Archive for the ‘Belushi’s Canal’ Category

Days off in Paris
Monday 20th
The morning after the night before (when the night before involved playing a concert in Paris) turned quickly into the early afternoon…needless to say we slept quite late. After morning coffees we decided to walk into the Marais in search of Les Pates Vivantes (one of our favourite restaurants in Paris). When we arrived and discovered it was closed we walked to the next street and stopped at a little café for falafel & hummus. Sitting outside having lunch, with the sun shining and the Marais buzzing; tourists and locals, dancing around one another, making their way to wherever it was they were heading, I was feeling very lucky. There is such a sense of romance in the streets of Paris and it’s easy to get swept away with the mode of the city, so after lunch we stopped by the beautiful Parfums de Nicolaï and indulged in a little retail therapy (when in Rome, or even Paris).

A treat from Paris

A treat from Paris

In the evening we discovered a lovely little park “aussi mignon comme tout” just a few blocks from our apartment. Right on the edge of Bagnolet, Séverine Square is pretty small but has lots of benches and shaded areas, large trees and well-tended flowerbeds. It’s definitely a park for locals; a suburban park with kids play areas and picnic tables, what more could you want.

Tuesday 21st
Today we ventured out to the Albert Khan gardens & museum. We tried to go last year, only to discover it was closed, but having heard good things about the space we made our way back. Across the city by METRO, it seems like the easiest thing in the world. I do love the Paris system of I journey = 1 price, unlike in London where they have a zonal system and it can cost a fortune to get from 1 end to the other. It turns out that a visit to the Albert Kahn gardens was a great tip! We spent a very peaceful few hours wandering around the statue garden, admiring the structures and different types of plants (we even saw a red squirrel), before visiting the exhibition “In search of Albert Kahn” which was really interesting.

flower in the Albert Khan garden

flower in the Albert Khan garden

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) was convinced that shared knowledge of foreign societies would encourage respect and promote peaceful relations amongst them. He was a very rich man and from 1888 he set up the series of bursaries (Autour du Monde), he opened the first centre for preventive medicine and established forums for discussion and research in France (National Committee for Social and Political Studies).
Between 1909 to 1931, Albert Khan commissioned photographers and filmmakers to record life in over 50 countries. Some of the images seemed very familiar, almost as if someone had used a filter on a current image (Venice looked particularly unchanged in the 100 years between the photograph in his archives and ones I took a few years ago).

Feeling very cultured we left and headed for the Jardin du Luxembourg (one of Alexis’s favourite places in the city). We sat in the sun and watched the boats in the pond (testing my flag knowledge – which is not great) and the kids terrorizing the fish and ducks with their punting sticks. Everyone always seems so happy at the Jardin du Luxembourg (except those duck I suppose).

Enjoying the Paris sunshine

Enjoying the Paris sunshine

In the evening we caught up with friends. We met at La Rotonde Stalingrad for a few drinks on the terrace before wandering down the Plage. I love moments like this in Paris; it almost feels like you belong in a place when you get to hang out with the locals. There were ‘congratulations’ to be given and ‘cheers to absent friends’ to be had, as well as a distant ‘happy birthday’ to be wished… a good evening all round.

Sending birthday wishes from Paris

Sending birthday wishes from Paris

It was late before we realized we hadn’t eaten, so we said out goodbyes and headed into town for something to eat (midnight in Paris is a perfectly acceptable time to order food, or even a coffee apparently).

Wednesday 22nd
In the morning we searched out a cafe recommended by Alexis’s dad, ‘Cream’ – an “on-trend café” which only plays analogue music. It was lovely & just a short walk from out apartment “halfway up the hill in Belleville”. The coffee was nice, strong and not expensive at all and the LP closest to the record player was Fleetwood Mac.

Coffee at Cream, Paris

Coffee at Cream, Paris

We sat outside on the small decked area to make the most of the morning sunshine (Scots abroad eh) and planned the rest of the day. Next stop Père Lachaise, which was situated at the bottom of the street. So back up the hill we go, this time looking out for an Amy Thomas bakery tip also located on the same street as our apartment.

If every we move to Paris this is the street to stay in – everything is right here!

Amy Thomas is a blogger who’s ‘Paris, My Sweet’ book I am currently reading. It’s about her life between NYC & Paris and her love of all things sweet. Amy’s tip, La Flûte Gana was closed “summer holiday 4th July to 4th August”… just our luck, however in Paris this is never a big deal as there is always another great bakery near by. With cakes in hand (tart au citron & some kind of dark chocolate mouse creation) we made our way via Père Lachaise to Pigalle / Montmartre and the top of another hill to Sacre Coeur.

View from Sacre Coeur

View from Sacre Coeur

We headed out in the evening to a Paris / British meet up at a bar near the Pantheon, which was arranged by our friend Carole. Every month she arranges an evening where people get together to practice speaking English and tonight the meet up was at a very ‘British’ pub in the city. Chatting on the boulevard in front of the bar it was obvious that everyone was lovely; a mixed bunch from all over the world. The conversation flowed along with the real ale and cider, bringing tales of trips to the UK & life in Paris and before we knew it the sun had set on our beautiful surroundings and it was time to once again find a late night meal before heading back to our tiny apartment.

NEXT GIG:                 Thursday 23rd July 2015 @ La Dame De Canton with AsOne
https://www.facebook.com/events/615218981926641/

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Wednesday 23rd July – Day off in Paris

Today we mainly enjoyed the sunshine and parks of Paris & did a little promotion for our up-coming shows in the city. Everyone we spoke to commented on how “super cool” the model in the picture looked and seemed to think it was me (which is very flattering indeed). I think we may have created a fan-club for our dolls in Paris, so hopefully that will translate into views for the videos / likes on Facebook etc. I have recently been reading a lot about the importance of ‘online presence’ and how it relates to radio play in the UK, which has led to me feel a little down on the whole social media aspect of being an unsigned musician, but it really does help to keep in touch with fans across the world, so maybe I can just use and abuse the system to suit Sacre Noir’s progress.

After coffee in the morning, we wandered up to Paris Plage by Canal Saint-Denis (via Pere Lachaise) & popped into Belushi’s to catch up with friends who work there.

Pere Lachaise

Pere Lachaise

It’s always great to see familiar faces in unfamiliar places (not that Paris is so unfamiliar these days) & we arranged to have a BBQ on Sunday afternoon for a proper catch up.

Alexis showed me how to play petanque in the afternoon and we spent a good hour by the canal doing this until we decided it was time for lunch.

Alexis - Petanque action shot

Alexis – Petanque action shot

A trip to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is always on the cards when we’re in town, so after lunch that’s where we headed off to for a few hours before going back to Belushi’s for a drink with their marketing manager Ben (such a good guy).

Buttes Chaumont

Buttes Chaumont

Feeling very tired from all the walking and sunshine we headed back to the apartment (via a supermarket) and had a relaxing evening there. Not able to stay indoors for too long when in Paris, we decided to go out again and discover the area. Our apartment is near Nation, which is a very lively area with lots of bars and cafes which all seem to stay open til the wee small hours.

Gig 14 – Sunday 1st September 2013 @ Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
The end is neigh and the final show of this year’s summer tour looms large!
A last minute line-up change is called for after Lewis Gibson goes on a last minute holiday… to the rescue are a drum student, a local guitar legend and a couple of festival performers all brought together by the one and only Ewan Gibson. Naming themselves after a poetry meet The Soul Cypher featuring Mekkah & Twenty20 had a practice in the afternoon before the show and delivered a pretty convincing set (I’d love to have seen them if they were a full-time collective). Along with their sense of adventure the two American MCs also brought a touch of musical magic to the start of this event as everything was so relaxed and in the spirit of making good music and enjoying sharing the results.

The Soul Cypher live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

The Soul Cypher live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh


We get ourselves set-up on the familiar stage of Henry’s and launch into our forty-minute set of dark electronica. The sound is tight and loud and we are pleased to hear that we’ve ‘awakened the goth’ in one enthusiastic fan in particular. It’s a good crowd that includes some familiar faces who are here to support our last show of the tour and check out The Penny Black Remedy. We’re really pleased with the response and happy to have played 14 great gigs stretching back to the first night of the tour back in July.
Sacre Noir live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh - Photo by Flare Photography

Sacre Noir live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh – Photo by Flare Photography


By the time The Penny Black Remedy took to the stage everyone in the venue was ready for their unique brand of musical mayhem, and once again the group didn’t disappoint. As with their show in Glasgow they mixed tracks from their debut LP with tracks from their latest release ‘Inhale… Exhale… Ok, Now You Can Panic!’ to great effect and had the crowd dancing and whooping for Keith’s guitar solos.
The Penny Black Remedy live at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

The Penny Black Remedy live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh


Looking back it’s been an amazing month and a half of gigs and travelling, playing to the new audiences and hanging out in some great cities. Big thanks are due to all the venues and promoters who have helped along the way; The Banshee Labyrinth, Box, The Vibe Bar, The Arc, Power’s Bar, The Dublin Castle, Belushi’s Gare du Nord and Canal Paris, Le Vieux Leon, Soupanova, Little Stage, Pfefferbett Hostel, Pivo Pivo, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Craig McGee, Plugged In Switched On, Bearsuit Promotions, Ben & Lio @ Belushi’s, Selina @ Soupanova, Alex @ Little Stage, Charlotte @ Pfefferbett, It’s a XXXX Blog Thing and Claire @ Henry’s. Big thanks are also due to all the fine bands we played with along the way; Llennett, Hot Jupiter, Little Love and the Friendly Vibes, Tom Coyne, Sir Spence, The Joy, George Frakes, Andy Docherty and The Caped Crusaders, Dressmaker, The Ocean’s Above, Mickey 9s, The Soul Cypher featuring Mekkah and Twenty20 and The Penny Black Remedy.
You can check out a video below which features footage from the gigs, interviews during the tour and more – a great snapshot into the touring life with Sacre Noir.

Gig 9 – Sunday 4th August @ Belushi’s Canal, Paris (evening acoustic set) plus guerrilla gig at A-Mi-Ami

Had a nice lie in after a late night at Le Vieux Léon – got up and headed out to meet friends Dave, Lea, Ali and Carson for brunch at Marcel (in Montmartre). It’s become a bit of a tradition to have Sunday brunch while in Paris, and is a great excuse to have some good food and catch-up.

 Marcel in the 18th, Paris

Marcel in the 18th, Paris


Afterwards we wandered past Sacré Couer and headed down the hill for a refreshing tea / coffee in the sun. We then headed up from Gare du Nord to the Belushi’s in the 19th, which took us past the Paris Plages festival on the banks of the Canal.
Sunday night is Open Mic at Belushi’s Canal, hosted by the very talented Dimitri (bass / vocals) and Micha (guitar / vocals). After they had a played a few songs and a mandolin player from Australia had played we jumped up with Lio providing beat box once again and played a few covers and originals. We hung out afterwards listening to more talent at the Open Mic and chatting with Tom, Rasheed and Lio.
Open Mic @ Belushi's Canal, Paris

Open Mic @ Belushi’s Canal, Paris


To finish off the night our good friend Jacob had asked us to perform a few songs at his restaurant a-Mi-Am-i. We used his electric guitar and played covers and original tracks to the diners and some friends of Jacob’s who had stopped by for a drink. It was a nice laid-back atmosphere and we ended up sitting out and chatting till the wee hours with Jacob and his wife.
We also met a very cheeky little boy, who was very taken with Alexis and his guitar skills (F minor in particular seemed to go down well).
Show @ a-Mi-Am-i, Paris

Show @ a-Mi-Am-i, Paris


Headed back down to Belushi’s Gare du Nord to try and get some sleep before our “sleeper” train to Berlin the following night – once again a big thanks must go out to Ben for arranging our shows at both Belushi’s in Paris.

Thursday 1st August 2013 – Day off in Paris
Due to our re-arranged dates in Paris we get the day off today! So after a Belushi’s breakfast and chatting to some of the folk who are staying here we head out for lunch: curry @ JJR café just round the corner from the hostel on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. In the afternoon we wandered along to the 1st to check out the venue we’re due to play on Saturday evening; Le Vieux Léon. The guy that booked us no longer works there, but the manager is happy for us to play either an acoustic or electronic set and has the tour postcards out in the bar. It seems like a really nice place & we’re definitely looking forward to playing to a different crowd in Paris. We initially targeted hostels in Europe as we felt the travelling community was a good bet for new fans, but the more we play in Paris the more we realise that these folk are mainly in the bar for good times (and beer pong), so might not remember anything about us in the morning. However we have been getting great feedback from the locals and even had a couple of extra gig offers in other venues this time round.

Paris Plage 2013

Paris Plage 2013


From Le Vieux Léon we headed up to Belushi’s Canal in the 19th to catch up with Lio (the man behind the music up there) to confirm the arrangements for tomorrow night’s show. As we were in the area it seemed right to pop into ‘a-Mi-Am-i’ and see our good friend Jacob. We met him last year whilst on tour and he’s been really supportive ever since. We drank, played some songs on his guitar and most of all chatted about music. He told me that in his religion (Judaism) it is forbidden for a woman to sing in front of men, so being a curious cat I wanted to find out more…
“The division by gender reflects the creation of man and God’s universe. The Jewish tradition loves opposites and conflict: light and dark, day and night, man and woman, song and silence.
In a fascinating, typically Jewish contradiction, Prayer and Song are largely female, as in the song of Devorah, Chana and Miriam. Even King Solomon’s Song of Songs is set in two voices for a man and a woman – with the woman’s voice predominant.”

Taken from: The Jewish Tradition by Maxine Handy

We spent the evening at Belushi’s GDN – they had a live covers band playing who we wanted to check out before heading upstairs. The bar staff all really like this band so we were keen to see what songs they had in their set… was just the usual tunes (Wonderwall / Raspberry Beret etc) but played well – I guess that makes a big difference when you play such famous songs in your set.

Friday 2nd August 2013
Gig 7 – Belushi’s Canal, Paris (Acoustic show)

It was a very warm day in Paris, 33 degrees at 11am and due to get hotter as the day goes on. I think my peelie-wally Scottish skin is coping pretty well so far, but that is maybe due to the large amount of factor 50 that I’ve been applying. We spent the afternoon in the Rodin gardens and ate at the café there. The grounds of the museum are beautiful and so we spent ages wandering round seeing the marble and bronze works.

AlexisSs & Carrie Noir, Rodin Jardin

AlexisSs & Carrie Noir, Rodin Jardin


We headed up to Belushi’s Canal for about 7.30pm to get set up for tonight’s show.
Tom (the newly promoted bar manager) and Lio (the events manager) looked after us really well. Spending time up there is like hanging out at a friend’s house – very welcoming and laid back.
Belushi's Canal, Paris

Belushi’s Canal, Paris


The place has had a makeover since we last visited in March and the new drinks and food menus are very amusing. We ate at the bar and as always it was really good (much better than you expect from a Hostel / Bar). We played a mix of covers and originals and were lucky enough to be joined for a few tracks by Lio and his beat-boxing skills. If we lived in Paris we’d have to recruit him for the band!
By the time we got back to GDN it was raining so we just went to our room and watched the first episode of ‘Jo’ (an American detective show set in Paris).

Next gig:
Saturday 3rd August @ Belushi’s GDN, Paris (afternoon chilled electro set)
Saturday 3rd August @ Le Vieux Léon, Paris (evening acoustic set)