The Nemelrock Diary
Date: April 10, 2001 07:51AM

Thursday, April 5

I leave Zurich in anticipation of a weekend filled with good fun and lots of great music. Traveling in Europe by air is a nightmare. Most flights just never leave or arrive on time. And if they do, you can bet on your luggage getting lost or stolen. Just ask Kieran, Ireland’s towering pride and joy. He spent a good portion of the weekend on the phone trying to locate his bag that never made it to the city of football heroes Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos. I transfer in Paris where we get stuck in the plane for close to two hours waiting for the catering truck to arrive. My chatty French neighbor takes this opportunity to explain to me in great detail why the stock market will continue its nose dive and why everybody should better invest in bonds and CD’s (not the ones that play music...). Great. Not only I’m I starving, but I now feel even worse about my pathetic little portfolio. Definitely not a good way to start off the weekend. My mood turns for the better right away as we arrive in sunny Madrid. I immediately embark on the 45 minute bumper-to-bumper cab drive to the hotel. After checking in and freshen up, I walk to Sun Records, which is just around the corner from my hotel and hope to make it on time for the Adrian Gale acoustic gig. I get there but the whole thing is already over. Bummer. Haven’t really eaten all day (unless you count that processed stuff they serve you on planes food), I decide to go to a nearby sandwich place and try to order something. This turns out to be a mighty challenge. My Spanish, I’m afraid, doesn’t go much further than Olla, Olé, Gracias and El Pollo Loco. The good lady behind the counter has no clue what I want and I have no clue what she’s trying to tell me. This, of course, will be a theme for the entire weekend. I just point at something the person next to me has on his plate. Back at the hotel, I call Kieran and Phil Aschroft. They have just gotten into town as well minus one bag. We decide to meet at my hotel. A while later, I call the guys again. They’ve gotten lost on the way over and wait for me in some bar on Puerta del Sol. As I try to find that place, I get lost as well. After stumbling through Madrid for more than an hour, I end up at the Hard Rock Café. I have a drink and go back to the hotel.

Friday, April 6

It’s beautiful, it’s sunny and it’s warm. I love this town! I meet up with Kieran and Phil at Sun Records. This has got to be one of the better record places around. Lots of cool CD’s, T-shirts, mags and other merchandise. We browse for a while, then grab something to eat. Kieran calls the airline several times to see what’s up with his luggage. Some piece of advice for you folks: Never fly Air Lingus! If I remember correctly, they lost his stuff for the second time now! Since the poor guy doesn’t have anything to wear, we accompany him shopping. The rest of the afternoon is spent in a café on Puerta del Sol, soaking in the sun and talking music. Life is good. After a quick dinner we go back to our hotels and change for the night. I take a cab to the Revolver Club and get there around 21.30. This is a really nice venue with a capacity of around 600 people. A kick ass Spanish cover band tears up the place by playing all sorts of classics tunes – Europe, Whitesnake, Harem Scarem, the works. The woman fronting the band, probably not taller than 160 cm, has got a tremendous voice and power for two. Somebody brings up the good idea to have these guys come over to Wigan and play Maximes before the next Gods in November. Various members from all the bands slowly find their way into the club as well: Mr. Dare Darren Wharton himself, the guys from Adrian Gale (including John Kivel of Kivel Records), the entire gang of House of Shakira (slightly toasted already), as well as Harry Hess and Peter Lesperance of Harem Scarem. Everybody’s talking, taking pics and having a good time. The club shuts down Melodic Rock night around midnight and opens the regular disco. We leave and hook up with John Kivel at some Pub near his hotel. On the way over there, we bump into Andreas Eklund, Mats Hallstensson and Anders Lunström from House of Shakira (still toasted) who can’t find their way back to the hotel. We think we point them in the right direction... John brings along a portable CD player and plays us some soon to be released new stuff from a band called T&A. Quite interesting, sort of a mix of Harem Scarem and Bad Moon Rising. Should be a good one. It’s back to the hotel around four in the morning.

Saturday, April 7

I wake up around elven and have breakfast at the hotel. Before getting myself into an afternoon and night of Melodic Rock, I decide to do a little sightseeing. The Museo Prada, the Museo Thyssen, the Plaza Mayor as well as the Palacio Real prove that Madrid is one beautiful city. I make it to the Revolver around four. The place looks pretty packed already and the first band of the day, 91 Suite, takes the stage. Their sound is very much like early Bon Jovi, especially the vocalist sounds a lot like Jon Bon. Not very original but solid. Next up are Elyte. Also very much 80’s oriented, they sure know how to write catchy songs. Again, not very original and a bit too dated for my taste. Next up is Rafa Martin. He delivers kind of a John Mellencamp/Bryan Adams type set that could have been a rockier. By this time, the club is pretty full. The crowd is very mixed, which is a nice change from the usual retro crowds you see at these kind of events. Lots of younger people and a large number of really good looking women. There’s a really good vibe happening. The sound is fabulous too. Compliments to the organizers for putting together a flawless event. The breaks in between gig could have been a bit longer though. That way, people could actually get something to eat. Meanwhile, Adrian Gale are set to take the stage. John Kivel is running around like a madman, creating the best possible conditions for his band. I was really impressed by his tireless efforts to get everything right before and during the gig. The guy is label executive, personal assistant, and roadie at the same time. If I were in a band, that’d be the kind of guy I wanted behind me. Way to go, John! Adrian Gale delivered without a doubt the most energetic and in your face performance of the day. They were totally pumped up and you could feel it. The whole joint was jumping. Phil and I, as well as a few others, were invited to step in as "Nasty Habit" backup singers during their cover of Motley Crue’s "Kickstart My Heart". We all had a total blast up there. We might not be as pretty as those two ladies, but at least we know how to sing LOL! Right after that, Darren Wharton calmed things down with an amazing set of semi-unplugged Dare tunes. I thought it was the perfect contrast to Adrian Gales' barn burner. I really look forward to hearing the new album. Up next was my favorite band of the day, House of Shakira. I just love these guys. They proved their genius on stage as well. Andreas’ fine voice and those heavenly harmonies sounded live just as amazing as on record. Then it was the band everybody was dying to see and hear: Harem Scarem. They were by far the tightest and most professional band of the day. In fact, I had no idea how good a live band they are. I don’t own any of their live albums, but I guess I have to track down at least one of them. They played all the hits and also quite a few new Rubber songs. Personally, I really like Rubber stuff, especially "Ultra Feel" is a great album. But many in the crowd were disappointed by that. Also, it didn’t help matters that Harry and Peter had a lot of fun teasing the audience with older songs before plunging into the new stuff. To me, it was just them goofing off a little bit. It will be interesting to see how this new HS album is going to turn out. For some reason, I have a hard time imagine them going back to the old sound. And why should they? Besides, you could totally feel that they had more fun playing the new tuens. I guess time will tell. Unfortunately, the otherwise perfect day ended on a sour note. For some reason, Adrian Gale didn’t get paid. Certainly bad news for an upstart band and label coming all the way from America. I don’t know the details, so I won’t speculate on why that happened or put the blame on somebody. Let’s just hope there will be another Nemelrock next year and EVERYBODY will go back home happy. After the show, Darren Wharton, House of Shakira as well as the Adrian Gale clan and some fans gather at Excalibur, a pretty happening rock club. Very strange scene though. I feel like back in 1986. Lots of people with big hair and matching outfits. This must be the twilight zone. I call it a night around five in the morning.

Sunday, April 8

After three hours of sleep, I check out and take a cab back to the airport. Of course my plane leaves late and makes me miss my connecting flight in Paris. Great. Another four hours to kill at the airport. Finally make it back to Zurich around eight. Tired but happy. It's quite amazing, really. Just a few years ago, I didn't know any of these people like Phil and Kieran. Now we meet with cool bands and other people from all over the world, sharing good laughs, a few drinks and lots of good music. I just love the internet...

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
The Nemelrock Diary163 Peter M. Bietenholz 04/10/2001 07:51AM
Re: The Nemelrock Diary 111 CARLOS DESTROYER 04/10/2001 10:56AM
not fair at all 115carlito04/10/2001 12:04PM
Re: The Nemelrock Diary 110Peter M. Bietenholz04/10/2001 04:52PM
Re: Thanks for the wonderful post , Peter !!! 105 Melodic Lover ( Spain ) 04/10/2001 11:42AM
Re: The Nemelrock Diary 127 Phil #1 04/10/2001 04:20PM
Re: The Nemelrock Diary 97Jack04/10/2001 04:29PM

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