Susie Asado

Recuperative Moments

When you play a show every night on tour you learn how to find recuperative moments. To recuperate from what? Well generally from all the impressions, from the many sandwiches we eat, sometimes from lack of sleep and from spending a lot of hours sitting in the car. Like right now hovering in a seemingly not ending traffic jam. My body gets tight and knotted and my stomach bloaty from all the foods I’m not used to. Also eating mostly snacks all day and then a big meal right before the show can do a number on your belly. But with a little help from promoters, friends and playful strangers, what could be an accumulation of stressful events can be quite lovely. I want to tell you about some treasured recuperative moments we have had so far on tour in no particular order.

1. When Silvana from the band The Woog Riots took us to the Vortex Garden in Darmstadt. A private Garden in the back of the “Haus Hubertus” at the Mathildenhoehe. The owner with intention of creating a kind of utopian space of recuperation and possibly attracting a stray UFO or two, built a garden filled with symbolic sculptures, eggs, swamps, springs, beehives, trampolines and endless secluded corners to meditate or conversation in. Here we wandered and contemplated and I made a couple of wishes standing on possible powerful spots marked with seemingly significant geometric shapes.

2. Hiking up to the fortress that is right above Sion and looks straight out of Game of Thrones. We hummed the theme music while we climbed the steep mountain. We were also out of breath and dehydrated because we forgot water, but still, it felt great.

3. Watching an episode of Game of Thrones all huddled together in the bottom of a bunk bed in Freiburg.

4. Going on a jog around the strange landscape of newly built town houses around the KAW in Leverkusen.

5. Sitting inside the suspended rail in Wuppertal cradled by the soft dangling of train.

6. Lying down backstage at L’An Vert while the ukulele open mic was going on. Listening to the sweet ukulele songs and imagining who might be playing them drifting in and out of sleep. Being horizontal, getting to lie down and nap before a show is one of my favorite.

7. Making drawings in my journal of the day’s events.

8. Eating Eritrean food with our Darmstadt promoter Andre.

9. There are many other recuperative meals I should mention: unbelievably tasty italian food in Torino, delicious lentil soup, chickpea smear and homemade bread in Leverkusen, coconut soup and spring rolls at L’An Vert in Liege, the gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant in Sion. I can talk about the subject of meals on tour for a long time. I do believe they are the key to a good show, and being fed well always makes us endlessly grateful and pleasant people to be around in general.

10. Floating in a tub of warm water at the Wohngemeinschaft in Köln.

11. Making eights with our butts in a park in Köln. Don’t ask.

12. Often we have to check out early either because people want us to leave, or we have to start driving to the next place. So getting to stay at a hotel or band apartment for a few extra hours the day after a show can be extremely restorative. Like when we all played house and puttered around the cozy Slow Club band apartment in Freiburg.

13. Doing laundry at Silvana’s house in Darmstadt. Yeah fresh laundry and yeah the ritual of doing something “every day.” Something that makes you feel at home and purposeful.

14. Sitting in the back of the car working on my blog. Like right now right in the middle of a traffic jam. I just asked Ariel and Alicja some questions regarding recuperative moments on this tour.

15.For Alicja her most recuperative moment has been watching the power plant in Waldshut gently puff out a giant cloud. I’ve also seen her mischievously send post cards from every place so far on tour and I imagine that being pretty recuperative.

16. Ariel just said her most recuperative moment was exercizing in the creepy basement gym at the hotel in Waldshut. And reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen when ever there is down time.

17. Also Ariel and Alicja went to a little “Oldie Pub” in Waldshut that was down the street from the hotel. “It’s fun to break up the routine of touring and do something unexpected on tour. And it’s fun to go to a weird old biker bar with christmas lights up front,” says Ariel.

18. One of the most fun and recouperative moments for me on this tour was yesterday playing with the kids in the courtyard of Casa del Quartiere in Torino. There was a charming and handsome clown, oh . . . who was skilfully engineering swords and guns out of balloons. We battled each other and the kids with our colorful blow-up weapons, jumped around and died many times. We made the loveliest little friends. It reminded me of how not knowing a language used to not be a barrier for making friends.

19. And of course playing an awesome show is incredibly restorative. Like our wonderful show at L’An Vert. There is a kind of magic that explodes inside every cell in your body and makes you feel like a super hero.

20. The more I think about it, the more restorative moments accur to me. Listening to Sibsi mixes is a big one. Sibsi aka Sebastian Hoffmann is our booker. He makes amazing CD mixes. I have a whole collection of them in the car. And we got an awesome one sent to us via Sylvana in Darmstadt.

Ok. We are still in a traffic jam. It’s restorative to think of restorative moments. Oh.

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A round stage with a carpet that has white polka dots. The stage mantled by a red velvet rurtain. The Devil is in the details at slow club in Freiburg. Marcus, the sound man walks us around the building right before the show so we can enter from the back of the stage. So we can be behind the curtain and wait for the gong that signals the curtain raiser. Yes curtain raiser. I belive this is our first one. Red velvet awkwardly and glamorously pulled to the side to reveal a small audience and from the perspective of the audience, to reveal us: dressed in black and white in our starship enterprise outfits to fit the white polka dots. And so we meet in that moment of the curtain being pulled aside. I love this effect of surprise. Of a proper stage, of a proper curtain raiser. I feel like we are in a Woody Allen movie. There are even parents in the audience. Alicja’s parents. There should always be parents in the audience. Especially in Woody Allen movies. So we are off to a good start and this single curtain raiser stays with us throughout the show. I would like to take this stage with us whereever we go. The curtain and the raiser. The parents too. Now we are sitting in the upstairs band apartment. Here everything is red and white stripes. We are busy typing away at computers sending out messages and composing thoughts. Very industrious. This is my hello. My conclusion of the day: there should always be a curtain raiser.

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All is packing and unpacking. Our perfect bags and perfect trunk. Doing our best to leave nothing behind. Doing our best not to move into the places along the way. There is always that temptation to stay. Like right now, Alicja, Ariel and I are listening to records in a beautiful apartment in Liege where everything has a place and a story. Sweet recouperation. Sun is shining through the windows, a train buzzes through the green back yard. We had a dreamy show at L’An Vert last night. Some nights it all comes together and we felt so very understood and got to be goofy and smart and sexy sticking out boobs and butts. Yes. I am learning to do such things. L’An Vert is a welcoming collective where all details and people are gentle and kind and so very attentive. It was an afternoon of ukulele playing. A once a month ukulele marathon with a show in in the evening. I never think of myself as a ukulele player so much, but yes, there is that sweet ukulele I like to play. So there was a kind of belonging. I even got to talk to other ukulele players about their ukuleles and perhaps I am a ukulele nerd and I didn’t even know it. Hmmmm, what else . . . We visited that amazing train station in Liege that is like a grand spaceship. Not one of those mall like modern trainstations, but a place for arrival and departure of the epic kind. I would like to arrive there one day. Step out of a train and be welcomed by that gentle roof. Yes, feeling pretty romantic these days. I think it was Leverkusen that did it to me. Those “struppig tanzen”. Or perhaps it started with the suspended railway in Wuppertal. But most of all singing with my lovely double AA ladies. So goes a little report from the bliss of touring . . .

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This is how we start. Ariel and Alicja come over to my house. We have a last rehearsal. We pack up the car Tetris style. Everything finds its place. As if all of our things were meant to be together. And they are. Just as we are. Me and the double AA. That’s what I call them. The two lovely ladies that are now my girl band. Alicija and Ariel. Our first autobahn ride is rocky. We hit all kinds of traffic. We are patient. We miss our radio gig in Hannover. We find Galaria Lunar. We meet our host Martin. We set up. We are nervous. We go for turkish food and sit on the patio, hopeful, eyeing the clouds. There are clouds. There is impending rain. We know it is coming, but are suprised, huddled underneath an umbrella, about the wet, the gush and the hail. We finally give up and sit inside. We imagine our first show. Will people come despite the spring storm. We are wearing costumes. Blouses and bows and feeling very much like ladies. I am feeling like a lady. Certainly dressed up as a lady if that makes a lday. Our first show goes well. A friendly audience filled the small gallery space. An audience that leaves the house despite a spring storm. The best audience you can ask for. I look at my double AA and I can’t believe my luck to be traveling with such great women. I sense they are up for anything. That night I am so wired from the show that I can barely sleep. I try to talk some sense into me, but my body refuses to give into the tired. The next day we head to Wuppertal. None of us have been to Wuppertal. Oh Wuppertal. Oh craddeling suspension railway. You dangled us along the river Wupper like a sweet mother. We were a little seasick afterwards, but it felt so very modern to glide through the city on this 1901 railway system. Futuristic even. I wonder how grand it must have been 100 years ago. It was built just in time for Susie Asado. I am sure she took a ride in Wuppertal mumbling her funny words. That night we play at Hutmacher. An old train station converted community house/collective/art space. The Hutmacher is the former entrance of the train station. Super high ceilings like a grand ballroom. When they put out all the chairs around the stage I can’t imagine that many people coming to our show and I get nervous. But those seats do get filled and we have another attentive friendly audience. The sound is beautiful in the grand space and it is especially exciting to sing with the double AA. Oh double AA. Everyone should have a double AA. And so we start the tour. Dressed up as ladies, singing proper lady songs. To be continued . . .

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It is the last day of tour. I am not sure how this happened. But it did. Here it is. I am sitting at Franz Melhose in Erfurt where we got to spend the night and it is a misty day outside. I am a little bit sleepy, but determined to write a little. Hello. Our adventures have been wonderful. I would like to rave about Ravensburg. Now I know where it got its name. Not only is this a beautiful town with towers and lovely houses, but it is also where Ravensburger Spiele, the German game company produces all its board games and puzzles. This might also explain some things about the playful nature of its people. We played at Mäkinen, a kind of secret community space. A living room reserved for special occasions. Inviting and cozy and with the best kind of audience. Funny and playful, they make us all giddy and strange moves and I try not to trip over anything on the lovely small stage. Ariel eggs me on with her awesome voice and we bounce back and forth and I try not to fall apart laughing. I can’t believe how quickly Mathias has learned everything and smoothly lays down all bass and guitar parts as if he has been on tour with us for months. The best is when he plays bass and melodica at the same time at the end of “Monstera Deliciosa.” A proper acrobatic move. Oh. The next morning we go to the Ravensburger Museum to learn a bit about the board games and puzzles. Part of my wants to just get Malefitz and Scotland Yard and run off and play for days. But our journey takes us to Ampfing to the house of the Klien family. We eat too much food, meet the people from the neighborhood, play songs and eat more food. A proper music loving home. The next morning we end up going to a bath near Munich with slides and sulphur tubs that Ariel calls “old man soup.” It feels amazing to move, to be in water, to pretend fish for a while and forget the autobahn under my ass. Ariel and I wear matching bikinis. We are turning into quite the pair. At the end of our time at the swimming pool paradise I rest under a cloud with red warming lamps and feel like I am drifting off into all kinds of cloud dreams. Oh clouds. We do manage to go back to the autobahn. Mathias drives us through bavarian traffic jams to Nürnberg where we play at the elegant and arty Galerie Bernsteinzimmer. So wonderful. Another tour high-light. It feels like the perfect Susie space. I have a sweet memory of playing there in the December of 2011 and it is awesome to get to come back and play there again. Returning to venues is a bit like coming home. A bit of familiar on tour. Like staying at Franz Melhose in Erfurt. And now we are off to Leipzig, our last stop before Berlin. Tomorrow our CD Release party at Ackerstadtpalast. I am so excited. Whuiiiiiiiiiiiii!

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Tour blur is happening now. Everything so fast, a kind of roller coaster of packing unpacking arriving departing plugging cables, eating food, thinking about food and talking about food. In Zürich now. It seems to be cooling down and I wonder if I will finally have a use for the warm things at the bottom of my bag I have been schlepping around. It is November after all. There have been so many lovely nights I want to share some high lights. A cozy top-floor apartment in Biel that had lovely little plastic figures tucked between the bricks of the wall. A house show, that didn’t miss any details, even had perfect stage lights and a cat face with antlers above the stage. The next day we had a lovely walk along the hills of Biel and down to the lake and Ariel and I were transfixed by the waves. We would like to be by the water at all times. Oh water. I keep thinking people live like this. They can just hike along a ridge by their house and end up at a windy lake-front where seagulls hover in mid-air. After our walk we could have gone back to sleep or eaten more food, but we drove to Geneva to our next adventure. Our evening at Bibarium felt a bit like a secret basement show. A kind of speak-easy below room. We got fed tasty colorful food and were excited to play to the little dark room being smothered by stage lights and the warm sounds that occasionally bounced back during songs. We have decided we really like stage lights. There was lovely conversation and we would have liked to stay and learn more about this city and the sweet people we met. Oh. It is strange packing up just after arriving. We drove to Zürich in a blur. So happy to meet Mathias there fresh off the airplane from Canada and ready to rehearse instantly. Clearly this man is made for touring. Our afternoon show at Kafi für Dich turned a bit into a family affair of parents and friends and children and dogs. By the time I had sold the last CD I was a little overwhelmed from it all even though I couldn’t wish for anything sweeter. Now we are about to drive to Ravensburg. We will take a fairy across the Boden See. Anything just to take a fairy boat. Water boat seagulls wind. Wushhhhhh

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Time to report. Sitting on a red cozy chair in the Apartment in Biel where we will play tonight. Ariel and I are thinking about food. We can smell lovely food. So that hasn’t changed. We are changed though. You can’t have adventures without them changing you. Our nails are painted. Mine electric blue and Ariel’s black. Remnants of last nights Halloween concert in Alpiersbach. We played at a charming community movie theater that is inside an ancient monastery. The monastery being a bit creepy, as old structures with bats and dark hallways and secret passageways can be. But the movie theater Subiaco, was not creepy at all. A warm community of cinephiles running it. Before the show we went to a lady cafe in town, marveled at all the cute houses by the stream that goes through town, charming old ladies with amazing hairdos, and a glass blower making a wine glass. Again an unseasonably warm sunny day and we get down to our shirts and sit on top a hill gobbling up sun hoping that our bodies have figured out how to store this light somewhere to be used later on a gloomy day. It is Halloween. Ariel dresses up as a cat and I dress up as an electric blue ocean Susie Asado. I even paint my toe nails electric blue which looks cool and scary. We have a lovely show and then spend the night right at the foot of the foggy black forest which feels appropriate for Halloween. Tour has been going swimmingly so far except for one night after our Düsseldorf show where we couldn’t find parking and then finally arrived at the hostel realizing I had misplaced the keys somewhere. Eventually we did find the key in the car which was parked pretty far away . . . so the obstacle of entering our place of sleep was not quite as dramatic as we suddenly feared. That has been the extent of drama. Now we are in Switzerland. We crossed a border today. The houses look charming and inviting. We are sitting inside one of them. A top-floor apartment with a crooked roof and white painted brick walls. We have already moved in with all our little tour things and curious how the evening will unfold. So goes my report for now. Hello from our adventure!

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Oh Offenbach. Oh Hafen 2. How I love cranes, water ways, harbors, and the wind that blows around them. Clouds. Everything dramatic here. At the new Hafen 2, the old one being up stream, there there are again, the geese and the sheep and the general sense that all is well. We have a trailer as back stage and I get to live my fantasy of belonging to a traveling circus. We arrive hungry as always and get fed lovely colorful food. My brother Philipp joins us for sound-check and we are excited about out afternoon shows. My sister and her three kids turn up and we eat all the backstage food. More food. I feel like on tour much of what I think about is food. Like right now I am thinking about where to find a good lunch in Düsseldorf. It feels terrible to think so much about food. Especially when the car is filled with snacks. But there is something about tour and not really knowing when the next yummy warm meal will turn up, that puts me on edge about food and sets a hungry hamstering mood. Our show at Hafen 2 was wonderful and family style. Having been born on the banks of the river Main, I feel right at home here and then having my siblings around makes for a perfect tour day. That night we take Marko to the train station. This is as far as he goes with us. It is sad to part ways. Feels like after the first 6 shows we have melted into a perfect trio. And with this strange feeling of having left someone behind we go over our friend Boohoo’s house and watch Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown”. I love watching Sean Penn play all this fake guitar and I feel like I have been each of those girl friends at some point. Oh. At night we back track to the harbor, the dark along the Main, the old Hafen 2. I try not to have any Mac the Knife fantasies. But inside the band apartment I slumber off to a good tour-sleep. Tour-sleep like tour-food being essential. Now after a sweet show in Essen and more good tour-food and tour-sleep we had the shortest drive of our tour to Düsseldorf. The sun is shining and we have checked into our tour-sleep-station of the day. Ariel has found a place to eat lunch (more thoughts about food) and I am contemplating laundry. So things are on tour.

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We would have liked to stay in Pellworm. Get to know the dramatic movement of the water. Walk out with the tide. Watch the amazing cloud formations. Bathe in electric fall light. Learn Plattdeutsch. Visit lots of straw-roofed houses. And play more air guitar with our host’s kids Levin and Thede. Our show at Schipperhuus was so friendly and warm. We got to play two sets, so lots of songs. Schipperhuus is all Titanic pictures and sailor memorabilia. Loving details in all corners and cracks. A stack of games we didn’t get to play. I got nostalgic every moment. Wanting to draw them out. Stay a little while. Walk by the water. Visit the sheep. In the morning when I looked out of the window the sky was all red. A misty morning. We kept debating weather to take a later fairy, but I kept seeing the exclamation marks in the tour book to be sure to take the 9:40 fairy because of the tide. Because we are on tour after all and there is another show. There is Hannover and Karsten and all the sweet people of Oberdeck. So we took the fairy and visited some sheep on the other side of the water. Walked along the dykes. Jumped around all the sheep shit and then were back in the car to drive to Hannover. Hannover received us in all the lovely Hannover ways. There is something reassuring about coming back to places we have played before. The homey bench in front of Oberdeck. And the unbelievably mild balmy air. We sit outside and exchange stories. The evening continues familiar, cozy and playful. The show goes well even though I lose some words along the way. It is intense playing to an audience that is so close and attentive. Then Köln. Alice Rose opens for us at Die Wohngemeinschaft. She is all ballroom dress wrapped in security tape. She is funny moves and “mind the gap” and precise glances. I feel underdressed following her, but enjoy the lively atmosphere she leaves the room with. It is this kind of atmosphere that makes a good show. The audience bubbly and responsive. The attention, but also the energy. We transform into a Susie mega trio and enjoy all the sounds and details. After the show we sit out on the street in the strange unseasonably warm October air. It is Saturday night and there is a bustle of people drinking little beers. A man comes over and demands a cigarette, but fast. Another man hands us a cup of delicious ice-cream that we happily eat. Here we are in Köln and the city is all around us.

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I am sitting in the back of the car. We are leaving Hamburg. Another bright sunny fall day. It is the third day of tour. Already there is a rhythm to it. Is if this is always how it is. Packing, unpacking, setting up, sound checking, dinner, play show, sell CDs, conversation, find the place where we sleep, brush teeth, to bed, sleep, good morning, pack back up, and back on the road. Our first two shows were all wonderful audience and welcoming. In Braunschweig we played an unplugged show on the colorful stage of Kaufbar to a perfect group of strangers with kind faces and encouraging smiles. We were nervous at first to play, nervous to play in a fairly big room without amplification. But during the show we enjoyed the acoustics and the super attentive audience. The show ended with some questions from the audience and a conversation in the round. It is so sweet to actually meet the audience after a show. The next morning we walked around Braunschweig and were proud to have a few errands like mailing some Burning Hell records and stopping by a music store. Later in the day we arrived in Hamburg Wilhelmsburg. Sunny weather and a lively neighborhood bustle. Ariel and I had played Deichdiele last fall, so we were excited to visit a familiar place. We set up to all kinds of cables and nobs and turn up the mids and lows and it is all very busy doing our own sound. The show unfolds in lovely ways, the audience gets more and more friendly and we relax. Andreas, our host, unscrews more and more lightbulbs, so by the end of the show it is all shimmering low light. This morning we had giant croissants, or rather boof bombs (bombs for what they later do in your stomach). Marko and Ariel had the squished toasted version, which was probably a good idea. Then we drove back out of Hamburg, past the harbor, the giant cranes and shipping container stacks. Now we are on the way to Pellworm in the North Sea Yes, an island. And yes, we will take a fairy boat. Fairy boat! We left extra early to make the fairy boat. 2:40 p.m. Oh.

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