As soon as we got near the venue, Calvin snapped to it abrubtly and remembered exactly where to park and how everything was situated. As it turns out, he was there in April with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and guitarist Vernon Reid as Freeform Funky Freqs. There was no internet in the hotel but the venue – Kunst and Kulturhaus, built in the 12th century – had wifi and luckily, it was open for immediate load in. From there, everything exploded into a million beautiful particles that continue to shine. What a big surprise. Oblarn turned out to be the sleepy little place that wasn’t so sleepy after all. The food, for example, was tremendous. I had the trout, which I loved. I should have gotten the lamb, which was astonishing. (Isn't Calvin nice to let me eat off of his plate all the time?) Mark had the beef stroganoff, which tipped the scale towards fantastic. Unfortunately, that was enough to send us to bed, or at least a good little nap. When I eat that well, I know I'm going to sleep like a child.
In spite of a momentary snag during the set – Blood thought someone was videotaping the show and he stopped everything to figure it out – things only got better from there, really. The music began to shift into overdrive early on. I distinctly remember the feeling of being blown back by the sound of Blood’s guitar – like a jet engine, churning and unwinding – and not being able to stop my body from flinching repeatedly. And then I looked into the audience and saw another girl who was having the same reaction. The visceral response is an honest one.
The audience was warm, enthusiastic and genuinely appreciative. Later, as I went to search for something to eat, I found the bar and more people. Hans gave me a long narrow beautiful bottle of local schnapps. I can’t get it anyplace else, I can’t order it online. What a conundrum. To me, local things are really the best there is because they are so inherently unique. As commercialism threatens to turn everything into a strip mall, such things grow more and more precious. And sacred, somehow. I don’t usually drink and I just loved it. It tasted like pears and elderflowers. Treat it like medicine, Hans intoned. I am absolutely drop-dead terrified that I will break it before I return to Harlem, so I wrap it very carefully in a thick towel and bury it in my luggage everytime we stop and go.
No one behind the bar had ever heard of mescal – my personal favorite. I think I’ll send some as a thank you. If I could, I’d leave a bottle of high grade mescal in my wake, everywhere I go that loves me. When it’s done right, it’s the absolute limit.
I had to leave eventually for the sake of my voice -- my physical body is my instrument and if I don't get the rest I need (and not strain my voice by talking in loud bars) I won't be able to sing. It doesn't help that I have GERD, either.
On the other hand, Mark and Calvin closed the place down. Calvin is a big kid but I think that Mark is still recovering…