Spyrofied and Penniless in Latvia and Lithuania
Long had been the dark and cold winter... but definite sign of awaking spring is a red minibus with five yodelling yonkers and their crew. This time The Spyro had a driver Pekka, who had been transported the circus earlier and a soundman Zouwi.
This time the itinerary was following: Helsinki-Riga-Vilnius-Riga-Liepaja-Helsinki.
Wednesday 13th, Riga
We spend the first night in Riga. Our usual hostel (Old Town Hostel) had moved all the other customers away from the premises, because there was no heating or hot water. But we had already been warming up by singing backing vocals on our way (inspired by red wine) and this was no excuse for Finns like us to turn back. So we spend the first night in freezing atmosphere.
We left beloved Riga just to be back the next day, but first we headed towards Vilnius. 300 kilometres and several hours time to count cars and white storks ( U know this tall white bird which brings babies through chimney). Melancholic tiredness had to be erased, so Helsinki Spyroharmonic Choir started to train again. Poor driver and soundman;)
In Vilnius it took us some time to find the first gig venue. But finally we found Route 66 bar, carried the backline in, ate and started the sound check. Local Spyro fans had promised to take us to see the Frank Zappa statue, but the schedule was tight and we missed it again, for the third time, damn.
Local KAZAM played first, young energetic guys. They sang in English and in Lithuanian but it didn´t matter, show was good =) We headed to the stage and thanks to the eager listeners, show was sweaty and massive. The stage was quite small and that´s why local soundman had to be alert. He lifted monitors and set drum mikes back to their places when we played and rampaged. Later local promoter Alexandras took us to the hostel and finally we got to sleep in warm conditions. ZZZZZZZZZzzz... x7.
Friday 15th, Riga
300 kilometres back to Riga and there we headed straight to Nabaklab, where we met another Finnish band called Penniless. We had invited them to join us to the Latvian gigs because they are a good and an experienced band. You must spar with the best to get better. This minitour was called Spyrofied and Penniless in Latvia.
It is tradition that in Nabaklab we always have to wait for the local soundman, and also this time. When he arrived we did quick sound checks and funny thing is that all of a sudden Finnish headliner bands were supposed to start the night. Penniless played as first, we as second. We had removed two songs out of the set list, because there were so many bands and these two songs didn´t work out in Vilnius. Good show, thank you local fans. Hape got some praises from a Norwegian jazz guitarist. Go Hape, Go Norway, Go Jazz!
Do you know that they teach Finnish in Riga University? We didn´t, but we know now;). There was Finnish speaking Latvians on the gig. We must learn more Latvian for next time, Paldies!
Night ended in Old Town Hostel, heating ok, warm water ok, Sweet.
Saturday 16th, Liepaja
Smoke in the air! Spyrofied and Penniless convoy had to stop because Spyrovans tyre send some smoke signs. But luckily it was only hand brake. Pekka had forgotten to release it =)
Fontaine Palace is palace but this palace has also the slowest pizza service;) We had to wait 2-3 hours for our giant pizzas, but when they came, they tasted GOOD.
The Spyro made the first sound check and then it was time for some naps at the hotel. Fontaine Palace is open 24-7 and estimated show time for us was around 1 AM.
Penniless started as first act and they rocked! What an excellent band. It was about 2 am when we were about play, but ZIM ZALA BIM, Latvian band Kiss Of The Dolls wanted to play next. And what a band, words cannot describe. The singer looked and sounded like Udo Dirkschneider on a bad day. He started the show on his knees in the middle of the dance floor. Later I heard that their philosophy is to stay most of the time out of the stage and wander among poor listeners ;)
So we waited until they stopped and then we started our show after 3 AM. We were little bit scared if there is going to be any audience left anymore. But we did it, we woke the sleeping people and in the end there were about 20 dirty dancers on the stage. I have never been as sweaty as I was after the show. Total victory! Thank U all!
Sunday 17th, Way back
Long drive home started 10 AM. 550 kilometres to Tallinn. After the border of Latvia, Estonia's side we were stopped and the Custom man asked to see our passports. But nothing was wrong and we continued our journey to catch the ferry to Finland.
Home sweet home on Monday.