Andrew Durkin on the Industrial Jazz Group's Dutch tour (which included some Society co-conspirators):
European newbie that I was, I immediately noted a few things about our temporary home-away-from-home: 1. Everyone speaks English to some degree. Even the TV is primarily in English. 2. It is not unusual to find beer in vending machines. Heineken is the beer of choice in said machines. (Okay, so the system isn't perfect.) 3. Everyone smokes. A lot. It's like they don't believe in cancer. 4. The coffee, which is exquisite, comes in very small doses. (And incidentally, I didn't see a single Starbucks the entire time I was in-country.) Anyway, we made our various introductions (this special international version of the group [personnel here] included west coasters, east coasters, and Europeans) and then set off to our first show, a half-hourish "preview" thing designed to pique people's interest in the festival proper. It was free, it was outdoors (somewhere in the midst of a fun little shopping area of the city), and it was windy as fuck. At one point during the performance I watched in horror as some of Wolter Wierbos's music blew clear across the stage and under the drum kit. Given those conditions, and the fact that we had a few brand-new folks on board, I was genuinely surprised when we made it to the end of the set without any train wrecks. Now, it's always difficult for me to judge the reaction of any given IJG audience, seeing as how my back is to them most of the time during a show. Of course I was well aware going into this that Europe in general has a fantastical reputation amongst jazz musicians as a fairytale haven of "true jazz lovers." But I have also always wondered how much of that is exaggerated, fed by a level of rejection-by-one's-home-country so telling as to make even the slightest appreciation abroad appear much more significant than it is. I suppose there must be a pretty broad range of experiences out there, but as for the reception we got -- well, it started out great and only got better. This first show had a pretty good crowd going -- it was, after all, outside, and people just got swept up in what we were doing as they were out running errands or whatever. The fact that we didn't scare folks off -- the reaction we probably would have had given a similar public performance situation in the states -- suggests a real difference in the everyday relationship that Dutch people have with the arts. While we have our street fairs, of course, the music is usually that which, by virtue of its commercial viability, most complements the sea of commerce in which it is situated.