Here’s the third report by The Henhouse Prowlers from their ongoing European tour. This comes from mandolinist and newest member, Grant Ziolkowski. 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.
Today we continued to get our bearings on this continent, and we had our first show in the Netherlands after two great nights in Belgium.
Things got rolling in the mid-afternoon when two of the guys went to a local market to get staples for a late brunch. The same black Euro-van with a new Belgian driver, Peter, arrived a couple hours later and we were off. In little more than an hour we were across the Dutch border in the seaside resort town of Vlissingen.
All was dark when we arrived, but the road wound past what looked to be a ship factory, a promenade along the North Sea, and onto a non-descript side street so skinny Peter had to drive halfway on the sidewalk to avoid the parked cars. De Piek was the name of the club, and our poster was waiting for us in the window as we pulled up.
It was an image of a cowboy pulling a human-sized rooster. This set the tone for the venue, full of welcoming folks in an avant garde, artsy setting. The vibe in the Netherlands, at least at this club, seemed a little more laid back and quirky than our first encounters in Belgium.
The sound man, Han, tried his best to get his head around are single-condenser mic (bluegrass style!) set-up, and we enjoyed another delicious home-cooked meal while he sorted out the kinks.
The crowd was an elegant, music-loving bunch. Our set was billed as “Up-tempo Music from the USA,” and the audience was very appreciative of what they heard. We stepped down from the mics and did two songs for an unplugged encore on the floor. It felt like a living room jam, only in an unlit European club for folks that may have never heard bluegrass before – not to mention the language barrier. What a privilege and thrill for us !
The manager at De Piek, a very kind and enthusiastic local named Ellen, took video throughout the performance and said she would post some of it on the YouTube channel: Ariemeis.
Barely an hour later, we were back in Belgium at our temporary home. It’s time to get some rest for tomorrow’s shows at a local prison (inmates only!) and in historic Antwerpen.
Stay tuned for more updates.