Day 1 for the Prowlers

Here’s the first report by The Henhouse Prowlers from their ongoing European tour. This comes from banjo picker and founding member, Ben Wright. The guys have promised daily reports (with photos) from their Euro-jaunt over the next week or so. You can follow all their posts by clicking here.

Preamble to the trip to Brussels:  We were thrilled to be selected to play the main stage at Wintergrass this year. The two weeks leading up to it consisted of shows starting in Chicago (our new CD release show), followed by appearances in Iowa and Colorado, as well as shows up the west coast. We played the San Fransisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival, as well as Portland and several point in between. Immediately following Wintergrass we played two night stint at the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort and then we loaded the van and drove 34 hours straight home so we could have a single day of rest before we headed overseas.

Both Grant and I were determined to bring our instruments on the plane and were not disappointed. Eric, on the other hand, has a flight case that could almost certainly sustain a nuclear blast and checked it without issue. After arriving, we clumsily navigated the train system and managed to find our way to Tielen, BE. The hour long train ride was done so in silence as we soaked in the countryside.

Rather than buy a cell phone with EU connections, I walked around with my iPod until I found a unlocked WiFi signal and used Skype to make the call to  our new friend Stijn (pronounced Stan) who quickly picked us up at the train station in a black Euro-van and took us to our temporary home in Gierle (pronounced heel).

At 6:30 p.m. sharp, our driver/sound man Robin arrived and we loaded up the van for Cafe Wir War in Turnhout. Despite the amazing selection of beer, the bar felt almost like something we might play in a small town in the states. A warm atmosphere, good people and a genuine place to foster community. Of course, minor problems were just around the corner. We blew fuses three different times during sound check and never did figure out why. So it goes…

The show really was amazing. A local Belgian band, The Sundowners came out in full force to check us out. We swapped bluegrass stories and really bonded with them. It looks like they might come out to another show this week and actually bring their instruments. More on that soon, we hope.

The end of the night rolled around and we did a raucous encore on the floor. Beers were savored, CD’s were bought and friends were made. This is what touring is all about.

Tomorrow we’re playing in Eeklo Belgium at the N9. Stay tuned, bluegrass lovers!