it off because quite a few people asked me afterwards specifically which CD that song is on. Half the audience bought CDs which is an unheard-of percentage so I must’ve done something right. A wonderful evening.
Thanks to Black & Edda & the Casablanca team!
And the next night was even better!
I played a band gig with The Troublemakers (Felix Leitner - guitar, Chris Reiss - bass, Aggi Berger - drums) in Würzburg which I called my hometown for the last 20 years before I came to Munich half a year ago. I had heard beforehand that we’d sold quite a number of tickets in advance so I assumed that there would be a lot of old friends in the audience.
The place was sold out but maybe only ten people I knew were there. Kinda cool. It later turned out some people had driven several hundred kilometers to see us. A couple had even liked the Nürnberg gig so much they decided to come to again the next night. Very cool.
And the band sounded very very good. I think we’ve gained quite a bit of confidence in ourselves as a band in the recording process - and having wonderful pianist Andi Obieglo join us live gave us an extra push. We really had a great time making music with each other and for a most gracious audience. So: Wow! And: Thank you, people!
Here’s a video of The Troublemakers having a bit of fun with Earl Montgomery’s “Six Days On The Road” on Saturday night:
And here’s a (German) blog post by Patrick Wötzel, a Würzburg journalist who saw his first Markus Rill concert on Saturday night: http://www.woetzel-online.info/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=1175&blogId=1
I certainly hope we can play some more band dates later this year to coincide with the release of the upcoming album. If you know a good place for The Troublemakers to cause some trouble near you, please let us know.
See ya, guys,