Autums breeze has stripped these trees and left them baring

Martin and James – Josenhof, Rot and der Rot; October 28th 2011

Did you ever dream of having a band you really love play in your living room? Josenhof in Rot an der Rot isn’t quite my living room, but seeing and hearing Martin and James play there certainly felt as if it were. The concert hadn’t been announced very widely and even if it had, I doubt many more people would have made the track. I have been to many strange and remote places to see bands, but this one is a strong contender for being the most „far out“. Thus, the few people there were either diehard fans, people who worked at the place or family and friends of M. who had invited them to play this gig on her birthday. What a wonderful idea and how nice of her to give outsiders a chance to be there. 😀

It was a long train ride from Dortmund to Memmingen. After seven hours on the train I was already exhausted and still needed to find my hotel and a taxi to get me to the concert. Rot and der Rot is a really small place and the Josenhof isn’t even directly n the village, so public transport was not an option. Either way, I got there by 18:15 and found only a handful of other fans. The first thing I learned was that the concert would be a little later than originally planned, because Martin and James were stuck in traffic on their way from Berlin.

They let us in shortly after19:00 and we all got to sit down in a comfortable bar room that might hold around 100 people standing up, but there were half as many at the most. The mic stands were just standing there by the window and when the guys arrived a bit later we could watch them set up and listen to their soundcheck as well. James told us they had started at 8:00 a.m. in Berlin, and came upon 3 different accidents that halted traffic. They apologized and asked if it was OK to start at 20:30. We all nodded, thinking that as long as they played 3 hours we would not care.

I had a huge smile on my face from the moment I saw them walk in. I knew I had missed them, but I had not realized how much. At 20:45 it was finally time for them to come out and play. They started with the familiar and tested setlist, but promised they’d play some new songs for us too. Especially James was in a rather talkative mood and they actually both looked at the audience for a change commenting on familiar faces at our table and people who had come from far away to see them. 🙂

So many stories they shared. About how they went to Nashville, because the record company wanted them to work with other writers and check out producers. Yet it turned out that of all the songs they wrote while being there, they liked the ones best that they wrote on their own. It was just such an intimate and lovely gig. Not too much audience participation, mainly because we were all seated, but people were listening and singing along in the appropriate places. As always, James asking us „Können sie klatschen?“ worked like a charm.

After an hour they took a break, then came back with two new songs, the very lovely ‘Love’s not a fight’ and the beautiful ‘One way forward’. I really enjoyed both, even though I didn’t quite get all of the lyrics, but when Martin asked about it hardly anyone clapped. I think we were all just too stunned. I know that ‘Love’s not a fight’ brought me very close to tears.

They also played one song I have never heard and I can only assume that this is the one that is indicated as ‘With fire’ on the setlist. It has probably been played before, but not at any gig I was at. They dug up almost every song they have on albums (and a few others to boot) and even asked us for requests. Thus, finally, I got to hear ‘Bloom’ – thank you so much for that one. <3 Also the beautiful waltz ‘With you’ made a reappearance as well as a sweet rendition of ‘You’re a window’ including some lyrics mix up, after being requested by N.

All in all it was a wonderful concert. I am so happy I made the track. I would have truly missed something great had I not been there. These guys are always amazing, but this one was surely special.

After the gig I had a lovely chat with both of them, found out they never got the pictures I sent them 🙁 and shared some other stuff, like how complicated a major label can make things and how they were “thinking about playing in people’s living rooms” because they label did not want them to tour again in October. As it is, he next tour will be in February, so hopefully I’ll catch a few gigs then. See you next year guys, can’t wait. 🙂

Setlist (out of order, but the best I can do):

She’s light guiding
Turn it up
Maybe it’s time
Crashing into love
Live wires
I was blind
I have to fall / Give a little bit
Wrong Directions
Bad Dream
Little bits of light
All over the news

Broken Sword
Love’s not a fight
One way forward
You’re alive
With fire
With you
You’re a window

Devils in the Doorway

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