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Stone Circle / Blog

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt11

Scoffing a bit of lunch so i thought it was time to give you another episode of 'Dondesta el Banyo'. So Day 2 in Holguin, Cuba. Now its getting a little hazy in my memory but this day was all about checking out backline, formally registering at the festival and getting to know our new home away from home. The evening was all about the opening parade. Now this was a hoot. All the musos, artists, dancers, etc, all juiced up and loaded on to Holguin taxis. Now a Holguin taxi is, quite literally, a horse drawn cart. Seats about six comfortably but we managed to squeeze 10 in to ours. Band, crew, Raffa (our minder) and his girlfriend plus a couple of chickybabes along for the ride. Because we're all in row every time we slowed down whoever was hanging off the back (usually Beto or Erik) would get smacked in the back by the head of the horse behind us. Crazy times. I think a least one if not two bottles of Cuban White Rum were consumed on this journey. These carts have a fairly high centre of gravity and at speed develop a healthy case of the wobbles. So we come slamming down this hill wobbling like crazy and then turn a corner! Dude I so thought we were gonna tip it! Erik was hanging off the back at this point and we lost him going around that corner. Funny as! So we all end up at Revolution Square (there are an incredible amount of squares and monuments dedicated to heroes of the Revolution and Cuban history such as Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara, General Calixto and many more) having a great time and then the heavens open up. There is a collective mad dash for cover and we all (several hundred) squeeze into this slightly underground shelter till it passes. Making lots of new friends from all over South America and beyond. There's bands from Venezuela and Argentina, artists from Ecuador, even a dance troupe from Mongolia! Very cool. Back to the accomm which is very close and straight to the pool bar for more rum and a healthy jam with our new mate Phil, a bitchin blues guitarist, from Canada and his Cuban band. Man can these cats play! Called it a night in there somewhere and racked out. Tomorrow is another parade and our first two appearances. Stay tuned cats and kittens. Peace.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt10

Hey all, Well as you are probably aware Stone Circle's 'Big Cats and Cuban Cigars' Tour of South America is done and we are all back, minus one suitcase, safe and sound. I'll spend a bit of time over the next few days filling you in on what went down in Cuba. So the last time we talked we had just arrived in Hoguin after a mad dash from the International Terminal in Havan to the domestic. We were all a little taken back when upon landing at Hoguin the passengers burst in to applause. A tad diconcerting as we're not sure if this is a common curtisy or a sign of releif at a safe landing as maybe they occur so often. Grabbed our bags and were met by Joyce from the Ministry of Culture and Pavel from our accomm with a bus and whisked in to town. Feeling pretty good about all this and even better as we're introduced to everyone including Alexi the head honcho and are given local beer and rum to drink. We're then treated to t kicking performance by a local all girl group. The level of musicianship is more than impressive and Scott and i are both taken with an instument called a Tres. Its exactly like a classical guitar but has three (hance the name Tres) groupos of two strings tuned in unison and tuned to the tonic, mediant and dominant of the key. We then hit our accomm which is a nice resort hotel were most of the musos are staying and racked out. That's it for now kiddies. I'll get in to the gory details of the next few days later. Good to be home. Peace.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt9

Helo everyone from Hoguin Cuba. Just wanted to let you all know that we have all arrived safe and sound. Sorry for the blackout but we have no hone reception here nor and wi-fi. I am using the singe computer avaiabe here for pubic access. Rest assured we are in very good hands and are being looked after exceptionaly well. We were met at the airport and taken straight to the Arts Centre where we met the organising committee and then were taken to our Hotel which is very nice. I'll go into more detail later I just wanted to let you al know we are here and happy and healthy and ready to rock Cuba Stone Circle style. Peace SC

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt9

Hey hey hey its another day here in cloudy Bogota. Woke up feeling human for the first time in days. No sore throat, sinus clear, think I'm acclimatized to the altitude. Just in time to leave ha ha. Taken to a new part of town to the Canterbury Cafe for Sound check. Our awesome crew is right on top of this one and we walk straight on stage to sort levels. I have to say that the backline crew from Loop have been fantastic. If you ever need backline in this city Nicola and his team at Loop are the people to see. The Canterbury Cafe is situated in a part of town we haven't seen yet. A very busy entertainment district with many eateries, a huge cinema complex and many bars. Saturday night is busy as here. The venue is on the second floor accessed by stairs at the end of a fairly skinny long room with a bar. Hardly anyone here but when we got to the top of the stairs and turned around I was floored, the room is packed including the balcony. We catch a fine set by yet another slammin Bogota band, Red OÇlock. Then its all systems go. The venues owner is thrilled to have us. He caught our performance at the Subteranica awards...wow that seems so long ago but only five short days. On that night he called us over and intrduced us to Aguardiente or Fire Water. Here's a thing: in bars here the norm is to by a whole bottle of spirits and take it to your table to consume it in shots or mix it yourself at the table. The only regularly served beverage in a glass is beer. Apparently drink spiking is fairly rife here and this is how they combat it. Also all the bottles come with an inbuilt pourer so you can't spill or scull your spirit. Very cool. Where was I? Ah the show. Now I don't know whether we've already started gaining avid followers here or whether, because we've now played four gigs in a row, that we are especially on song but tonight goes off major league big time large portion!! I have done literally thousands of gigs over tens of years and I have never experienced an audience reaction like this. People not just clapping and cheering but jumping and screaming and punching the air. It was the hugest rush, to be so genuinely acknowledged, to have obviously moved a whole room full of people in this way. And of course in true Stone Circle fashion it just spurred us on more and more. We ended up playing a 90min set that brought the house down. I have never had so many photos taken in such a short space of time. And the comments and compliments! Its an incredible feeling to have people express to you just how much you've moved them. A jumbled mixture of humility and joy and gratitude and simply being overwhelmed and feeling so damn thoroughly justified for all the time, money, effort and energy we've put in to this band and myself in to my whole career as a musician over all these years. I mean when someone comes up to you after a show and say that you have just restored his faith in rock!! What do you say? Muchos Gracias just doesn't seem enough. And then its party time. Javier, the owner, invites back to his place and we spend the wee hours being drip fed whiskey from a never ending supply of bottles and being taught how to salsa and rumba. Man can these people dance! Way after the sun is up we climb in to our bus. But not before many heartfelt words of gratitude from both sides. They can't wait for us to come back and do it all again only bigger and better. We are now part of a big Colombian family and we will be back. Right now we are chilling at the accomm, bags packed waiting to head to the airport at 2am to catch our flight to Cuba so this will be my last blog for a couple of days. But stay tuned for the next exciting episode of 'Los Hombres del Poncho".

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt8

Finally some sleep. We surfaced in the afternoon and headed into town to hit the bank. Bought some tasty Subway and back to the hotel. Off to soundcheck at the Ozzy Bar. Great venue with a wonderful owner. Two levels with the second looking down on to the stage. Finally found some room to do some Tai Chi, boy am I rusty. Soundcheck was cool, our crew doing another incredible job along with the backline guys here from Loop. The gig itself was wicked. Walked in and the venue had set upo a back stage are for us with a food and beverage rider. Very cool. Support bands, Octavio Stokoff and Elliot's Happiest Days were both great, really got the crowd going. Our set was a hoot. Lots of fun, great light show, great audio, great audience, great time had by all. Really feels like we're making solid headroads in to the market here. Very late to bed but that's rock'n'roll! Tune in next time for another exciting episode of ''¿Dónde está el baño''.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt7

Hey there. Finally got a quick opportunity to bang out a blog entry. So Day 2 in Bogota. To be honest its already become a bit of a blur. I'm sure there were a bunch of interviews in there starting with Colombia's biggest radio station, Superstacion FM. There were more that afternoon and then it was off to the venue for the Subteranica awards. Kinda like the WAMI's but these guy really take this shit seriously which is very refreshing. Full on red carpet treatment, interviews in front of cameras, whisked up to the VIP area. All in all very cool. Cranked our tunes at the appropriate time and got a great response. This performance was videoed and we are currently uploading it to our YouTube channel. Mad a lot of new fans, met some great industry people and had an absolute ball. Bogota day 3: Up way to soon and off to another round of interviews. Radio stations and online press. It gets challenging being asked the same questions over and over again and you really want to give good answers cause its the first time they've asked them even if you've heard them all day. Today we get to play a full set at the Revolution Bar, same place we were last night. Played with Interlight and Super Boy Killer, two great bands. Hit their facebook pages and check them out. Played a great set to a very appreciative crowd. We are winning fans and praise here which is extremely gratifying. Home via a burger joint and to sleep perchance to dream. Bogota day 4: You guessed it, more interviews and driving around. Gotta say the roads here are crap. They don't have potholes so much as craters. It's really draining to be constantly jiggling and bouncing around. Today's interviews were really interesting. I find whilst we are still essentially answering the same questions our answers are becoming more and more in depth and I think we are learning new things about our selves and collectively examining what it means to be a musician in today's industry. Tonight's gig is at La Hamburgerseria which as the name suggests is a burger bar. Nice place and I have to say the burgers were excellent and the chocolate milkshake I had was to die for. The gig went really well. We mixed up the set from last night leaning more towards to pop side with Lost and DLB in there which suited the venue. So far only played 45min sets but tonight we get a 60min bracket so we're gonna jam Epic at sound check and see what happens. A small but very appreciative crowd. Played with Carlos Reyes y la killer Band a great blues rock outfit who kicked arse. That's the last three days in a nut shell. I know all the guys are putting up posts and pics so check em all out to get the complete picture. Time for some well earned sleep.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt6

Ok. The cool part of this leg of the tour is that we have tour people on the ground to meet us at the airport in our very own minibus. Exceptionally cool. Totally jet lagged we head off straight to sound check at the Revolution Bar for the Subterranica Awards. Nice venue, nice PA and really friendly people who seemed quite thrilled to have us on board. In there somewhere Harry does an interview and then we head to accomm to check in and then dinner. Our Colombian hosts, Patricia and Sofia, then take us to a great Asian restaurant for dinner. Had a wicked Thai Red Pork Curry. Gotta say it was actually refreshing to have something that wasn't a huge slab of meat. By the time we got back to the apartment I was a sleep. Crashed and burned shortly after. That's all for now folks. Tune in tomorrow for another adventure filled episode of The Circle Boys.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt5

Hola from Bogota, Colombia. Been off air due to travel and a whole lot of stuff been going on so here we go. Following or last gig we partied pretty late so no one surfaced much before midday on Sunday. We all headed out to grab something eat and take in the Sunday markets. After our well documented steak sandwiches (see various facebook posts) we headed out. Now if you ever get to Buenos Aires I highly recommend you go to Sneddons Bar and try one of these excellent steak sangas but a word of caution... do not talk business whilst comsuming. Beto did which resulted in him choking on his mouthful, Harry delivering the Heimlich and the entire place going instantly quiet just like in the movies. No in there some where with Harry bending Beto over in the middle of this restaurant Harry's thumb went somewhere it shouldn't which resulted in some minor damage to said thumb and a panicked look on Beto's face not entirely attributable to the inhaled meat. Let's move on shall we? The street markets are incredible. Hundreds and hundreds of stalls selling beautiful clothing and accessories, arts, crafts and all manner of antiques and knickknacks. We wandered through the markets and up to the 'Pink House' which is the Argentinian Presidents residence. I'll post some pics on Facebook and you'll see they're not kidding. Received a fascinating history lesson from an elderly local and checked a few other landmark buildings. Back to the accom and all packed. Then to dinner at Del Plata a local steak house. You may have noticed that an awful lot of dead animal is being consumed. Well that's pretty much what they eat in Argentina. They have excellent beef and lots of it. Fantastic meal with a superb waiter and we all waddle slowly back to rack out for a brief three hours before we're all up again and jumping into taxis at 4am to catch our flight to Bogota. Now due to the lack of traffic this ride wasn't so crazy thought the driver did take advantage of the clear road to sit on 140k all the way. Check in was the usual long process but thats why we get there early. Six guys and 12 pieces of luggage which always comes in overweight takes time. Then we find out our flight is delayed for 90mins! Bugger. We commandeer a chunk of one of the departure lounge cafes and crash out which results in us nearly missing our second flight of the tour as, unknown to us, they don't announce boarding calls and the departure screens aren't synced with the board gate. Another mad dash later and we're on board Avianca Air to Bogota. We're all pretty wrecked by now and we've still got 6 1/2 hrs of flight time. The plane was modern but the service was average. Bogota customs was a breeze which was great. Bogota is 2600m above sea level so the air's a little thinner than what we're used to and its also quite cool and crisp which is not helping as we're all a little under the weather. Incredibly lush and fertile landscape with quite steep ridge line running to the east. Reminds me a lot of Cairns but way cooler. I'm gonna wrap it up here so stay tuned.

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt4

What a day! Wandered down to the tourist precinct to get a culture hit. Dropped in to this wicked record store. Yes a record store! The owner is proudly old school and he had amazing stock. I could have spent a lot of money in there. Wall to wall classic vinyl. He introduced me to "Sui Generis", widely considered to be the fathers of Argentine rock. Gonna bring some home. Sampled some local bakery delicacies and walked to the local football stadium, home of the mighty Boca Juniors. Magnificent stadium. I can only hope that one the the Glory may boast such a home in Perth. Witnessed a musical street parade with dancers, very cool. Navigated our way through the sidewalk cafe spruikers and wandered through all the market stalls. Boy do I need to learn the language. Our taxi ride hbome didn't seem quite as crazy as usual so maybe I'm getting used to the amazingly fluid way these guys approach driving. Was probably helped by the driver asking us where were from and upon hearing we were from Oz promptly slammed Back in Black at full volume on his stereo. Another tasty meal and being absolutely buggered the band racked out for a bit while Beto and Chops headed to the venue. Gotta say the these two have been doing an amzing above and beyond the call job and deserve big props. Was kinda nice to just pile into a taxi as a band and rock up to the venue with everything set up and ready to go. A taste of things to come one hopes. The gig itself was brilliant. Great crowd, so responsive. They really seemed to appreciate what we were bringing. The other bands loved us and they kicked they're own share of arse too. Partied on with the crowd and the other bands too. Got some great shots that we will post just as soon as the other guys wake up and I can download them. Gonna be a lazy one today. Just kicking back, packing our stuff and getting ready to be at the airport at some ridiculously early hour tomorrow morning to fly to Colombia. Its been a great start to the tour and an eye opening experience. The next time you hear from us we'll be in a new country gearing up to introduce them to all things Stone Circle. Peace. SC

Big Cars and Cuban Cigars Pt3

Ok when we left we were on our way to the radio station. La Tribu FM, the original independent Buenos Aires radio station. So crazy taxi ride number five later we stagger in. Everyone's feeling dog tierd and jet lagged and its up to Harry to pick the tunes as he's sounding a little Barry White about now. Luciano and Diego arrive bearing acoustic guitars and Scott and I set about remembering how to play these tunes in this format. The studio is tiny and humid but we pack in and wait our turn. The dj says we're up next and then puts on a live version of Hey Joe. We gotta follow up Hendrix?! Oh c'mon... Then he makes our day be introducing us in classic Latin american soccer announcer style. Me amigos...SSSTTTOOOOONNNEEE CCIIIRCCLLLLEE!!! Ramblin sounds good and Transparent lives up to its name in the second verse. The interview itself is a hoot as English and Spanish fly rapid fire around the room. Beto out does himself as translator and is stocked about the announcer elevating him from stage tech to manager in one fell swoop. He has been amazing and its a title closer befitting the role he's currently playing so why not. For those of you who couldn't experience the live streaming of this interview we will do our best to get both audio and video up soon. After the interview we walk to a little sidewalk restaurant with the interesting name of Don't Blame it on the Pork. Not sure if this has some local cultural significance but the food is superb. Refueled we climb on board for another episode of Buenos Aires Taxi Driver. Scott filmed our journey and we will share this righteous experience with you as soon as poss. Full belly sleep now and as soon as we got back we all crashed out. In bed by 6:30pm? Yes people we are HARD CORE! Of course that meant we were all up again around 2-3am. Different people went to different places to experience BA on a Friday night whilst downstairs the staff of the hostel partied hard in to the wee hours fare welling one of their number. Just had breaky and we're gonna head out again for more sight seeing before tonight's show at the Plasma Bar. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of Six Guys on Tour. Peace. SC

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