This is a pretty incredible series of Electronic and Psychedelic music spanning decades and touching on several genres including Psych-folk, Jazz, Krautrock and Experimental music. This is the first of 8 episodes in a playlist. Curated by John Richardson. Dig in!
After an excellent show in the historic town of Castelfidardo, we drove 20 or so minutes, through dark, winding roads, to our digs for the night in the nearby town of Osimo. We stayed in a sort of rustic hotel, which was essentially a house on a hill owned by a lady who lived upstairs. There were a few rooms with beds and a couple of bunk beds, 2 showers and a fully functional kitchen stocked with breakfast biscuits and tea. We settled in a got some sleep.
I woke up to the sound of distant church bells that went on for at least 10 minutes! We arrived the previous evening in the dark of night, so I had no idea what the surounding area looked like. This was the view that greeted us:
…and this cat:
This little one kept us company while we packed the van and gave us good luck on our journey.
More pics of the surrounding area:
We packed up the van, took some ‘arty pics’, bade the the ‘Osimo kitty’ farewell and headed toward Pastrengo in the Province of Verona.
Let’s take a few minutes to see some of the town of Osimo as our driver, Davide, expertly manouvres the narrow roads, displaying some impressive skills right at the beginning, where he backs us out of a precarious position to allow some drivers to pass. We were listening to old Puerto Rican music while driving through the empty streets, which, for some reason, was the perfect soundtrack. It was Sunday and everyone was still asleep, even though it was probably around noon. I added a couple of tracks from the album to enhance the video. Enjoy the winding roads seen through a dirty tour van window!
Here’s a slide show of our drive, we had another brief view of the Adriatic Ocean. Another thing of note, something we would see throughout our trip, was that a lot of the highway sound/wind barriers also absorb solar energy, something we should definitely pick up on in The U.S.
We arrived at the venue, met the other band, Holy Fuzz, and got set up. The stage was low, so we were more on the level with the crowd, which I like. The venue was really nice, had good acoustics and we took part in an excellent prosciutto and cheese spread.
Here’s a short clip of the opener Holy Fuzz doing a rendition of “The Money Will Roll Right In” by Fang, no doubt a nod to our hometown as Fang were from The Bay Area (Berkeley).
Also, a short clip of “Starlust-Face on Mars” from our set.
This was a pretty early Sunday show, so we drove to where we were staying, Villafranca, and had a lovely home cooked pasta dinner with Daniel and his dad Franco, a Sci-fi writer.
We woke up the next morning, still jet lagged in a small town near Pescara or it may have still been Pescara. The architectue around there was a taste of what was to be a constant througout the entire trip, old crumbling buildings, with overgrown vines that really gave you a sense of being somewhere with deep history.
The photos were taken right across from where we stayed and the short video below gives you a sense of the old roads.
We had a short drive to Castel Fidardo which was very pretty, mostly farmland.
We passed Loreto where the Basilica Santa Casa sat shrouded in mist. We didn’t have time to stop but what a sight! Read about the legend of the Black Madonna if you’re not familiar. This is one of the biggest pilgramage sites in the world with nearly 4 million visitors per year! We blazed right by it though, we had to bring the spacerock to the people, no time for infamous pilgramage sites!
We got to the venue which was also in a really cool area on a hill. We eventually found out that we were in a very special place regarding the history of the accordian. It turns out that the Stratovarius of accordians are manufactured here, and people travel far and wide to obtain one. Furthermore, and perhaps even more interesting is that the club owner, Giampiero, has an uncle who was the guy who travelled to Houston in the 60’s and set up an accordian shop, which directly fed the Tex-Mex and Tejano scene in a major way. Again, the history of this place was pretty special.
The building the club was in was also a music shop, Casa della Musica which was built by the founder of the accordian in the early 1900’s.
Aside from the heavy music history here, Giampiero was a gracious host, really excited to have us and treated us like family almost! The food was also amazing, we had a nice spread backstage as well as a bar full of prosciutto and cheese plates to pick at.
Also adding to the family atmosphere…family! I’m guessing from the ‘Shaolin’ gear, these were the bands kids, or friends of the bands kids, or maybe they just really attract a young fanbase. Either way, It was a cool experience to see kids hanging out in a bar scene without it being weird or dangerous. These kids knew their way around a pool table as well as a can of silly string!
One of the first observations I made being in Europe was this openeness of culture. We generally wouldn’t dare bring our kids out to a little dive bar like this, I very rarely ever see bands bring their families out to shows, unless it’s a festival or giant tour scenario, but never little dive bar gigs. These kids were so well behaved around pool cues and pint glasses, and these early social experiences are sure to form them into well adjusted adults, actually. they were better behaved than most adults I’ve encounter in bars!
In The U.S., we have such a different stigma around our bar scene. These are dark places where only dark things happen. Aside from rampant alcoholism being an obvious element, these are places where drugs are obtained and consumed, the focus is usually a search for random sex, and gun violence is a frequent occurence. The club scene often has an intimidating gang element, or a vibe of machismo, groups of “bro’s” out looking for girls, which can easily create a predatory environment. Rock and Roll, punk and indie/DIY shows can seem intimidating from the outside, and there is a real lack of all ages venues everywhere which makes it difficult to expose our youth to more diversity in culture and locally generated creativity.
I’m not saying all of Europe is like this, but this one isolated experience was an eye opener, and made me question if this could ever occur in the US where we fear even sending our kids to school these days.
Let me also add that this was a small humble venue, I say ‘dive bar’ but it was a really clean, well decorated venue with a decent sound system and competent sound guy. The bathrooms were also really clean and everyone kept up on that, another phenomenon I would observe throughout our trip.
Here, it was all about good food, music, family and strong coffee! People were drinking alcohol of course but with a different sort of approach that wasn’t so much to escape from something as it was to enhance an already great atmosphere and experience.
here’s a couple of minutes of the opener that night. Shaolin were a great bunch of young musicians.
Here’s an excerpt from Maharishi from our set that night:
We had a great set, packed up the gear and drove 15 minutes to our digs for the night in Osimo. Stay tuned for more…
All pics by Jeff K.
“Action Shot” by Imanuele Pirani
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