Sicily – The Best Guitarist I Have Ever Heard

So I am way behind on blogging.

I pretty much end up spending the whole day blogging.

Not exaggerating.

I am sure Anne & Doug are convinced that I’m one of those retarded millennials who doesn’t have a life outside of the computing world.

So, with that in mind, since I literally did nothing all day, I’m gonna skip all that and just talk about the evening.

This was mint.

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Anne & Doug seem to have these connections in the music world. They’ve only been in Sicily for the past 7 years, but they already have so many people who they keep in touch with, and a couple of them are musos who tend to play really damn good events. Last night’s jazz band was pretty sick, and I do have to say that the band knows how to put on a good show this time, however, it is just one bloke, and a few supporting musicians. His name is Germano Seggio, and he is brilliant.

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“two way” streets

Before we get to the gig, we wander through the streets of Palermo, and the whole place has this really mint atmosphere. You can feel it buzzing, and it really does feel like a young person’s city. We walk through the narrow walk ways and streets until we reach this little square. There are a couple pubs on the square, but the one we are going to is the busiest. Anne & Doug being to speculate that it is busiest because it gives free food out.

…free food.

…for free.

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Buy a drink, and eat for free. What the hell kind of sorcery is this?!

Bec and I are both so unsure about it. Anne is coaxing us to try and get some. She wants to see what there is to offer tonight. I really dunno about all this. I haven’t even heard about it, but curiosity gets the better of us, and we decide to head to the buffet table to give it a crack. This chick rocks up just before us. Perfect. We’ll let her make the stuff ups. There is no leaving of money anywhere, there is nobody pulling you up on it. So, I figure it must be the done thing.

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We load up our plates with little nibbleys and make our way back to the table. Anne susses out our plates, scanning everything we’ve brought back with the eyes of a hawk. We get the nod of approval, and Doug is up to grab a plate or two for them also. I am told that one thing you’ll see time and time again is people running around performing at your table for little tips.

When we rocked up to the bar, there was this guy right up the front of the gazebo, who was doing this really weird random jig, but you could see that he was dying inside, and his flimsy pretend plastic sword wasn’t going to fool anyone. We kinda watch the misery unfold from the other side of the sitting area, and we are glad that we are on this side. We did, however get this one sub-par “magician” come around to our table and do a bit of a show for us. It was nothing hectic. He just had this bulb in his mouth, and when he would touch someone’s head, the bulb would light up, then he would touch someone else’s head, and the bulb would stay flat.

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He went around alternating who’s head or bicep he would touch, each time, lighting up the bulb. Most of the time, people would laugh and have a giggle. Sometimes you would get a sourpuss, but most people were pretty good about it. The routine is that he runs around doing a little show for everyone, then he comes back around and asks for money.

Very smooth.

He makes you laugh, you think you have got away scott free, and then BAM! Outta nowhere, he’s back, and there is a cultural obligation to give him money.

But… When his turn to collect money from us came around, this bloke doing this whole sad confusing jig thing comes over and stands right next to us too. You can see he wants to cash in on the donations, but our magician friend isn’t going to have a bar of it. He literally pushes the other bloke away, but does it in a nice enough fashion, I thought it was still part of his act. It wasn’t until you could see the sad dancer was all pissed off, that I realised there was more going on here.

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Our mate collects his $, and gets on his merry way.

This is when the other bloke pounces. I still to this day have no idea what he was trying to achieve, but my lawd… everything about it just looked terrible. We kinda just cut him short and tell him were not interested. He tempts fate once more and kinda tries to make us laugh, but the confusion has already set in too deep. He’s lost us before we even started.

He ends up finding his own way away from us, and we are ok with that. On top of the performers, there is a whole heap of people who just keep coming in to offer us selfie sticks and portable chargers. I kid you not. I reckon about 3 different people came into the alfresco area and did the rounds at the table. I honestly have no idea how they make money. I can’t see it working out. By the time the 5th person has come around, offering the same product, you’re up the creek. I doubt you’d get anything, really.

We sit, and watch and drink our drinks until its time to move.

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We decide to get our hustle on, and head to the show. This is the first time that Anne & Doug have even been to this place, so we’re all on a learning experience together. We walk through the streets of Palermo, and it’s almost like the city has little mini cities within it’s walls. You will walk along, and discover a square, just popping out of nowhere. There are families running around, dogs being taken for walks, kids kicking the soccer ball around. Its just crazy. Everywhere you look, there is something happening.

I love that the families get out and about so frequently, and that it is normal for the kids to run around and kick the ball around. The kids will even stay out till late at night playing and hanging out with their mates. Its really really awesome.

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We reach the venue, and the guys grab our tickets.

We head down these stairs, into this basement, and what is usually a drama theatre has turned into a gigging spot for the night. Doug had told me that Germano was really, really good. I have seen a few guitarists, and I even know a few people who are pretty damn smooth, when it comes to working the fretboard. Doug tells me, “Germano will literally use every spare centimetre of a guitar”
“Oh true?”, I wasn’t being condescending, I just have seen some pretty good guitarists, use pretty much all of the guitar.

…I was not ready for this.

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Germano is easily the most talented, skilled and practiced guitarist I have ever met. We sat for the following two hours, and were blown away time and time again by how utterly phenomenal this guy is. I didn’t quite understand that he literally used every single millimetre of his guitar. He would even use the tiny bit of string at the end of the neck and the tightening knuckles on the head of his guitar.

He was pulling and twisting and turning the whammy bar on the base of his instrument, making the guitar cry and sing time and time over, with each push and jerk, manipulating the audience into faint “Mmmmmmmmm”s again and again and again. I would like to say that he played covers of classic blues and rock idols, but the term “reinvented” sounds like it would suit better. His facial expressions dig deep into the abyss of contortion as he doesn’t bother to hold back what he body does during his performances.

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The coolest thing, is that Germano has got this whole little community of people in the music scene who just gig with him whenever they have the chance. He’s got a drummer and a bassist who were with him for about half the show. Then, he also did a few solo performances, but he also got this random chick up to sing two songs with him, and then she left. He also had another big bald headed bloke who came in on a motorcycle with his son who came on and played a small set with him.

These guys were just mates having fun.

People would just come on as cameos in his gig.

You could see they had spent hours and hours gigging and hanging out with the instruments. It was the best show I’ve seen in years. We were thoroughly impressed. After the show was finished, Doug & Anne did a quick hello to Germano, and we made our way back home.

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They decide to take us a little bit of a longer route, and walk through this absolutely packed bar area. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and this whole area is usually a market during the day. At night, it turns into this absolutely vibing market/food stall show and bar strip. There are all sorts happening. This bloke is pulling out freshly cooked octopus, another bloke is carving meat up right in front of you, all the while people are sitting at their tables in amongst it all.

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The strip itself goes to ages, but we take a turn to lead us back to where we parked. You can hear the squeals of delights as the kids chase each other and kick the soccer ball around. Dogs being taken for walks, and the whole place is packed. Doug starts telling us how Italians have really late lifestyles, and that the traffic get bad later at night.

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I can imagine that it might get marginally worse, but I cant imagine it getting really bad.

We walk out to the road, and the traffic is literally bumper to bumper. It is 11:20pm in Palermo, a city of 1,000,000 people, and it is literally peak hour. No word of a lie. There are headlights as far as the eye can see. People coming in from all around Palermo. Its a sight to behold and it makes no sense. 11:20 is their peak hour on a Saturday night.

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We walk back to the car, and every man and his dog are looking for parks. We got to witness one of the most blatant thefts of a car park in the history of mankind. This bloke drove on the wrong side of the road, nearly hit a few pedestrians, and almost took out the front end of this other guy’s car to nick his parking space. It was absolutely hectic. I was hoping that the fiery Italians were going to get into a blew over it, but the guy who got his spot nicked just accepted his fate while the other bloke walked off, proud as punch.

Could not believe it.

We head home, and I end up passing out again. I don’t really make it very far, and Bec keeps me awake just enough that I don’t snore too loud. She is a champion.

We get home, day goodnight to the guys and climb into bed.

Tonight was amazing, and it was friggin awesome to see such an amazing show of talent.

Come back for the next story,

Billy

2 thoughts on “Sicily – The Best Guitarist I Have Ever Heard

  1. 1k thanks for blogging my Live event made such a nice review!!! Perhaps one day I can play my music in your wonderful country…

    Like

    1. Germano! Glad you got to read it mate! We’d love that. I’m sure you’ll find a great following in Australia when you come over!

      Like

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