We decided to only play 1 show in London this year & we were really pleased to be invited to play a showcase gig at The New Cross Inn. Unfortunately when we woke up it was clear Alexis wasn’t going to make this one as he was feeling sick (nothing major just a dodgy tummy), but as a consequence tonight’s gig was going to have be a solo show.
Katy, the promoter at NXI was really supportive and was still keen for there to be a Sacre Noir set on the night, plus friends still planned to come down and see the show, so as the old saying goes “the show must go on”.
I set off from our base at Ealing around 4.30pm. Perhaps I over estimated the journey time just a little, but travelling on my own and knowing my inability to follow a map, I felt sure I’d get lost at some point and thought “better safe than sorry”. So after a couple of underground line changes and a short trip on the over-ground system, I found myself in New Cross. The venue for tonight’s show sits opposite the world famous Goldsmith’s College and the area was buzzing with hip, young, creative types. There was an open evening at Goldsmith’s, (invitations to the gathering with free beer and snacks were abundant) the sun was shining and everyone seemed to be out in the streets, drinking and laughing and enjoying the early evening sunshine. Chalkboard at The New Cross Inn

I declined the offer to party with the cool kids and decided to go straight to the venue to have a drink whilst waiting for friends and catching up on some reading. The barmaid was Scottish & I immediately felt more relaxed; she got me a drink and swapped my Scottish notes for English ones as apparently Scottish tender is still a bugbear of many shop-keepers in London, perhaps more so since the referendum. Last time we were in London there was so much chat about the Scottish referendum. This year, nothing! Not a word about politics from anyone. This seemed very odd to me as the topic seems to have disappeared completely in London, which is in stark contrast to the continued engagement in Scotland.
Before the show I chatted with the guitarist from The Vintage Society about booking gigs and the London music scene, made friends with the local punters, got new lyrical ideas from a nice man called Olli and then my friends showed up (thank you guys). As great as it is to make new friends it’s always so great to catch up with old mates you don’t get to see as often as you’d like. And these guys are very great friends who have made the effort to come see up play in London for the last 3 years. We chatted about life, holidays, new jobs and cars, reminisced about mutual friends, gigs and weddings as well as discussing the cuteness of the children in our lives (some peoples ears must have been burning: Sadia). Some other friends showed up & before I knew it the time had come for me to take to the stage and deliver a solo Sacre Noir show.

Sacre Noir (photo by Lisa Duncan)

Aside from a couple of minor technical difficulties, everything seemed to go pretty well. It felt very unusual being onstage without Alexis (it’s odd enough without Phil these days TBH). No-one to make eye contact with or to share those live moments that you can only really share with band members. No-one to bounce off for energy & no-one to give me a knowing ‘it’s cool’ smile when things go wrong. The set wasn’t perfect but no-one seemed to mind too much and everyone was full of praise afterwards. The new tracks went down particularly well and the final track in the set “She Stands Tall” got the best reaction by far. With the addition of live Kaoss Pad synth and atmospheric noises I think it provided a moment of difference / interest in the set.

The line up of bands that the promoter had put together was very good indeed. 1st up were the very young looking Kaleidos Eye, a new 4-piece band from London. Fresh faced and perhaps a little nervous they opened up the night & powered their way though a set of pretty catchy original tracks, but it was their chosen cover that seemed to win over the most fans; a version of Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. Kaleidos Eye
The Vintage Society are a relatively new 3-piece (guitar, vocals, drums) based in London, and despite having only played a handful of shows before this event, they delivered a really strong set. Bryony (vocals) has a current yet old-soul sound to her vocals, and her on-stage banter was maybe limited to a few introductions and comments but they were funny and warm and if I hadn’t already been loving their style this would have won me over for sure. Musically I loved their sound and will definitely be spreading the word about their FREE EP. Hopefully we’ll meet again one day, maybe even some gig swaps in the future. The Vintage Society
The headline act of the night were The Tinun’s from France. Just a duo for their London shows but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, especially when you are as cool as these two Paris-based ladies. The Tinun's
I didn’t get a chance to chat to them on the night and had to rush of for a tube at the end of the night, but their set was super confident and I’m sure they’ve made some new fans in the UK aside from myself. They reminded me a little bit of The White Stripes, not just because they were a guitar/vocal & drums duo, but more due to the repetitive nature of their tracks, simple pounding drum parts and driving guitar riffs. It was understated and not the kind of music I think many of the locals were expecting to hear from two delicate French girls. Just goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover.

I made it back to Ealing before 1am and Alexis seemed better… A good night’s sleep and we’d be ready to face the world again.

NEXT GIG:                 Sunday 19th July 2015 @ Le Gambetta 4 Euro from 8pm
PLAYING WITH:         Appalache & Mettani Poster for Le Gambetta, Paris EVENT PAGE

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