Some days ago we were sitting in the van pouring over our atlas trying to work out approximate journey durations. When it came to Lauenau we simply couldn’t locate it. Not even in the index. This did not inspire confidence. The words “you’re off the edge of the map… here there be monsters” sprang to my mind. We sought council from some audience members after the show in Bremen - a few said “where’s that?” while others made worrying snorting sounds, one just told us not to go but instead stay and play music in her house. Eventually we spoke to a man who had a mother there and didn’t speak too disparagingly about the place. Still, by this point we were less than enthusiastic.
Let this be a lesson about lazy judgements. Lauenau was amazing. Great receptive crowd of all ages and wonderful hospitality in general. Such a joy to play. I hope we return one day.
The venue used to be the powerhouse of an old furniture factory but for the last ten years has been a workshop/exhibition space run by the eminent painter Thomas Ritter (see image above). We were greeted by the aroma of turpentine and sawdust as we loaded in our equipment and I experienced a rather Proustian flashback to a childhood memory of my grandfather’s workshop on the Isle Of Skye (that doesn’t typically happen when we enter a venue). The layout was pleasantly challenging - seated sections around the sides above and below the thrust stage, a staircase at the far end where people could stand for a better vantage point and a good sized dancing area in the middle.
Our dressing room was the yoga studio next door (connected to the backstage area by a courtyard). It was the first time we’ve ever been provided with a meditation chamber at a gig.
The concert itself was phenomenal. Ritter’s son had seen us play in Hannover last year and was the reason for our being booked at this fascinating venue. The whole place was packed - people had squeezed themselves into every possible nook, some having to peer in through the doorway and window to get a glimpse.
We played two sets plus two wild encores. Then hung out in the bar talking to the audience and signing things until closing time.
A group of bright young things then invited us to a house party. It is here that the narrative splits, with one half of the band heading to the hotel and the other in search of adventure. I regret to say I can give you no account of the latter. I can, however, tell you the hotel was very plush with comfortable beds and a pleasant view of rolling fields and windmills. I may not be particularly rock and roll in my post-gig habits but at least I didn’t miss breakfast.
Next stop: Saarbruken.