TEM QUE CONTINUAR TOUR 2016 – REPORT (EN)

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Our fourth tour of Brazil starts on January 29 in São Paulo, but not with a Yellow Cap show. At the first night, just some hours after we have landed we are guests at the Carneval concert of our friends OBMJ (Orquestra Brasileira de Música Jamaicana), a quite famours rocksteady group from São Paulo. Well we shouldn’t waste any time by just relaxing. Brazilians don’t care too much when it comes to the real dates of Carneval. This is why during the first night we get an impression of what might happen later. By the way – greetings to Cologne, Mainz etc: you should think about moving Carneval to summer time. 30°C is much better to party. If somebody wants to start a petition, we are the first to sign it!

The following day we have to relax then. The flight was long, and it’s hot summer in Brazil, the air is stuffy. We are sweating. While standing. While sitting. In the shade, no stage, at the bar. Also at night. What helps are cold drinks and reducing speed. It doesn’t take too long to reduce German speed. In Brazil everything is a little slower.

 

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The first highlight of the tour: On January 31st we are expected at Victor Rice’s studio. After long preparations we will record a new song, directed by Victor Rice! Who would have thought. A really kind, laid-back and so talented man. He’s not one of the most famous and most experienced producers in the scene for nothing. And we have some great support, who’s not so well-known in Germany, but a uma problema grande – a big thing – in Brazil: Lourdes la Luz is rapping the  Ragga part. Goosebumps. Her song „Andei“ was part of our soundtrack to previous tours, and know she’s on the mic singing for us! We are flattered. Victor as well. Late at night we are sitting close to each other in his apartment on the 30th floor of Edificio Copan, watching him mixing our recordings, listening to his stories from more than 30 years in the business and feel high of the breath-taking view over São Paulo. The Edificio Copan – built from Oscar Niemeyer’s designs, was the biggest building in the world when it was finished in 1966. 5000 people living in 1160 apartments – and it has its own zipcode! A day not to be forgotten.

When we went to Victor’s place we got into a gay-lesbian Carneval parade. Several thousands were dancing wildly behind a truck with blasting Brazilian music. On our way back – which took quite long, as we had to walk past some bars – the parade is over, but the atmosphere is still festive. The streets are crowded. Another four hours and people have to go to work, right? What an amazing day. Side note: the band did a great job at Studio A Cozinha – The rhythm section, which Brazilians call „the kitchen“ played in one take, same to the brass section. This creates a nice, natural and warm sound.

The next day – and after a long day this should be allowed – is starting in the early afternoon with an excellent lunch at one of the restaurants in which you pay by the weight of your meal – typical for Brazil. You help yourself at a huge buffet, put your plate on the scale and you pay between 20 and 40 Real (5-10 Euros) per kilogram. The dishes are excellent and unhealthy! Fat, cheese, meat, some veggies, but you won’t see this on a plate. Throughout Brazilian cities you see advertisements for Sal de Frutas, fruit salt. It’s supposed to help if you have a hangover. Now you know what’s happening here. Later during the evening we are taking a night bus to Rio de Janeiro. When sitting on the bus station the next morning and hanging out until we can check in at the hostel, Clemens get some serious gastrointestinal infection, which over the following days will also harm five others of the crew. Sal de Frutas also helps in this case. This tip came from Fritz’s mother in law. Ah, important information: Unfortunately our guitarist Christoph couldn’t join us in Brazil because of his job in Germany. Fritz Bayer helped out and replaced him brilliantly. Thanks Fritz!

Clemens is doing better that evening, so we can play our first gig. Which wasn’t sure until some minutes before the show, as he was really sick. The first show of the tour, in the middle of Lapa, Rio’s Kreuzberg. The neighborhood in which Samba, Pagode, Bossa Nova and Forró played a huge role. Opener of the night is Fernanda Sant´Anna Brasilidade, backed by our brass section. There’s not a large crowd, but it’s suer nice, heartful and like a family. Highlight of the show is definitely Toots Hibbert’s 54-46 with Fernanda singing in a duet.

We spend most of the following day at the beach of Ipanema. Fritz is sick, the first to get infected after Clemens, but not as bad. The good air from the sea and the sun make him feel better.

On our last day in Rio we are meeting Fernanda and her band mates Licinho (percussion) and William Magalhães (guitar) in a small studio at the Copacabana. We invited our three friends to record one verse of our newly recorded song „Around the World“ as well. We hope to release the product later in summer.

Next stop: São Carlos. We are playing at a crowdy show in the middle of the city. Just before starting the show Kay’s face is turning pale. You know what this means: 24h in the bathroom. Kay, what was your impression? „To be honest, this was the heaviest gig I’ve ever played. It’s super tough to concentrate, in constant fear you might suddenly vomit straight into the audience! However, we have finished the show until the last song. And where I have spent the next hours of the night, I guess nobody’s interested in that …“ Peter had a high temperature before, during and after this show. Influenza is a heavy topic in Brazil right now, everyone knows why with all the bad consequences of a Zika infection. We were quite worried, until Peter felt better the next day.

Around noon time we were picked up by our driver Ronaldo. Being quite late on his first day made us call him „Delaycio“. Until the end of the tour he saved our lives at least once – I’m not joking. He had to give way to a wrong-way-driving truck – we were close to scream out loud! And he saved us from worse when we got into a stop and search. He pretended that the bus door is not opening properly and gave us the chance to buckle up, right before the police could see us through the door. And everyone knows that Brazilian police is mostly acting quite determined and also inadequate.

Our next stop was a Fazenda, a farm, close to the city of Sertãozinho. There we played around two in the morning, as the third band at the festival called „Grito Rock“. These concerts and festival take place all around Brazil as an alternative to the traditional Carneval. As we should play in Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais the next day, a ten hour drive away, we decided to drive through the night. Another reason was that the promoter hadn’t thought about a place where we could spend the night … Things like that happen. The tour was quite hard during these days. Also for the reason that at that time we didn’t know where to spend the next night – and when our driver would find some hours to rest.

 

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Sunday February 7. All struggles and fatigue are forgotten when we arrive at the Praça Tiradentes in Ouro Preto. Hell was raised! The city was seething with energy. That’s Carneval! One bloco de samba is pushing the following bloco through the excited masses on this huge town square and the narrow and pittoresque colonial streets. People are cheering and dancing. When we are walking up on stage at 7:30, around 20.000 people are gathering in front of us and are celebrating us, our music, like at no other show to follow. Euphoric, extatic and some other strong word with e… escalating maybe. We are escalating as well. It’s a felling I cannot describe, being on stage in front of this amazing audience. To the end of our set we need to interrupt our concert as one of the oldest and most famous blocos de samba of the town are entering the square. „bloco before band“ is the rule. Ouro Preto is going bananas. When it’s withdrawing into one of the side roads, it’s time again for Yellow Cap. Even more people are here now. Everyone’s dancing to the encore, even in the back rows. Fireworks. Big feelings. It’s fantastic! We are not staying long enough in this town. Until it was midnight we didn’t know where to sleep and that the promoters had booked rooms for us in Belo Horizonte – Minas Gerais’ capital, a three hour drive away, where Jogi’s boys made soccer history against the Seleção: 7-1. After two exhausting days and even harder nights in the van we are kicking back into soft beds in luxury hotel rooms. Thanks Ouro Preto, you were nice to us!

Already at the show on the Fazenda people warned us that the club in Ribeirão Preto, our next destination, would be small. Very small. When we are driving up to the doors, around 350 people are standing in front of the club and waiting. Maybe 50 people fit inside. We are basically standing on a little court surrounded by the audience. There’s no border between band and audience. Everyone’s dancing, pushing, sweating … We are being treated as friends. Actually everywhere, but especially here. It will be our most intimate gig. We are playing a lot of small stages. But it’s never been that cosy. Hope to see you all next year.

 

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Then comes a home game: Poços de Caldas. Fourth time! The most luxury club on the tour. Everyone knows us. The health resort is in the mood for Carneval. There no such pompous Carneval as in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. But people are enjoying Carneval in a lot of places throughout Brazil. There are festival stages in every corner with music from blues to samba rock. The ska party (us!) is sold out with 450 tickets. They even sing Rudi’s trombone solo in Mrs Marple Ska! We’ve never seen this before. The finished the night quite late at our friends of Casa Fora do Eixo. The rest of the audience left the club after our last song. We were the last official event in the city. When one of us was catching a glimpse of the watch it was 4 in the morning. Ash wednesday. We are staying. Big up for your consistency and invincibility, Lars Friedrich! You suffered from influenza since the morning. You tough dog!

Next day a supposedly never ending drive to Barbacena. Thomsen is sick. Guess what’s wrong with him? In Barbacena, headquarters of earlier Brazil tours we are meeting our longtime friend, part time manager and tour manager Fred Furtado. Without him and his brother in crime Clebinho it would have never been possible to reach this state of popularity we are profiting from now. Just like last year we are playing at Mirante club on the Barbacena hill, high above the town – what a fantastic view. But in contrast to last year, this is a show for family and friends. Which is not surprising, as after days of partying people are weary and leached out – we were not counting on a big crowd. But everyone is in a good mood and it is a long night with a lot of good friends. We see the sunrise from above.

Before having to leave the next afternoon to Belo Horizonte we are having some time for a good lunch with Fred. If everyone of you is visiting Barbacena, please eat at the pay-per-kilogram restaurant just across the post office at the market square. Delicious.

The team at Baixo Centre in BH (abbreviation for Belo Horizonte, pronounced Beha-Ga) is already waiting for us. The soundcheck is an adventure, but we learned to stay cool. Everything’s fine. And actually the sound during the show is not easy for us, but no problem for the atmosphere. The club was crowded and people seemed to have regained some energy since the end of Carneval.

February 12. Two more shows, the tour will be over soon. After a ten hour drive we are arriving late in Campinas. The promoter David was happy to have us headlining his 10 years Festival anniversary show of „Skandalosa“.Malacabeza, the other band of the night who we already new from the year before, start off with a set of laid-bacl rocksteady hymns. When we are playing a Derrick Morgan song together later at night, people are freaking out. A long night is finding its end with a sunrise on David’s terrace.

And then it’s finally there. The last day of the tour. Driving to São Paulo is faster than any of the other trips. Only 100k – which you can easily make in 2 hours. We are closing this chapter with a headlining gig at the „Skarnaval“ Festival with the Brazilian ska bands SAPOBANJO“ and „NOKADS“. Our drummer larry is interrupting the show  after the first half of the set and invites the audience to sing a birthday song for our singer Kay. The entire hall is chanting to „Parabens pra voce“. Unbelievable. Kay was clearly touched and getting a little red in his face …

Two hours later we are having our last drinks with the whole crew in front of the hotel, as Peter (keys), Fiedel (trumpet) and Fritz (guitar) have to leave for Germany. The rest will take the bus to the beaches of Costa Verde the next morning to relax for some days – in a small, sleepy village at the beach, surrounded by the jungle and birds of the paradise. Us included. The local drink is called Gabriela.

Now we are back in Germany with a pocket full of good intentions, ideas and inspirations. Hopefully the daily routine will not kill of it by the blink of an eye. Side note: Use the next day to plan the next tour!