At the Polish Hop - September 09
Steve, Rob, Gary and Roger in Inowroclaw
Steve in concert
A whirlwind visit to Inowroclaw, pronounced Enovrotzlav, in central Poland three hours from Warsaw. Arrived at night at Bydgoszcz, pronounced Bidgosh. Town had look of the Third Man meets Dracule Towers... zero population... obvious signs of vampire activity. Kept head down and checked into hotel.
Next day, all was transformed. Sunny Saturday morning vibe in beautiful old town surroundings with bustling crowds. I got a feeling the gig was going to be good, and indeed it was. From the sound check onwards the guitar just had that nice fat leathery sort of whine enhanced by ancient wooden planks under arched Hollywood Bowl style stage.
From the opening note the festival crowd were totally with us, with as much applause as any act could ever wish for. From then on it felt like we were doing encores.
Although it apparently rained everywhere else in Poland, luckily the weather held. The Beeb's weather report proved totally wrong... Zeus suspended his thunderbolts... and the evening turned into one of the band's best gigs. The only casualty of the night was a drum trigger that decided to go down before Every Day, promoting a spontaneous piece of Mozart (courtesy of Roger King on ivories) whilst Nick Beggs and I performed a pas de deux. After the short impromptu, the rest of the gig was a corker!
Gary in soundcheck
Of course the band went wild afterwards, with tea and sandwiches in our backstage tent... Oh, the excesses... the endless biscuits and Lap sang Soushong over stories of old campaigns. At this point I broke off to meet enthusiastic fans for album signings and photos... a night to remember in a town that turned out to be sunny in more ways than one. Possibly the last balmy September night of a Summer's End - ironically the name of the band's next festival in Lydney, UK on 9th October...
My thanks to Piotr Kosinski and to Konrad, Stefan and all the team in Poland for their hospitality and for such an enjoyable concert and visit.
Poland YouTube links
Roger sipping tea with 'Auntie' Nick
Nick and Rob with 'Uncle' Brian