Henhouse Prowlers: Europe (Part Two)
Words By Dan Andree
For the Monday after Easter, we found ourselves back in our home-away-from home in Gierle, Belgium playing at the pub down the street from the house we are staying in. We have gotten to know the staff and many of the patrons over the past few days, as In Den Eik (The Old Oak) has been our watering hole of choice in this small village.
After sitting down to a great homemade meal straight from Chris, the bar-owner, we started setting up. People started to trickle in and some were slightly apprehensive, hearing that we were a band from the states. One elderly gentleman, in broken English, asked me if we were like ACDC (because his ears were sensitive to loud noise). I assured him that we would do nothing but caress his ears in the most tender of ways. It did not hurt our case that the bar sent a mass text message to the locals exclaiming that we were “The best bluegrass band in the USA” (In Flemish of course). I admitted to the man who showed me the message that it was not true.
When we started to play, we saw some familiar faces, as well as many from nearby villages, who had either gotten the flattering text message, or had heard of us through word-of-mouth since the band’s show here last year. We even reconnected with a couple that had met each other at the Prowlers show at In Den Eik last year. As proof of our love-inspiring powers, they are still together and she has a baby on the way!
During the second set, we asked the audience if it was alright if we took their picture from the stage to show our home-away-from-home folks to our home-close-to-home friends. As you can see, most agreed. But one man at the bar (who must have asked me what I played three different times) did not approve, and made his case plainly clear. The picture doesn’t quite show that his index finger was most definitely wagging.
All in all, it was a great show. At the end of the night, Grant and I stayed until closing time, dancing with eager, mature Belgian ladies. I even got asked to dance by the bar-owner’s wife... she didn’t know what she was getting herself into...
After a relaxing day off (our only one of the trip) we were in for a short trip to a nearby bar in Arendonk, Belgium. When we arrived, we were instantly taken aback by the towering beauty of a church that lay just next to the bar. As you can see this picture was taken at approximately 20:35 Central European Time. Interesting side note: they don’t call it “military time” here; they just call it... ”the time.”
We played to an intimate crowd at ‘t Stekske Café and enjoyed the local brews afterward. While Grant was slobbering over his Sloeber: (Sloeber picture) I took Jon’s recommendation and enjoyed the Shofar-esque La Corne while Ben stuck to the Belgian staple, Duval.
We had been hearing great things about Bacchus Café all week leading up to this show. Again, this gig was no more than a 20 minute drive from our band house. The bar-owner, “Juice Man,” was a stand-up guy and reminded me a lot of the good venue managers in the states. After a drink at the bar, we set up on the shot-gun stage that had more room front to back than it did side to side (which made for some interesting choreography). After soundcheck, we found Grant looking quite frazzled. We’re not sure if he was going for the European look, or if the 240 volts were just too much for him.
From the first note we played, everyone from the bar got up and came closer to see what was up with the American guys in suits playing hillbilly music. I believe we won most of the crowd over, as most only left the stage area to get a beer before quickly returning. Overall, we got a very warm reception and Juice Man invited us upstairs to sign the backstage wall. Starr elegantly points out our newly claimed real estate.
It was a good week of shows and we’re looking forward to the weekend. Tonight we play N9, which I hear is a great room. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and we have five shows in the next three days, so the next one will surely be jam-packed with adventure, mystery, and intrigue!! Until next time, stay classy ‘Murica.