Stanley Brinks and Freschard Play Medford!

About a year ago, I came across an album I enjoyed called “Calypso” by Kreuzberg Museum. When I looked into that band, I found that they were a side project of the prolific duo of Stanley Brinks and Freschard, which led me to a multitude of other enjoyable albums by them as a pair, as solo acts, and working with others. Their most recent album, Iron Eye, was one of my favorite albums of 2023.

The vinyl is sold out, but I got mine!

Earlier this fall, Clémence Freschard sent out a message saying they were coming to the US from their home in Berlin and looking for places to play. I sent a list of a few places, hoping they might end up playing nearby. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that they were mostly interested in small, informal, and intimate venues or house concerts, so none of my initial suggestions worked out.

A couple weeks ago I got a message with a short list of scheduled dates, mostly out of my travel range, and another request to help them find venues. The list included an appearance at a wedding in Boston on December 8 before they headed to western New York and California, so they would be available if I could find somewhere for them to play just before that date. By this time, I’d decided that I really wanted to see them play so I started asking everyone I could think of in three states if they knew of a place Stanley Brinks and Freschard could play on short notice, targeting December 7. It wasn’t an easy task, not only because of the short notice and their unfortunate lack of fame, but because Brinks and Freschard were relying on mass transit or volunteers to get around, friends or volunteers to provide places to stay, and on local musicians to lend them instruments.

I followed many threads, including one that had me driving them from Boston to Vermont, to western Massachusetts, and then back to Boston, but to no avail. Then just when I was ready to give up, on Monday the 4th, Kier Byrnes got Max Heinegg at Medford Brewing Company to agree to let them play at the brewery on the 7th at 6pm, before the previously scheduled act went on at 7:30. Keir was able to lend them instruments, and the show was on, less than a mile from our house!

It was a great show. They were kind enough to let me record it:

While the background noise, especially towards the end, gets distracting (next time I use more directional mics), it makes for a nice memento. And TIL: many cameras shoot variable frame rate video, which needs to be converted to constant frame rate video before you can successfully edit it. Especially if music is involved. Knowledge FTW!

After the show, Brinks and Freschard came back to our place to stay overnight before heading off to the wedding the next day. We got to talk and introduce them to our cats, and I got my copy of Iron Eye and the handmade-and-packaged CD-R merch that I bought signed.

Ruth’s hot chocolate enhancements were a big hit!

After what was probably an early night for them (Boston is not New York or Berlin, and post-COVIDtime I don’t usually stay up as late or as often as I once did), some morning laundry, and a walk around Arlington, they were off to the wedding, taking my ukulele (that I was never going to be able to play) with them in Stanley’s backpack. Freschard tells me that the uke has already earned its keep!

Stanley enjoys BirdTV

Thanks to Stanley and Clem, Max and Kier, and to Ruth for putting up with my obsessions and making the whole hosting thing go much more smoothly than it would have if everything were left to me.

Freschard, yours truly, and Stanley Brinks, post-caffeine

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