After recovering on our one day off, the bulk of the mini-tour was ahead of us. One vitamin B shot in the left buttocks later and we were ready. The nurse that gave us the shots looked rather worried when four worse-for-wear, unkempt musicians rolled in that morning. She made it very clear that being a touring musician, in her opinion, was probably not the healthiest lifestyle one could choose. Little did she know, the most Rock n’ Roll thing the Dan Patlansky band gets up to is chatting about vintage instruments over a cup of strong coffee.
Pumpkin, our trusty road manager/booking agent, booked a show at a place called Pakalolos in the beautiful town of Hout Bay. It was probably going to be the smallest show of the tour. The stage was so tiny that we had to perform as a 2-piece that night, resulting in a second night off for Andy (Drummer). Being so used to playing in a 3-piece, I find I have to play very differently and work a lot harder when there is just two of us. The place was sold out, which wasn’t that hard considering the size. After a workmen-like set, Clint and I were looking forward playing with the full band for the rest of the week.
Show #4 & #5
The next stop was the northern suburbs of the western cape in a town called Durbanville (Wine Country). We were booked to play two nights at the well-known theatre ‘Die Boer’. Die Boer is a small theatre that takes about 140 people. Pumpkin got news that morning that both nights were completely sold out, which was great news. It felt great to be playing with Andy again on drums, everything felt right again. Jurg, the owner/sound engineer/stage manager/ MC introduced us and made it very clear to the audience that having a chat about the upcoming Olympic games or anything else during the show would not be tolerated. His speech worked wonders, and we had an amazing show that night. The audience was so quiet and respectful during songs that we were able to bring it down to whisper quiet levels at points. The light and shade was extreme, as it should be. The second night was the same, with the exception of some idiot who failed to switch his cell phone off, setting off the dreaded cell phone interference through my amp at the most inappropriate of times. Apart from that, we enjoyed both these shows very much, and merch sales after the shows were exceptionally good.
Show #6 - Dorp Straat Theatre in Stellenbosch (More Wine country)
For the first time ever we had managed to sell out this theatre, far bigger than other theatre’s played this week. I was a bit worried that we had overplayed the Western Cape and that we’d have to battle to sell tickets for bigger venues like Dorp Straat. The venue is a big old barn that has been converted into a theatre. The show went great! After we finished I went to the merch table to sign a few discs, where Pumpkin had queues of people wanting to buy 20 Stones. One very drunken gentleman bent my ear for a good 15 minutes about how he can hear that Steve Vai is one of my biggest influences. I’ve got nothing but huge respect for Mr. Vai, but I wouldn’t say I’ve listened to much of his stuff, and I definitely wouldn’t say he is an influence. I suspect Steve Vai was the only guitar player this guy had ever heard, so naturally I would have to have been massively influenced by his work. After removing the whiskey mist, which he spat on my face, I continued the signing session.
Show #7 - Mercury Live in Central Cape Town
The last time I played here was in 2004 and we had about 20 people attending. I had no idea what to expect ticket sale wise. That night we had a very talented support act, Natasha Meister. Imagine if Susan Tedeschi and John Mayer had a child. That pretty much sums up Natasha Meister, the Canadian born Blues musician now living in South Africa. People started filling up the venue, just before we went on Pumpkin counted just fewer than 300, which was a huge relief. He also told us that we were only going on stage at 11:30pm. Damn, it was going to be a late one. The show was great and so was the audience (mainly students). My voice at this point was really starting to get tired, but we pushed through.
The Final Show - The Red Herring in the small southern town of Noordhoek
The last show was another 2-piece gig, just me and Clint working our asses off to make it groove. The Red Herring is about the same size as my bedroom, but has an incredible vibe. We went off stage at about 6pm, which was good considering that we had a long drive back the next day, and desperately needed to catch up on some sleep. The venue is a 50 seater, tops, but they managed to fit in (very uncomfortably at that) about 120 people. It was a very cool audience, the only problem was when we were done playing, we had to stay sitting on the stage because there was absolutely nowhere for us to move. You could literally smell the armpits and crotches of everyone in the room. I suppose that what’s its all about.
It was a very successful tour indeed. We now head back to Johannesburg and start preparing for a first ever full acoustic tour. Should be fun.
- Dan Patlansky