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Songs & Whispers

Euro Tour – Part II

10.30 – Mechelen, BE – Zennegat 13


As we would find out later, this venue was one of the hardest to find. For our first show of the tour, we were frustrated trying to find this tiny little bar at the tip of a triangle shaped pier that we weren’t allowed to drive to. On one side of it was a shipmaster’s headquarters, and the other side was private property. Not only that but we drove several kilometres down a dirt road with massive potholes to get there, all the while thinking, “this better be the right way”.


Finally, we got there. Jan, the owner was incredibly warm and friendly, and even made us a delicious spaghetti dinner before the show got under way. Since Belgium (and Germany) are known for their beers, Shannon starting trying some out while I got a sampling of some of the regional pops and sodas.


Not only was this my first show of the tour, it was also my first strictly acoustic show as “Jean-Paul De Roover the one-man-band” ever.


When you’re looping you don’t realize that you actually haven’t played guitar consistently through an entire song without having to give your hands a break with extra riffs, basslines, vocals, drum samples, etc. After playing for 2 hours straight, I was ready for the rest of the tour, that’s for sure!


10.31 – Achim, DE – Katakomben


We had been told that Germans were very punctual and so we should be arriving on time, if not early, to every show. That’s what made this first show in Germany so stressful when the venue was hard to find. There are a lot of dissimilarities between Europe and North America, and one big one that we found out was signage. Big neon signs lit up all night long simply aren’t a thing. That, mixed with the fact that the GPS kept trying to route us through many different pedestrian-only streets meant that I was literally running through completely shut down business districts looking for a bar called “Katakomben”. Finally, I saw a small little sign near the door to a basement business (which I should have clued into before), and we arrived, only 10 minutes late, greeted by “we didn’t think you would make it.” Talk about stressful. Either way, we loaded in, sound checked and everything was gravy. We met Mona (from Songs & Whispers) for the first time and started to feel comfortable with our new German friends!

This was also the first time we saw the term “Snacks provided” on our itinerary. Little did we know, “snacks” meant a massive spread.

Apparently Katakomben used to be cave/bat themed, but when we got there, it was all underwater/sea themed.

It was also our introduction to the fact that there was smoking allowed in some venues. Living in Canada we’re spoiled with smoke-free spaces. Thankfully the smoking was limited to an upstairs area, but it finds its way everywhere.

The owners also fell in love with my song “Pensando En Ti”, sung in Spanish. One of these days I’ll post a live version of it!

You’ll see photos of this venue later on in the blog, when we played there again and actually took some photos!


11.01 – Bremen, DE – Day off

Not too much to report here. We got comfortable in the artist flat we would stay at for the next few weeks, cleaned some black mould, and did some grocery shopping. Just kidding, we did the shopping the day before – everything shuts down on Sundays.

That being said, we found that they take their wieners seriously, and that they can escalate quite quickly. 4 Wieners! 10 Wieners! All the Wieners!


11.02 – Bremen, DE – Falstaff



What a treat to play a cool little theatre space! Anna the bartender was lovely, and we had some great food as well. This was our first show in Bremen, as well as our first show with our tour-mates Echo Bloom all the way from Brooklyn, NY.


Kyle Evans – lead vocals, guitar


Aviva Jaye – vocals, keys


Cody Rahn – percussion


Me, doing my thing.

Also, we met some people that would we’d run into every weekend. Michael and Uta Wilken introduced themselves and little did I know that we’d become friends by the end of the tour!

We spent the earlier part of that day getting settled into the apartment, rearranging furniture, doing some much needed cleanup, as well as testing out some of the PA gear we were provided.


11.03 – Delmenhorst, DE – RadioWeser.TV


I got to sit down with Mark Sender at RadioWeser.TV for an interview, as well as record two songs live.


It was supposed to be a full TV performance, but we made the best of the radio experience instead! Here’s a video I cut together of “Break My Soul” for you to get the idea.

I had to do a station ID, and had a lot of trouble pronouncing the name, because “.TV” is pronounced “poont Tay Fahl.”


11.03 – Bremen, DE – Hafen Casino

This was probably one of the funnest/funniest nights of the entire tour. First off, the venue is called a Casino, but nowhere was there anything involving gambling. Secondly, it looks like a tiny diner from the 50’s/60’s. Thirdly, we didn’t play in it, per se. Instead, we played in a tent beside the building, connected by a covered walkway. Rita and Angela were there to help us get set up.


Part of the setup included moving two giant space heaters into this little 15×15 tent. Not only am I now sweating buckets, but the crowd (more than we could comfortably fit in there) was having such a blast! I had my “Casino Girls”, a group of girls that were also out celebrating a birthday. They would “woo!” and “yeah!” quite often, and sometime it’d get caught in a loop, at which point we just ran with it so the entire tent would start yelling “woo” on weird offbeats throughout the song. Great fun! You can get a glimpse of it here:

This was also the first show that I convinced Shannon to get on “stage” and sing Hope with me.



11.04 – Beverstedt, DE – Kulturhof Heyerhofen

In the theme of venues being hard to find, Kulturhof Heyerhofen is out in the middle of nowhere. We were told it was an animal sanctuary, and so we should be on the lookout for exotic animals. How exciting! We got there and it was a lovely art gallery and community space, all set up for the concert that night.


There was yet again another massive spread of food (considering we were just two people), including locally made sausages, cheeses and more.


In the photo above, you’ll notice there’s a large plastic bag hanging from my mic stand. That’s because I grabbed the wrong one, which was in fact broken so it kept falling down on me every 30 seconds. Thankfully we rigged up a couple of stones in a bag and attached them to the end with what I think was velcro to keep it all in position. MacGyver!


As we were gearing up for the start, we met a cute little Dachshund that was incredibly old. Apparently it came in during my set and stayed the entire time, something it’s NEVER done before. How cute!


And then, through the window, Shannon sees Emile, the Emu, strutting around outside. His mate, Emily, was still back in the pen, so we didn’t get a shot of her.


That being said, he was putting on a show, so here’s Shannon with Emile, coming to that realization.


And did you know that Emus can look and sound terrifying? I know because my parents had 3 on our farm growing up.


Euro Tour – Part I

Because of the somewhat limited access to internet while I was in Germany, and the fact that time passed so brutally quickly, here’s the beginning of the tour blog, presented in short collections of show / event summaries!

11.26 – Depart from Toronto

Me, getting ready to depart from Toronto at Pearson International Airport.


For two people, we ended up traveling pretty light. The big case on the right is the acoustic guitar, the bottom road case is all my “hand-operated” gear, while the floorboard lives in the silver suitcase as well as some clothes, power transformers, etc.


The view from our plane as we left the GTA and Canada.

11.27 – Arrival in Belgium


As soon as we arrived in Brussels we picked up our sweet, sweet rental car. Now, before you start thinking “holy shit, how much did that Mercedes cost you?!” Let me explain. This car was the same price as a Ford Focus. It was one of those “either/or” situations that is entirely at the discretion of the rental car company. I’m used to driving a Honda Fit, so to start driving a real car like this was pretty cool. I now refer to the Fit as the “golf cart” simply because of how light and plastic it feels in comparison.

We stayed at my uncle Anton’s house in Dudzele (near Brugges), later that day, and promptly had a long nap. We woke up after dark and took a quick peek at the downtown, knowing that we’d go back the next day to see it again.

But first, I had to open the new box of pipes from Quadro, fresh for the tour!


11.28 – Brugges, BE – Day off

We took the trip up the Belfry in Brugges, and they really weren’t lying in the movie In Bruges, it really is a hell of a workout walking up all those steps. Not only that, but it gets incredibly narrow towards the top. And steep too! The last stretch felt very similar to climbing a ladder.


But the view was pretty cool!


I was really excited to see the bell mechanisms. Essentially, it works very similar to a gigantic music box.


We then spent some time wandering around the picturesque canals and looking for alcoves.


And of course, we had a traditional Belgian waffle.

Shannon and I made a stop in at the Torture Museum and learned all kinds of vile techniques to use on our enemies (in our nightmares). Lots of head crushing, bone snapping, and all too many devices involving genitalia.



11.29 – Belgium & France – Day off


The day started off pretty good with one of my new favourite breakfasts: fried banana with bacon. It really got the culinary juices flowing.



We took a drive around the countryside, on our way to visit some of the war memorials.


I had seen many of them before, but I knew it was something important for Shannon to see. We stopped at Ypres as well as Tyne Cot.






As a Canadian that learns about both World Wars in high school, it’s very sobering to put names and sights to the sheer numbers of graves. The “unknown soldier” ones (of which there were hundreds) really choked me up.


I’d really encourage anyone to visit not one but several of those memorials/grave sites. There are dozens upon dozens of them in Belgium, and likely even more in France and other countries. Something we would find out interesting later on is that there are very few memorials in Germany. Maybe it’s the ongoing deep-rooted shame that still exists in today’s generation, but I think they’d prefer to ignore that part of their history.


Afterwards Shannon and I went across the border to Dunkirk in France, just so that she can now say that she’s been there!


Late at night I’d be pretty exhausted, and then the shadow show would begin. Unfortunately, I only know how to make a chicken.