Archive for the ‘Birthday!’ Category

Thursday 27th July 2017: Gig 3: New Cross Inn, London
with Red Tape Riot | Human In Bloom | Pillow Queens
The day started with coffees at The Bluebird Café in Chelsea.
“Bluebird Chelsea is a London landmark, a gleaming Art Deco icon right on the King’s Road. Made up of a chilled out Café & Courtyard on the ground floor and a more refined Restaurant & Bar on the first floor, it comes complete with its own Wine Cellar and Food Store too!”
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We decided to stay in the area for lunch and shopping as the rain was pretty heavy; the thought of facing the chaos that is the London Underground more than once in a day was not overly appealing and with so much on our doorstep it was easy to have a lazy day.

First show in London of 2017….

We arrived in New Cross in what seemed to be a biblical storm, sideways rain that battered down on the rooftops so hard you could almost feel it, and we popped into the Red Lion Coffee Co. for a little refreshment before making our way to the venue.

A couple of years ago we were booked for a fab show at The New Cross Inn so we were really looking forward to the night ahead.
First up on the bill was Irish ‘girl’ band Pillow Queens; full of youthful energy and 90’s indie vibes (think Lush or Elastica) despite the group clearly being far too young to remember those bands 1st time round.
“fast becoming Dublin’s most talked about up-and-coming pop-punk band.
Their catchy songs and upfront lyrics earned them a spot on the bill for Dublin’s top music venue Whelans’ Ones To Watch Festival earlier this year, playing one of the most crowded shows across the entire weekend.”

We were up next and seemed to just be starting when it was time to play our last song (half an hour just files when you’re having fun). The sound on stage was great and friends in the audience confirmed the quality of the set when we were done. It’s always so lovely to have friends come see us when we’re playing in London, and it was an extra nice surprise when our Edinburgh friends showed up without letting us know they were in town.
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The best thing about not headlining events, is that there is time for drinking and chatting after a performance and that is just what we did.
BIG THANKS to Ewan and Steven for the wonderful company and banter!

After our set, it was time for the only London-based band on the bill, Human in Bloom
“a brand new indie-alt-rock 4 piece from East London. Psych-alt-rock-indie-electronic-experimental-folk-pop at it’s very best.”
They brought the house down – super energy on stage & once they had finished someone came around with copies of their EP for free which I thought was a nice touch.

Headliners for the night were Red Tape Riot who are on tour all the way from South Africa.
“a 5 piece indie band who produce music with a cutting contrast between heartfelt melodies and strong party grooves. Influenced by the Post-Punk sounds of the 80’s, modern Indie Rock, Brit Pop, Drum n’ Bass and Electro dance scenes, the result is a highly danceable and catchy sound.”
I’d never heard of them before booking the show the bar was full of fans singing along to their tracks, so they must have a decent fan base in the city. Their sound is epic rock similar to The Killers (catchy choruses and sing-a-long lyrics that everyone was loving).

Friday 28th July 2017
Alexis’s Birthday
WiFi in our hotel is not great so we went out early to make use of the internet at The Bluebird café and had a lazy morning there (FaceTime with family sending ‘happy birthday’ wishes for Alexis and soaking up the ambience at the hipster spot that was at one time a car garage.

With a relaxing day planned we wandered along to Sloane Square and caught the tube to Kew. Neither Alexis nor I had been to Kew Gardens, but we both love spending time at the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh so figured it would be a lovely way to spend the day; we weren’t wrong. From the treetop walk to the hot houses, Kew Gardens is full of amazing sights and sounds and it’s very easy to spend a whole day here without exhausting all the possibilities.
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Afterwards we had booked a meal at the famous Sagar restaurant in Hammersmith – a vegetarian South Indian specialist; Sagar’s menu features dosa (Indian pancakes), classic curries and some of the tastiest poori (deep-fried Indian bread) that we’d ever tried. With full stomachs we walked home along Hammersmith Road to our Earl’s Court hotel for the penultimate night of this stay in London.

COMING UP
29TH JULY BugBear Promotions presents JD Kelleher live at The Dublin Castle

 

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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 27th July 2013
First stop after breakfast was Tower Bridge (we even saw it going up to let a boat through) then a nice walk along the South Bank. Had lunch by the Thames near HMS Belfast, then onwards to see the sights in that area, including The Golden Hynd (Sir Frances Drake’s boat) and The Globe (Shakespeare’s theatre).

Lunch in London

Lunch in London


In the afternoon we visited the Tate Modern, which was great – loads of artists and photographers we didn’t know as well as many we did (H. Moore, M. Rothko, F. Bacon etc). We really enjoyed the experimental Italian and Dutch pieces as well as some cool photographs taken in Japan & America.
Alexis & Rothko

Alexis & Rothko


We headed back to Ealing for tea and ate at a superb Pakistani street food café near Walpole Park called ‘The Green Mango Café’. Great service and even better food! The café had been damaged during the riots in 2011 but seems to be back to full strength now.

Sunday 28th July 2013 – Alexis’s Birthday
Got up early-ish; gifts, playtime with the London kitty, face-time with parents then out for the day. We headed straight for Soho and did a spot of shopping around Carnaby Street and had coffees at a small café called ‘apostrophe’. We checked out our lunch options in the area and decided to try out the ‘Wild Food Café’ at Neal’s Yard off Regent Street. This has to be some of the most amazingly tasty (yet healthy) food we’ve had on tour so far.
http://www.wildfoodcafe.com/
After lunch we wandered along to Hyde Park – I really wanted to check out Speakers’ Corner… wasn’t quite what I expected but interesting none the less. Wandered round the park for ages checking out all the sights; 7/7 memorial, Isis statue, The Serpentine and finally the Prince Albert memorial – possibly the most shiny thing in London. It really is a beautiful monument and faces the Royal Albert Hall which is also a pretty amazing!

A&C at Hyde Park London

A&C at Hyde Park London


On the way back to Ealing we stopped for coffees by the Queensway tube at ‘Espana’ – really good spot for people watching as it’s right next door to the Hilton.
Arriving back in Ealing we discovered yet another area of Walpole Park which was hosting the Ealing Jazz Festival and funfair.
Final act of the day was to watch the final episode of The Returned on TV – loved it!

Next gig: Monday 29th July @ The Dublin Castle, Camden, London