Thursday 14th July 2016
Gig 4: Le Gambetta Club, Paris
Bastille Day

We visited Père Lachaise in the morning as it is located at the end of our street and is always a peaceful space within the city (as long as you don’t spend time near the grave of Jim Morrison). As it was Bastille Day it seemed pertinent to visit and pay respects to those who have fallen fighting for their country, protecting human rights, or gaining civil liberties; it provides cause to be thankful for all we have & also to remember those who we have lost.
Pere Lachaise is a beautiful space & I’ve always found the graveyards of Paris to be less sombre than churches.

Last year we arranged a concert at Le Gambetta Club & had a fantastic night, so we were happy to be returning.

On the 13th July the fire stations host the Pompier Balls across the city & as Le Gambetta Club is a late night bar, the party had gone on until the early hours of the next day, so when we arrived at the venue to set up for our show, Joe (owner) and Marco (bar manager) were both still feeling very tired – nothing a couple of espresso shots didn’t fix.
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We were very pleased to have secured Laurent Henode to play with us at this gig as we’re both big fans having followed his progress since meeting two years ago thanks to a mutual friend. He is currently working on material with a new band but for this show he played a solo set of material just acoustic guitar and vocals under the pseudonym Popper Must (Be). Laurent’s voice has great dynamic range which matches his writing style perfectly. He is a master of the ‘quiet-loud-quiet’ delivery and his confidence seemed to have grown along with his repertoire. It was so lovely to seem a familiar face in the city and especially one as friendly as his.

The other act we secured for this show was Eric Costa, an electronic musician based in Paris who not only played an amazing set or original compositions, but also played ‘DJ’ in between the live music, styled the stage with lights and saved the day with brown tape.
I discovered Eric’s music via his BandCamp page and cannot speak highly enough about his live set-up. Intense and modern is one way to describe his music, moulding synth sounds and drum loops with ease (whilst trying to get rid of drunk fans intent on speaking to him during his performance).

Le Gambetta Club have a BBQ (free with drinks) so people who were coming to the show were offered food as well as great cocktails, a selection of Japanese whiskeys and fab live music – what more could people want.

We had a great night and after our set we talked till late on the terrace with Eric.
We must say thank you to Stéphanie for inviting us back to this lovely local bar to perform our new LP.
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When it was time to head back to the apartment we said our goodbyes and the bar manager Marco wished us a ‘bon soiree’ and also ‘good luck’; making sure we understood to ‘be careful’ on our way home. We thought this was sweet but didn’t realise until we got home that there had been an attack in Nice and this was why he was so worried about us getting home.
We have always felt safe and comfortable in Paris, but this year we have noticed a marked increase in the presence of soldiers on the streets. Sure, they have always been around the large train stations, Tour Eiffel and Sacre Coeur, but this year we have seen them lining the streets near Pigalle and Bellville (both are areas which have suffered attacks in recent months). Honestly, I’ve never felt comfortable with the soldiers and cops having guns openly on show, but I think this is just because it’s something you rarely see in Scotland. However, this summer the sight of them and their increased street presence did not leave me feeling uneasy; if anything I completely understand why the locals feel safer with these guys around.
It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to be living in a constant state of ‘emergency’ but life in Paris seems to be carrying on as usual and the city is still such a vibrant place that I also can’t imagine that changing too much either.
We live in strange times, but we can’t let the fear take over and change who we are.

Vive la France.

Friday 15th July 2016 (Day Off)
We slept in after a late night at La Gambetta Club and the city also seemed to be late in waking itself, so we headed down to Arts et Metiers for a coffee; and a great spot to sit and watch the world go by. It was a hot day and we wanted a lunch that would fill up all the lost calories from the previous night’s exertions, so we checked out a few Indian restaurants by Gare du Nord and chose a place that specialised in dosas (Indian savoury pancakes) and vegetarian cuisine. It was excellent and filling, with great service as per usual in Paris.

In the evening we cooked another meal in our Parisian apartment (warm goat’s cheese salad and bread), we then headed out to wander around Belleville and soak up the atmosphere of the city. It’s lovely to be able to walk the streets late at night while the weather is still warm and we spotted many nice looking bars and restaurants with people dining or drinking into the wee small hours. It was great to be able to have such a relaxing day after our first gig of 2016 in Paris.

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