We woke up in Emmen and had breakfast whilst listening to some uplifting EDM. Will isn’t impressed with the music while I quite enjoy listening to something fresh. After all the only music I’ve heard for the last five days is punk rock n roll. It’s quite nice to hear some epic breakdowns. We load up the van early doors and head to Nijmegen. It’s one of a few gigs I’m particularly excited about.
We arrive into the city around 1pm and it’s much busier than usual because of the summer fest. We quickly unload then set about exploring the city. I know the city pretty well but even I’m disorientated by the amount of people, stages, performers, and food stalls. Every street has something going on. It’s like someone has just dropped a Glastonbury on the city centre. I’d say that I’ve not seen anything quite like it but I have in Gent, Belgium last year. We don’t have anything like it in the U.K. Maybe Notting Hill Carnival. These street festivals here last a week. It’s incredible.
We meander around the streets and stop briefly to watch some of the performances and eventually we reach the riverside. It has sand like a beach. We drink beer and watch some guys on speedboats riding the waves created by the huge tugs. Rain briefly stopped play and we decided to head into the city. Our friend Sid invites us to his flat to drink beer and chill. His balcony also overlooks a stage so we can also enjoy the various Dutch pop acts covering artists like Elvis, Neil Diamond etc… it’s quite fun.
Around 6pm we go back to The Bijstand which is tonight’s venue. We play pinball and await dinner to be served. The show starts at 9pm with Bettie Akkemaai and David Holmes doing their thing. It was quite hot in the venue and I try to spend time near the back or even outside to keep cool. The venue is also filling up. Luckily they had foresight to remove all the furniture in order to fit all the extra people in.
Barleycorn Bastards are up next and as ever they were great. A fun energetic Pogues type band. We played with them on the last tour and we’re also booking UK dates with them in November. Later in the set I’m invited to sing ‘All for my Grog’ with them. It was real fun.
We were up next at 11.45pm and we’re a little behind schedule. We did wish to play our new album in full plus a few favourites but the venue has a curfew at 12.30pm and we don’t wish to get anyone into any unnecessary trouble so we hastily rearrange the set list. We have a lot of fun again. During Mental we are joined by The Rebel Poet and also Sid from Barleycorn Bastards which feels great onstage. Bettie Akkemaai then also joins us for ‘Sound of the Kraken’. Maarten from Barleycorn Bastards then joins in by playing the whistle on ‘Under Attack’. ‘Kaassouffle’ was pretty fun tonight too. At one point I threw the microphone to someone in the crowd to sing whilst I went crowd surfing. Amazing scenes. ‘Retaliation’ was one of my favourites tonight I was joined again by Bettie Akkemaai and also my friend Jazz who was working the bar both joined me on vocals.
We finish our last song ‘Rock n Roll Kid’ I’m dancing on the bar in my pants. Some of the crowd below me are joining in. I’m loving every second of it. Tonight felt like our band was a collective. We had so many guests and someone later said it felt interactive.
Afterwards we have a few drinks with friends and discuss sleeping arrangements. I feel like I’ve won the lottery when I finally see where I’m sleeping. My friend told me that she’s staying with her boyfriend so I can have her room. She warns me that it’s not the best bed and is untidy but at least it will be private away from the band. When I get to her room it feels like a palace. It’s super tidy and the bed is real comfy. I really do not mind being lied to in this way. This is luxury. I’ll sleep well tonight.