Puddles Pity Party OdeGand Adventure
Puddles Pity Party OdeGand Adventure19 sep 2014
I’m a giant sad clown who has travelled to many places with my Pity Party, but I’ve never been to Gent until last weekend when I was invited to perform at OdeGand. At first, I was nervous to perform in a place I’ve never been with a band I’ve never met, but my nerves were calmed when I met the fine musicians who would be my backing band. Gert Malfliet on drums, Nils Vermeulen on bass and “The Turk” on piano put forth a solid rehearsal and we bonded over the sorrowful music we were creating together.
I enjoyed performing in a variety of beautiful venues during my visit to Gent. First, we performed in the Chapel at the Vlerick Business School and it sounded heavenly thanks to Wim Leybaert on tech. The next night we performed a few tunes at the Flanders Informal Summit in the Opera House with its esteemed stage crew and a cast of very special guests. On Saturday, I had three shows at the NTGent, which is one of the loveliest theaters I’ve ever performed. The entire crew at NTGent was very helpful and my backing band really played their hearts out.
The Spectacle of OdeGand on Saturday night was overwhelming in the best way. What an honor to share the stage with such amazing musicians and artists. When the festival director, Serge Platel, told me that I’d begin my performance perched on a small platform lifted 5 meters in the air, I got a bit scared, but I knew I had to put my “big boy” pants on and brave the windy high altitude for the sake of showbiz. And it was worth it. Such a thrill! And great fun singing in the “center ring” with the band and orchestra. Special thanks to Flip Kowlier for helping me fix my microphone!
Sunday was the Kids OdeGand and it turned out to be the most magical setting. Isaline Claeys is the festival Music Programmer and she had the wonderful vision of using a fallen willow tree over the water as my stage. I sat atop this large tree with my big clown shoes dangling over the water as boats floated by. I felt like an exhibit at the zoo and had a blast goofing around for the kids! The sound crew on this particular event was supremely patient to set up so much hi-tech gear in the foliage and create such a great sound.
After we wrapped Kids OdeGand, it was time to relax and enjoy my last night in Gent. I ate a delicious dinner at Ellis Burger and then met my friend Brecht De Moor and the P3 A-Team Posse “repregenting” at The Hotsy Totsy where they advised me on all the best beers to drink. I usually only drink coffee (and Belgium serves some delicious coffee!). But a wise Gent guy told me that to experience Belgium properly, I must drink the beer. Some of my favorite beers that I tried were Orval, Omer and the Westmalle Tripel. The Hotsy Totsy is one of the coolest watering holes with really great jazz music and super cool bartenders.
I stayed out a little too late with the P3 Posse, considering I had a very early lobby call the next morning. But I didn’t want the night to end because I knew I’d be sad to leave Gent and all the lovely new friends I made there. But sadness, as we all know, is a part of life. I cried some tears in Edwin’s cab on my way to the airport and contemplated how much I would miss the beautiful “village” of Ghent. To the fantastic team who made the Ghent Festival possible, it was an honor to work with you and a privilege to perform in your great city. Thank you so much for asking this big sad clown to sing for you.
Photos © Puddles