The Great German SEBADOH Tour: Part 1 – Berlin

Lest you think BackstageRider is slowly morphing into a Sebadoh fan-site, tough shit (hee hee).

2011 is the band’s year, as far as I’m concerned, and all the hubbub around Bakesale‘s stellar reissue and the groovy reviews, is warranted. They’re better, faster, more. And I’ve been proud to be along for much of the ride in my official capacity as press robot/soshul meejah irritant/cheerleader. Plus, they’re my friends. I’m kinda ridiculously lucky to know ’em.

So for three days in August I took time away from family bonding in Copenhagen and flew down to neighbouring Germany to tag along with Jason Loewenstein, Lou Barlow and Bob D’Amico as they made their way through Berlin, Hamburg and Köln.  The enormity of awesome enjoyed cannot be explained with mere vowels and consonants.

BUT… herewith Part 1 of 3, as I hang with Sebadoh in Berlin. Join us on the trip and click on the pics – proper and via iPhone -to embiggen them!

Festaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, pic by Mikala Taylor/

August 8: I show up at the venue around 6ish after a day and a half of partying, sightseeing and checking out Destroyer in Berlin. Festaal Kreuzberg is a cool live music place in Berlin’s hipster ‘hood, near some great Turkish bakeries and donair huts (Lou calls falafel “feelawful”). There’s great little outside beergarden/smokery at the venue, too. And I like imaging what those weird words in German actually mean. Besides “7Up” of course. Oh and “Backstage”.

Backstage at Festaal Kreuzberg, pic by Mikala Taylor/

As Lou and I return from a surprisingly good and simple alfresco meal at a fish place around the corner from FK, he is immediately approached by two fans/also musicians – Micah and Tommy – who quietly ask if I can take their pic with Lou. I do. See? (Important tour secret: the bag he’s holding? It has TOOTHPASTE IN IT.)

Lou Barlow with fans, pic by Mikala Taylor/

But jetlag is hitting. The band’s been overseas for three days yet traveled back from Poland earlier in the day, where they played their first show of the Yurp tour at the Off Festival. I’m expecting a party backstage. The band is expecting naps.

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Bob D'Amico, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

I tiptoe downstairs to find Lou, Jason and Bob being all slumberly on the sofas. It’s kinda sweet.  Tour manager Mattias quietly shuts the door so the boys aren’t disturbed…about 38 seconds before the loud opening act starts banging away upstairs. Whoops.

Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

…So the boys get up, to adjust straps. Jason wants not to lose his pants, while Lou wants not to lose his guitar.

Bob and Jason, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Bob D'Amico, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Live, of course, the band are spot on. Lou asks if people wanna hear “Together or Alone” and the crowd’s kinda quiet. So I blurt out “Forced Love”…twice. I mean, I started to panic they’d dropped it from the set. This would not do!  It is my fave track, and sounds more and more muscular each time. Hear the song from the Berlin show, brilliantly, (and me, stupidly) here.

Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

“Wow, they’re so much better than we expected” said David Phu, guitarist with Vancouver band (now living in Berlin) City of Glass, who came to the gig as my guests. “So tight!” Which is…right. A modern Sebadoh playing classic songs. Nice. Now, where’s the funding for ’em to make new music, hey?

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

“That pic’s cool,” said Lou when I showed him some of these in the van, a few days later, “it’s kinda a muso shot.” Jason hates seeing pictures of himself, apparently. And has thusly and rightly learned to ignore me every time I wander around snapping.

Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh, pic by Mikala Taylor/

But still, there he is, being all handsome and rockstarry. With a beer. Sebadoh generally request Beck’s on their rider, though we put away some Kölsch in Köln. (A fan of the band, Karsten, who travelled to be at all three German gigs, said that the locals called the Cologne beer “piss”. We all kinda liked it. Jason said that was because he was used to drinking crappy American beer and so this “pissed” all over that.) Lou doesn’t drink beer on tour. In fact, he rarely drinks at all…and in extra fact, Jason and Bob weren’t drinking much either. So I didn’t. *tap tap tap* HATH HELL FROZEN OVER?

Sebadoh setlist, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Towards the end of the set, the aforementioned fan Tommy asked if he could take the band’s ONE setlist, written out on a piece of ragged cardboard. Like, even more lo-fi than paper, right? Jason was concerned,’cos it was their only one. But Lou reassured him that Mattias their tour manager had transferred it all to his laptop, so they were okay to give it away. Bless. The fan stood proudly with it afterwards as fans snapped pics of it. Why? BECAUSE IT IS A MIGHTY SETLIST. So….




One response to “The Great German SEBADOH Tour: Part 1 – Berlin”

  1. As always you make it as fun to read as it probably was (well between slumberly parts) and who would I be to complain if The Backstage Rider became temporary quarters for the Travelling Lou, Jason, and Bob Show? Cheers & cheery!

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