Archive for the ‘Barry EJ Smith’ Category

Saturday 2nd August – Day Off, London
For our final day in London we went out early to make the most of our time; Celeb spotting in Soho without even trying over a coffee… Peter Capaldi (Thick of It / Dr Who), a picnic in Soho Square, an hour in Bar Italia for apple juice and a catch up with KMT (The Penny Black Remedy), free chocolate at Choccy Woccy Doo Dah (mmmm) and a chat with Ann in My Art Invest (an art share idea from Paris – investments coming soon) before heading over to Whitechapel for dinner.

Last Day Triptich 1

Last Day Triptich 1


We had made a reservation at Café Spice Namastae which is the restaurant run by Cyrus Todiwala (The Spice Boys / Celebrity Masterchef) and was possibly the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten. We started with the homemade chutneys and popadoms (all excellent, but the crab apple was the most unusual) before our ‘real’ starters arrived, then the Thalis for main, all washed down with mocktails and lassi – it was a perfect 2 hours of chatting, eating and being looked after by the fantastic staff. We left feeling very luck to have experienced such original, freshly prepared food in a fantastic atmosphere on our last night in such an exciting city.
Last Day Triptich 2

Last Day Triptich 2

Sunday 3rd August – Travel Day (London – Edinburgh)
We had a lazy Sunday morning with coffees on Pitshanger Lane before the ritual of packing, un-packing and re-packing on a travel day. Then it was off to Euston Station for our traditional meal at Ed’s diner before leaving London once more. We’ve had a great time in London staying with the super-cool Joe McG (one time flatmate of Robert Plant / designer of Black Sabbath LP covers / daughter who works at Vogue etc etc). We’ve had so much freedom whilst being looked after at the same time; BBQs in the garden and limitless tea and wee-fee… we love staying at Ealing Towers and hope we can show Joe a good time in Edinburgh if he makes it up for a show or two during the Fringe.
The train journey home was painless – no delays or problems with luggage and we arrived as expected into the madness that is The Fringe Festival.
Home Sweet Home

We still have a few shows to play & a video to launch this month, but it feels like the bulk of this tour is done and dusted.

Paris was amazing!
Thanks to; TT – for the great apartment / Pierre, Juliette, Laetitia and all the staff at La Dame De Canton / Teresa, Chakal & all the staff at AbracadaBar / Vincent and all the staff at Au Chat Noir / Dave, Lea, Ben, Leatitia & Tom for being cool / Victor at Midnight Special Records / Popper Must (Be) for a great set at Au Chat Noir / Aubry at Madoro Music Management for being the nicest person we didn’t meet (you really helped loads and we’ll be forever grateful to you for being so cool and professional) and most of all our new best friends Chloé, Ben, Ablass, Dan, Charly, Damien and Robert from AsOne – by far the best band in Paris!
Extra thanks to Chaval for the fantastic pics and to Sithara Ieng for the amazing video of our show at AbracadaBar from his “j’ai filmé pour vous” series.

London was fantastic!
Thanks to; Joe for the run of Ealing Towers / Martin / Andy Docherty and all the staff at The Village Inn for letting us hijack your acoustic show / all the “open mic’ers” we met in Putney & Ealing / Barry & Ray / Lisa & Bob / Phil M / Muir V / Tinderdust / Grand Bassam / all the staff at Power Lunches (especially their amazing sound engineer) / Andunemir for filming the show at Power Lunches and to Tom, Charles, David & Ben (dressmaker) for all their support.

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 9 Wednesday 6th August @ The Central Bar (Gateshead)

Friday 1st August @ Power Lunches, London
After catching up with some work and emails we had a pretty quiet morning; we went out for coffee / lunch and decided to just stay in Ealing and not go too far. We had coffee at Farm W5 and had a wander in the area before lunch at Cote on Ealing Green. One of the local parks is named after a harvest festival which was traditionally held on August 1st so it seemed quite fitting to spend some time there.

Lammas Park, Ealing

Lammas Park, Ealing


In the afternoon we went to St Pancras to collect Alexis’s large drum bag and then made our way over to Hackney for the gig. There had been a terrible accident at Ealing Broadway station (someone was hit by a train & killed) so there were some delays and even more people than usual. We made it to sound checks by 6pm and the night ran so smoothly that I think there may be more ‘dressmaker presents…’ shows in the future. Most musicians have a general dis-like for promoters, but if more bands put on nights like this, we’d be doing okay.
First up was Grand Bassam – a solo act for the evening as one half of the band is on holiday in Greece (popular this year as a destination it seems).
With a machine and a mic and a pedal of sorts this one man show was brutal on the eyes (due to the strobe being on for the full 25 minute set) and brilliant on the ears. Original and poetic, unusual and intriguing all at the same time, it was quite an intense performance from within the crowd.
Grand Bassam live at Power Lunches, London

Grand Bassam live at Power Lunches, London


Next up was the band I’d been most excited about play with in London; Tinderdust. From their online content I’d genuinely fallen for the concept of this act and their execution on the night was blinding. Vocalist / front-woman ‘Lovebeads’ seemed mysteriously cool and musically interesting in interviews etc and live the 3-piece band brought the music to life. They are not a copy-cat of anything, so trying to put labels on this band and draw comparisons would be silly, but for me they are one of the most original and creative musical acts I’ve discovered this year.
It’s noise music but not as I know it.
It’s electronica but not as we (Sacre Noir) do it.
Tinderdust live at Power Lunches, London

Tinderdust live at Power Lunches, London


Then it was time for us to take to the stage… with friends & family in the crowd this evening we hoped for a smooth run, but as always there were one or two technical difficulties. Nothing major and the crowd were great at putting up with my chat while we sorted things out.
The sound on stage was great (very loud and bass heavy), the audience were amazing (great reception to songs old & new) and the sweat was running off the walls by the time we’d finished.
Sacre Noir live at Power Lunches, London

Sacre Noir live at Power Lunches, London


It was great to catch up with old friends and band mates (The Duncans) as well as possible new collaborators (Mr Phil M) in London. We have made some great new friends and fans during this tour but it is always great when people you know and trust come to shows and enjoy themselves. So to have family (cousin Muir and Uncle Barry & Ray) coming along to this show was very special indeed.
This has to be one of the best nights we’ve played in London; great acts on the bill and hosted by the coolest band in town – we went home feeling very lucky indeed.

George Orwell one wrote of London “it was queer after Paris; everything was so much cleaner and quieter and drearier.”
Well George if you could see her now – after Paris we found London more dirty & noisy, and I can only imagine London being dreary if you don’t know the right people… we have had a fantastic time in London this year and it has been great to catch up with dressmaker too; can’t wait to have them play in Scotland again.

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 9 Wednesday 6th August @ The Central Bar (Gateshead)
With Jen Stevens & The Hiccups

Sunday 27th July – Day Off, Paris
After the success of the Paris leg of this year’s summer tour and some much needed sleep, we went into the 10th Arr. & had brunch in a lovely bar called ‘Swinging Londress’. It was great value (quiche, salad, eggs, rice & olives, bread, juice, coffee & dessert for €12), with great service and in a really nice location too.

Sunday Brunch in Paris

Sunday Brunch in Paris


Later in the day we went back to Au Chat Noir as I left my hat & mask the previous night after our show, before heading out into the suburbs for a BBQ with friends and in the evening we ate at an American style café.
Paris street art & AlexisSs

Paris street art & AlexisSs


Having had a pretty lazy day, we went back to the apartment to discover that a local music fan had filmed our show from Friday night at AbracadaBar and uploaded the full set to YouTube. Although we always record our rehearsals and live shows to watch back and evaluate, the angle is usually from the side of the stage and it’s often more like watching again from your own viewpoint rather than that of the audience. As this was all from the audience’s view it provided us with a little insight into the delivery and performance aspect of a Sacre Noir show, which was really nice.

We were really pleased with our set after the show and having watched it back we were pleased to see that everything did indeed sound & look just as great out front. The Tour de France finished today & apart from all the fans in polka dot tops, we managed to miss the whole thing. We were in Paris at the same time 4 years ago (honeymoon) and saw the final sprint down the Champs Elyssee, which was really cool, but I do remember having to walk the long way round the city as many of the streets and roads were closed off, so we were keen to avoid that this time.

Monday 28th July – Day Off, Paris (Alexis’s birthday)
As with all birthdays, I was more excited than Alexis today, but after a quick call from his mum & dad, we went out for the day.

Paris Metro

Paris Metro


Starting with a trip to the Albert Khan gardens and photography exhibition, which involved 3 changes on the Metro. When we got there we discovered that it was closed on Mondays, but as we found ourselves in an unfamiliar and a nice part of town, we decided to stay for a coffee, and after a trip to the supermarket we ate our picnic there too. Keen to spend some time in a ‘green space’ today, we went over to the park Andre Citroen (on the site of his old car factory).
Paris park

Paris park


It was really lovely & peaceful in the park, so we stayed there for a while then went back into town for a spot of shopping near Montmartre.
"I love you"

“I love you”


In the evening we ate at a local Indian restaurant, which was really lovely. It can be very difficult going out for food in Paris as a vegetarian, but thankfully some national cuisines can always be relied upon to provide lots of options.
Back in the apartment for our last night in Paris before midnight (this has been rare on this trip), we caught up with some emails and watched TV and had some birthday cake.
Birthday cake

Birthday cake


It really has been a great trip and we’ll have to make a special post for all the “thank-yous” at the end of the tour.

Tuesday 29th July – Travel Day (Paris – London)
Got up early and headed out for coffee before packing the bags and heading into for lunch near GDN. We also managed to find time for some cake before leaving Paris.
Our train back to London was just after 3pm, getting into St Pancras before 5pm. It was raining when we left Paris, but the sun was shining when we arrived in London. We made it back to Ealing in time for a quick cuppa and a change of clothes before going out to The Village for a small acoustic show with Andy Docherty and friends. We met Andy last year when we played at Power’s Bar in Kilburn (sadly gone now).
Andy (a fellow Scot) is running the open mic at this nice pub on Pitshanger Lane, bringing some of his very talented friends into the leafy suburbs of Ealing. Tonight, as well as Andy and ourselves, one of the other acts who performed was a fantastically talented young lady called Jai Blue – she has a stunning voice and managed to bring the crowd to silence with her beautiful voice and lovely lyrics. Her first song was about her relationship with her mum (who “didn’t raise no quitter”) and told a story of strength and trust – just beautiful. There were a few first timers to the open mic scene but everyone had a great night and the crowd was very supportive.

Jai Blue at The Village Inn (Ealing)

Jai Blue at The Village Inn (Ealing)


The Village Inn is a lovely bar with really great staff (super friendly and full of fun) and I’m sure their ‘acoustic night’ will go from strength to strength. Andy finished the evening with a cover of ‘Hey Laura’ by Gregory Porter, which was a very classy way to end the evening.

Wednesday 30th July – Day off in London
“So I went and sat in Crystal Palace, by the plastic dinosaurs”… and all because of some lyrics in a Brett Anderson song. The park was beautiful & the dinosaurs (which aren’t plastic) were really cool. They pre-date Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ and are really quite different from the more contemporary versions. The song “To The Winter” makes the park sound bleak and dark and lonely, but on a beautiful sunny day, with kids running and playing everywhere and families in small boats in the pond, it was anything but bleak.

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park


In the afternoon we went to Camden and had coffee by the lock. I love Camden! It really is one of the most vibrant areas of London with a great mix of bars and cafés and strange sights like the DJ Granddad (who entertained the crowds by playing dance track while his friends did a strange dance routine (if you can call it a routine)… it was very funny.
"People are strange, when you're a stranger"

“People are strange, when you’re a stranger”


We also discovered the ‘Edinburgh’ area of Camden (near Parkway) which is home to a pub called the ‘Edinboro Castle’ and streets called Holyrood Court and Northbridge schools…. Very funny for us natives.
The Edinboro Castle, Camden

The Edinboro Castle, Camden


In the evening we went back to Ealing for a BBQ in the garden to make the most of the beautiful weather.

Thursday 31st July – Day off in London
We went out early in the morning to Holland Park which is really stunning.
Just before you get to the park there is a statue of St Volodymyr of Ukraine with a tribute to those who have recently lost their lives in the recent conflict. It was very emotional reading the stories of how these young men were found or killed, and some are still missing (since March this year).

St Volodymyr of Ukraine

St Volodymyr of Ukraine


Inside Holland Park there are a few peacocks that live there and they were really cool to see up close – very calm and quite friendly with the public and squirrels. The park has a beautiful Japanese garden and loads of natural play areas for kids. It is a really relaxing space in the city, I think because there is no cycling, skating allowed and dogs have to stay on a lead, and as a consequence everything seems very controlled.
AlexisSs in Holland Park

AlexisSs in Holland Park


After a picnic in the park we headed over to Hackney to catch up with friends, Barry & Ray. We started off in their local pub, The Cock Tavern then heading out for food at the Hackney Bureau. Both the craft beer and cider at the pub were lovely and in the bistro the food was simple and fresh. It was great to get together and have a good chat before they gig tomorrow evening when I’m sure Alexis & I will be in ‘show mode’ and not really able to spend as much time with them as we’d like to.
at Barry & Ray's in Hackney

at Barry & Ray’s in Hackney

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 8 Friday 1st August @ Power Lunches (London)
dressmaker presents: Sacre Noir (Dark Female Lo-Fi from Scotland), Introverts,
Tinderdust, Grand Bassam
https://www.facebook.com/events/301947156645961/

Saturday 17th August – Wednesday 28th August
Back home and back to work… there are exciting projects in the pipeline though. During this time we caught up with Barry Smith (artist) and agreed a new collaboration, had a meeting with a local film-maker to discuss a Sacre Noir short film project for this winter, attended a friend’s book launch and even managed to fit in a practice with Phil as he’d be joining us again for the final two shows of this year’s summer tour.

Phil and Alexis - Sacre Noir rehearsal at Bainbridge / Iona St, Edinburgh

Phil and Alexis – Sacre Noir rehearsal at Bainbridge / Iona St, Edinburgh

Gig 13 – Thursday 29th August 2013 @ Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
This show was booked & promoted by ‘It’s A XXXX Thing’ blog and everyone was pretty excited about the line-up. The Penny Black Remedy have never played a show in Glasgow but it’s a gig on home turf for the Mickey 9’s! There are some great pictures and a review on the New Hellfire Club website. This is the first time in ages we’ve seen the Mickey 9’s and they had a few new tracks in their set… ‘Berlin’ being my favourite. Energetic and a little crazy, they were as always very entertaining.

Thursday 29th August 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

Thursday 29th August 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow


We always enjoy playing at Pivo Pivo in Glasgow – we finished our 2012 tour with a gig here and it feels good to be back and adding Phil’s guitar sounds to the set. After a few technical problems at the start of the show, we soon hit our stride and play a raucous crescendo of ‘She Can’t Take It’ to finish our set. One song that has been popular throughout the tour is ‘It’s Too Late Now’ and we’re able to really take advantage of the live guitar on this track in particular – leading to a dark, rockier performance.
Sacre Noir live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow - photo by Gobo Photography

Sacre Noir live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow – photo by Gobo Photography


The Penny Black Remedy then took to the stage like a whirlwind and blew through an hour’s worth of songs in what seemed like no time at all. Covering much of their very own blend of ska-rock, surf-punk, country-folk-pop stylings, including crowd favourite ‘Bring Back Brando’ (a song written with more honesty than you’d imagine for something so catchy). Keith fronts the band like a true professional and has the audience wrapped round his finger from the get-go, although vocalist Marijana also takes centre stage for a few tracks and wows the crowd. The other band members Wilco and Paul both show a similar enthusiasm and a good night was had by all.
The Penny Black Remedy live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

The Penny Black Remedy live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

Tuesday 23rd July 2013: Lazy Day in London
After the excitement and heat of yesterday we decided to take it easy, so after a wee lie-in we went for a walk in Pitshanger Park then had a great Italian lunch at The Organic Pizza House.
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Lunch was great and very generous portions so we spent the afternoon walking round Ealing, checking out the shops and other parks.
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Found a lovely place for coffees called ‘Bonne Café’ so we stopped there for a while, hiding from the scattered rain showers and watching the people go by.

Wednesday 24th July 2013: Lunch with Friends in Hackney
Started off today with a recce of the next venue we’re playing at in London; The Arc Angel Bar in Islington. When we got there it was closed but looks like a really nice place from the outside. The main bonus is that it’s just around the corner from the tube stop, which is great for moving the gear round.
Then we headed over to Hackney to have lunch with artist friends Barry & Ray. They took us to a great bistro for lunch called ‘Unpackaged’ which also doubled as a health food shop and fancy deli. The food was lovely, the staff were really friendly and the company was great! We chatted about music and politics and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Barry & Ray always visit the city in August to take in some shows). It’s always a treat when we’re away from home to catch up with friends and family and this was just what the doctor ordered. A very chilled out afternoon indeed.
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Barry is a London-based Australian artist who’s work I really love! You might have seen it on a bag I have (‘Woman smoking a cigarette’) & he’s also responsible for some of the Savage Sound System artwork (LP cover for ‘Like Stink On A Monkey’ and gig posters for the final two tour shows this year).
http://www.barrysmithwork.co.uk
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Ray is currently working on his Punch & Judy show, which he performs the last Saturday of every month at London Fields in Hackney.
http://www.youtube.com/oldarty44

Next gig: Thursday 25th July @ The Arc, Angel Islington, London (FREE)
https://www.facebook.com/thearcbar
2-4-1 Cocktails on selected cocktails all day on a Thursday