East Cameron Folkcore: Tour Diary, Part II
Local collective ponders fans, family & musicians in Hamburg
By Mary Beth Widhalm, 1:30PM, Tue. Oct. 1
“Tour Brain” is a serious thing. After a week or so, you start to forget what your real life is like and how to use words in sentences. You forget what your house looks like and your dad’s middle name.
East Cameron Folkcore has been on tour in Germany for 11 days, and, collectively, we’ve long since stopped trying to remember which day of the week it is. We now tell time by cities, venues, or what the crowd in either of the two was like. With every show we get better – our sound, our teamwork, our timing – and we continue to rise to the professionalism being expected of us from the first professional tour any of us has ever encountered.
Our label, Grand Hotel von Cleef, grew out of a life of DIY music. A bunch of friends in a bunch of different bands came together and created this label, and it’s now quickly becoming a big name in the German music scene.
This family-style approach, plus the excitement and appreciation for our music being poured over us from every individual who works at the label, has made us feel at home and among friends. Being totally outside of the German music scene, we had no idea what to expect until we arrived at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on Friday. The label’s main office is in Hamburg, across the street from the Bunker – a giant structure built during World War II that has been turned into a massive maze of a venue – now home to Reeperbahn, or as we decided to call it, German South By. There were shows on three floors in many different rooms, but we still packed our 300-capacity room within the first 10 minutes of the set.
The Austin music scene is unique and often overwhelming, and it’s been good for us to get out of the local bubble and see what the rest of the world can be like. German crowds are definitely not what we are used to: They listen intently, dance and clap and scream for encores, and approach you after the show to compliment the parts they liked and make suggestions about the things they think we should change. The appreciation we’ve received has all been completely genuine and based on nothing but our sound and our performance. We have had several new friends come out to multiple shows, sometimes traveling hours out of town just to see us again, which is kind of mind-blowing when you consider the difficulty we have getting people to come out even when we play south of the river in our hometown.
Our Austin fans are our family, but being treated like musicians instead of friends has had a positive impact on the way we play together and approach the shows. Every day we practice together, we eat and drink and fight and laugh together, and every night we are a better band than we were the night before.
Our dear friend and videographer Tyson Heder came out for a few days to film us. During one of our informal interviews, he asked us what we were most looking forward to. Many of our upcoming shows were mentioned – a festival in Vienna, a free show in an amazing old venue in Hamburg, and the possibility of future European tours – but all I could think to say was this: I am most looking forward to the show tonight.
I hope I say that every day.