ALL ABROAD THE CRAZY TRAIN-AMSTERDAM CAPER

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On manoeuvres with "The Duel". Its 3am on friday and l'm about to go to Amsterdam to play the Rebellion Festival. l do a final check making sure l got my passport and bass guitar. Gabor (The Driver), Tara (vocals) and Andy (keytar) pick me up,  Andy very kindly offers me a beer to pass time. On route we pick up Thanos (Guitar) and Pumpy (Drums) and we set off to Ramsgate to catch the ferry to Ostend (Belgium). We arrive just on time and after the usual frisking by the customs, we enter our private yacht and depart.  l say private yacht as apart from us there does not seem to be many other passengers on board. Tara and Gabor very wisely go to sleep and so does Pumpy who gets the first class treatment sleeping in the soft play area as there are no kids to disturb him, the rest of us decide to set up camp in the smoking area and drink our way across the channel. We get to Ostend in next to no time at all and the Belgium authorities are not impressed with Thanos using what appears to resemble a library card as a passport but they let us go through and we head to a supermarket to get supplies. We find out at the checkout they don't take visa card, luckily l brought some Euros so we pay and make our way to Rotterdam via the Belgium countryside, we all kinda start dozing apart from the wise who slept on the ferry. When we wake l have a conversation with Andy who informs me the best way to sneak into "The Bowl" at Milton Keynes. Pumpy explains his musical upbringing and we hit common ground, he got into drumming through being a member of The Boys Brigade. l was also a member of the Brigade though our unit did not have a band, instead we did marching. Still it got me into music,  l would march to gigs to save bus fare. Arriving in Rotterdam and after a bit of sightseeing i.e. trying to find the hostel as the Sat Nav was not working oops!. We find the Stay Ok, this place is insane its all cubes and angles ands its cool, its a total mindwarp to suss out. We have Dorms, boys in one and girls in another, its part of the rules so Tara has to share with some unknown girls and we (the Boys) get our own Dormitory. We settle in and head out to visit the nightlife. In one bar as Tara and l are engrossed in a discussion, suddenly a tornado appears in front of us, a whirlwind of trash and debris swirls around, we take this as a sign to move on unaware that the barstaff were closing up and waiting for us to leave. Andy, Thanos,Tara and l spend the rest of the evening looking for rock bars, but all we find are ghettos full of techno bars, so we decided to call it a night and made our way back to the hotel/hostel. After breakfast its off to soundcheck at the Melk Weg( Milky Way) in Amsterdam which we make by the skin of our teeth. When this is done Beano the stage manager gives us our rider and in seconds its all gone and then we are on stage playing our hearts out. Its a great sound on stage, we play well, l was not aware that Pumpy lost his floor tom and did not miss a beat, Andy and Thanos did awesome call and answer riffs ,Tara singing was resplendent, melodies spurting out in all directions l play my pulsating lucid tones, the crowd look like they are enjoying it. After we finish our set we hunt for more beverage to celebrate, we end up outside by the canal making a tranquile setting, we know we are in for the long haul of social gracing and occasional forays to watch bands or go to the supermarket or the bar. l remember seeing the rather excellent "Fire Exit" and watching some of the local Belgium and Dutch bands putting in fine sprited performances, but l did not come here to review bands and l soon make my way outside and explore a bit of Amsterdam which is very pleasant. Some time later l get restless and yearn for some musical morsels so l head back to the venue and watch some more bands until its all over. Hanging with Thanos we realise we have lost the van, the rest of the band and our driver Gabor... oops again we find Andy and look for places to go to until the van turns up, the plan being as we have no contact number for Gabor we should try to get to the venue in the morning and hopefully someone will find us. However when morning comes Thanos suddenly announces he has indeed got Gabor's number and soon we are all reunited and on our way after doing some minor repairs on the van, then the lights go out in my head and l dissipate into slumber. l awake to find myself travelling through Belgium and the sun and mundane view return in my vision, a bit later on we are back in Ostend and after more quizzing for Thanos about his library card, we are back on the now full ferry back to England. Its a wee bit more bumpy this time and Pumpy and l wish we had joined the Sea Cadets instead of The Boys Brigade, more bouncing on the waves and dreams of rollercoaster rides and many hours later we arrive back on dry land and on our way home. l have to say l really enjoyed The Rebellion Festival Amsterdam and l am looking forward to performing at Rebellion festival Blackpool in August its gonna be excellent and l hope to see you all there. By Chris Mcdougall Booking.com: hotel Stayokay Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands - 144 Guest reviews. Book your hotel now! Rebellion Festivals - Home

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