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The End of the Year

The End of the year

Well, we’ve nearly made it through another year of Brexit related bollocks to finally arrive at the December – I think it’s still called that .

Even in the office they’ve joined in the political correctness madness and instead of the Xmas (X is in the place of Christ!) piss-up, we are now attending the ‘years end party’. The result is still the same, everyone trying to avoid drinking the ‘Zirbenschnaps’ that the boss is trying to press on everyone. It really does smell like some kind of urinal cleaner. Probably tastes like it too.

Midlife Crisis are also kicking out the jams with festive fun and are meeting up to plan our conquest of Europe (excluding Britain, of course who have decided to strike trade deals with the outer Aleutian islands instead – a much better prospect).All this needs to be minutely planned. Starting off in the lower palatinate and spreading like an itchy rash over the state of Bavaria finally arriving back at the same table next year to plan our conquest of Europe before a large part of the band decide to retire to the island of saint Martinique with the accumulated millions that have been earned from 30 years of slogging around the pubs and clubs. Yes, that’s exactly what it’s like. It’s not all sex and drugs and rock’ n roll you know. Actually there’s only one third of that saying left over. I’ll leave it to you to work out which bit.

It’s been a good year. We started in Schwarzenfeld (see blog) and finished at a wedding, with various ports of call in between. I’ve enjoyed each and every gig this year, each one had its own character and that’s why a years end review and party is useful to put things in perspective, look back and contemplate that things aren’t as bad as they seem – we can survive anything – even Trump!

Merry Christmas, may your god go with you and we’ll see you all again in 2019!

Alte Mälze – Regensburg 13.02.2018

Who wants to break free? Almost twenty-five years after they first played at the Mälze in Regensburg on ‘Faschingsdienstag’ , Midlife Crisis ltd seem have given their best shot for this occasion. Faded, bored: not a sign of it.

Two decades ago, with a different line-up entirely, their live show was a depressingly blokey and homely affair. But their current reincarnation feels more in tune with the show, for its end of Fasching feeling and youthful turbo-glam seventies attitude. Dynamic on the guitar and flamboyant with the between song banter, Wolfgang Haarer makes a superb mc, one minute telling a joke, the next cajoling a willing audience into mesmeric chant of ‘we want sweet’ before the well-oiled (in every sense of the word) band launch into a rousing version of ‘Love is like Oxygen’. More importantly, he can still muster the swashbuckling gitarrero posing and tight-trousered showmanship that these ageless anthems demand. But he’s not the only weapon of mass seduction. The shed builder that supports the whole construction and keeps it on the fine line between self-parodying ‘Schlager’ and a good kick in the balls rock night, is Andi Gmeinwieser. The newbie in the band, he displays an envious grasp of beat gymnastics to keep the whole ship afloat. But………

Who wants to break free? That was the newly cobbled together intro for the evening, put together by the man with twelve fingers on the ivories, Martin Wirthensohn. WTF? Darkness, and then the sounds of a hybrid ‘Captain Future’ theme overlaid with Neil Armstrong’s immortal lines. Blam! Lights,action. Then comes Queen’s paean to freedom, the floor immediately full with a black sea of dancers, the audience a mixture of regulars and freshers dressed as pirates, witches and hippies looking for the last kick before diving headlong into the melancholy of ash Wednesday at the stroke of midnight.

Three and a half hours later and, in what seems like the blink of an eye, it’s all over. The five sweat encrusted musos take their well-earned rest and head back to the awaiting oxygen tents at the rear, looking back on a gig that will stay in the memory for a long time – the perfect blend of a band enjoying being there to play, and a crowd that wanted them to.

The fiftieth birthday – The Raven Straubing 20.01.2018

Tonight Midlife Crisis ltd played their second January gig in The Raven in Straubing, a rock club that you find all too seldom these days. The entrance is hidden away in a small and uninviting alley, that leads into a small bar and bistro area. But, if you are courageous enough to carry on you come into a much larger space, in what looks like it was earlier used as a warehouse. Everything looks half finished, the drapes on the stage are hanging down, all of the chairs have been gathered from various charity shops over the years. But, and it is a big but, the place has atmosphere and character that is sadly missing from a lot of venues.

Why were we there? It was a fiftieth birthday party of a fellow musician and we were invited to play. Fuzz made a notable first impression by entering the arena on his face after failing to notice a small, but not unimportant step that took him by surprise. This incident then inevitably became the running gag of the eveing ‘Fuzz, mind the step’.

Nori and co. Played a likeable and able blend of Mississippi acoustic blues, with the highlight of ACDC’s ‘she’s got the Jack’. The audience singing heartily without ever understanding the veneareal background of the song.

There was a pivotal moment in the evening, when the packed audience, saw Christian, the birthday boy perform with his band Blues Control and experienced a barnstorming version of ‘all along the watchtower’. this broke the ice on a hitherto restained crowd. After that there was no holding back. How would we go down? This was obviously Blues country. We needn’t have worried.

From the opening chords of ‘Hungry heart’ the audience were pumped and bounced along to the entire set. Old favourites combined with a sprinkling a new songs, ‘My Sharona’ being a standout, produced an electric, sweaty and altogether feelgood performance that left both audience and band drained. A final encore of ‘We are the Champions’ and that was it. Hometime through the steadily worsening weather.

Schwarzenfeld 13.01.2018

Right then, a new year and the first gig with a few new songs in the portfolio. The premiere of new songs live on stage is completely different to learning them in the practice room or at home, all of the lyrics seem to mysteriously dissapear from the memory, as though you have never seen them before. So,there was a certain nervousness underlying the normal excitement.

Also a new venue. The Tanzstadl in Schwarzenfeld. If you’ve ever googled it and looked at the pictures online, you would never believe that there is still such a venue alive and kicking. a big function room with a certain 80s charm, complete with little red lamp clusters and ultraviolet dandruff exposing lights. The stage is 2 tiered, not big, but big enough to fit all 5 musicians on stage, but also not large enough to allow anyone to throw any rockstar shapes and moves. A good lighting rig and pa was available and also a mixer came with it. A good start.

The landlord met us with good humour and offered us drinks straight away. After the mixer arrived, he surrounded the drum kit completely with mics, much to andi’s amusement, and then proceeded to cable up all the instruments and set sound levels. It was a good soundcheck, and we tried out the new material. It went well and so we for something to eat relaxed and looking forward to the evening. Curry wurst and Schnitzel consumed, we awaited the expected influx of guests. Boredom crept in and so Martin and myself examined the band cards that were placed over the bar, which had obviously not been looked at in a long time;  dust covered names like Niki and Los Duo Dorado, names that conjure up a certain horror among musicians.

And still we waited. Then waited a bit more. After that, we waited. The gig was due to commence at 9, but we waited  a bit longer until maybe more people arrived, but they didn’t. We started with more people on the stage than in the audience. But, we rocked and the people started to stream into the hall, until there about 20 people there. We played well. There audience were fantastic, they all joined in and made it a memorable evening. The landlord snd people who spoke to us positively euphoric and also a tiny bit embaressed because of the indifference of the people of Schwarzenfeld. They complain that there is nothing happening and when there is something, they don’t vist it. But, we’ll be back and next time, I’m sure the place will be packed. Word of mouth.

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