Archive for the ‘Drinking with fans’ Category

Thursday 21st August – Box, Glasgow
We’ve not played a show at Box for ages and were looking forward to a gig in Glasgow where we’d be able to turn up the volume. The show kicked off at 7.30pm with the fantastically talented guitar vocal styling’s of local lass Charly Houston. Charly delivered a set of lovely original material spanning a variety of genres from indie pop to modern Scottish folk and charmed the crowd with her musings on the song-writing process and general banter. Charly plays in and around Glasgow regularly, and often she plays FREE shows so no excuse to not check her out, but in the meantime you can listen to her current single ‘Blue Eyes’ on SoundCloud.

Charly Houston @ Box Glasgow

Charly Houston @ Box Glasgow


Michelle Blades were running late (on a bus to Glasgow from Birmingham) so Sacre Noir played next. It was nice to back in Glasgow and the sound engineer, Scott, did a great job with our live mix. The tour has gone flown by this year and it was hard for us to think of this as the second last show. We’ve had a an amazing time and met some great people this year, played with some fantastic musicians and made some really good new friends.
AlexisSs & the lovely Josephine Sillars

AlexisSs & the lovely Josephine Sillars


Next up were two off those new friends in the form of Michelle Blades. Both the name of the act and front-woman, this Paris based act. Michelle’s vocal delivery is influenced by jazz and pop melodies and the music has an undertone of a band that loves New York Punk. Michelle has been joined on this UK & European tour by her bass player Victor (who also provides some backing vocals) and will be joining us again for a show in Edinburgh tomorrow. Their BandCamp page is full of material recorded bathrooms and bedrooms in various locations.
http://michellekblades.bandcamp.com/
Michelle Blades @ Box Glasgow

Michelle Blades @ Box Glasgow


Next up was the Eyemouth based rock outfit We Were Kings. The had a pretty straight forward ‘anthemic rock’ sound and some very memorable tracks; my favourite on the night was Comedown Queen, which I can’t find a studio recording of online, so here is a live version recorded in Edinburgh earlier this year.

We Were Kings @ Box Glasgow

We Were Kings @ Box Glasgow


Full of energy and ambition, I’m sure we’ll all be hearing more these guys again in the not so distant future, but in the meantime you can check out some of their other tracks on SoundCloud.
Finally, headlining the night was Cousin Kenny. Scottish indie rock ‘n’ roll (minus their bass player), they played a fairly short set of original material almost shoegazey in style. We managed to see most of their set before heading off to catch the train home.
Cousin Kenny @ Box Glasgow

Cousin Kenny @ Box Glasgow


http://www.reverbnation.com/cousinkenny

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)

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 26th July @ Au Chat Noir, Paris
Feeling very tired after yesterday’s excitement, we got up late and after a coffee at the bar downstairs went into town for lunch at a curry house near Gare Du Nord, which was just what the doctor ordered. Well fed and feeling a little more human it was time to head back to the apartment and get our selves together for tonight’s show.

graffiti at GDN

graffiti at GDN


We arrived at Au Chat Noir and set up our equipment early as we are doing everything ourselves this evening (door, sound, promotion etc) and we were very pleased when the guys from AsOne arrived to help with the balance. It’s always difficult to be the musician and sound engineer at the same time but because we’d played together last night both bands could help each other (and the bass player from AsOne is a sound engineer for TV & Film so this was a great advantage). Our support act for this evening is a local musician who goes by the moniker of Popper Must (Be). A friend of a friend, he has kindly agreed to join us for this show after we had to cancel our original choice a few weeks ago. His music is new to me but having listened online, Alexis & I were both very impressed with his alt.folk style. He played a set of original material with a cover of “Nights in White Satin” which was amazing! His performance was rich in dynamic range and his lyrics are full of emotion and honesty. He is the kind of artist that makes you pay attention and he really draws you in to his performance.
Popper Must (Be)

Popper Must (Be)


Next up was AsOne, and after our show together last night we were really looking forward to seeing them again. We were not disappointed. Just like the previous night they played a full on set of trip-hop sounds and once again we were blown away! Unlike last night (when I was a little nervous) I was able to really enjoy their set and from the back of the room, beside the cash desk, I danced away to the whole set and tried to pick up some vocal jazz tips from their fantastic vocalist, Chloe.
The crowds gather from AsOne

The crowds gather from AsOne


Then it was our turn to take to the stage for our final show in Paris for this tour. With a mixture of excitement and sadness we played a heavier set than in AbracadaBar and again everyone seemed to really enjoy our show.
Sacre Noir @ Au Chat Noir - photo by Chacal Fréville

Sacre Noir @ Au Chat Noir – photo by Chacal Fréville


We are really keen to work with AsOne again & outside the bar after the gig we talked about future collaborations, remixes and tours together. We have had a fantastic time in Paris, playing in some great venues and making great new friends as well as getting to catch up with old ones. Now it is time for a few days off in this beautiful city before our next show in London, which we are really excited about.
dressmaker presents: Sacre Noir (Dark Female Lo-Fi from Scotland), Introverts, Tinderdust, Grand Bassam

dressmaker presents: Sacre Noir (Dark Female Lo-Fi from Scotland), Introverts, Tinderdust, Grand Bassam

Friday 25th July @ Abracadabar, Paris
In the morning we went to the Pantheon to check out the JR exhibition (having read about it in the Eurostar magazine) and then went for lunch at the Institute De Monde Arabe, which is in the same area of town. The view from the rooftop of the Institute is amazing!

Rooftop view of Paris

Rooftop view of Paris


Feeling excited about the show tonight, we went back to the apartment to collect the instruments and then made our way to AbracadaBar. We met AsOne outside and instantly knew we were all going to get on well. They are a 6-piece band (2 guitar, bass, drums, keys & vocals) and arrived with a van full of equipment. We decided they would play 1st as the other act that was meant to be supporting us this evening pulled out at the last minute (the guitarist is in Greece apparently). Like many venues in Paris, AbracadaBar has a limiter so I was a little worried that this space might be a little too small for them, but the sound engineer was great & everyone sounded amazing! I really love their ‘trip-hop’ sound! They have a classic, dirty sounding stomp (helped by the synths / keys), an amazing bass player, a drummer that used to be a Drum ‘n’ Bass DJ and a vocalist who oozes Jazz. Both guitarists played between lead & rhythm and there was even a bit of instrument swapping going on. To top it all off they have a friend (Robert) who records all the spoken word sample parts for them, which are so good I thought they were film samples when listening online.
AsOne at AbracadaBar

AsOne at AbracadaBar


There set was great! Each member of the band is strong & confident within their role and together the chemistry is obvious. I’m so glad we discovered them and hopefully we’ll be able to arrange some shows together in the UK soon.
We received a great response from the audience and again were signing CDs at the end of the night. Amongst the crowd we met a fellow Scot (who was on holiday from Kuala Lumpur) with a bunch of his friends and a few locals who all seemed keen to see us playing again. Perhaps Kuala Lumpur is a little far for us to go, but we’ll definitely be back in Paris again soon.
We stayed for a few hours after the concert chatting with AsOne & our new friends / fans as the Metro runs til 2am, so no need to rush off. Along with all the compliments we received, I also managed to attract a red rose & a hat by the end of the evening and only had one minor (major) drama RE: a lost iPod which turned out to just be a ‘Carrie’ moment and we went home feeling very pleased with ourselves.
gifts from fans

gifts from fans


NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 7 Saturday 26th July @ Au Chat Noir (Paris)

Thursday 24th July @ La Dame de Canton, Paris

In the morning we went to The Château de Vincennes, which is a massive 14th/17th century castle about 20 minutes walk from our apartment. Inside the Château de Vincennes are the relics of the Crown of Thorns, but the weather was too nice for us to go indoors, so instead we went to the Parc floral de Paris, which is on the outskirts of the bois de Vincennes (part of the ancient forest).

Alexis & Carrie - Parc floral de Paris

Alexis & Carrie – Parc floral de Paris

In the afternoon we had lunch in the apartment before going to GDN to collect Alexis’s large drum bag from Euro Despatch and then headed along to the venue for tonight’s show.

Arriving at the venue a little before 6pm, we met up with Pierre (our sound engineer) and set up our equipment on the boat. It was a little strange to begin with, the motion was unusual, but we’re not at sea so it’s not so bad.

AlexisSs - Sound Check @ La Dame de Canton

AlexisSs – Sound Check @ La Dame de Canton

For this concert we have been asked to perform two 45-minute sets, starting at 9pm, so after sound-check we had something to eat and then a nice walk along the seine before show time. We had a great night and the sound on stage was excellent. Afterwards we met a lovely couple, who were incredibly positive about our music and even got us to sign their CDs. La Dame de Canton is a very cool venue; we got to watch the sun set over the Seine as we played – that’s pretty special!

Homeward bound and our minds wander to the next two shows we have in Paris – playing with our new favourite band, AsOne. Tomorrow evening the show is at AbracadaBar (a concert venue in the 19th Arr. – an area of Paris we know very well) and then on Saturday evening we will be in one of Paris’s best know music areas, with a show at Au Chat Noir.

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 6 Friday 26th July @ Abracadabar (Paris)

Thursday 17th July @ Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh
We’ve all be really excited about this show for a few months now. Alexis and I played a show with Dressmaker last summer at The Dublin Castle in Camden and we were both utterly blown away by them. It just happened that this gig was their very first and as you can see from my blog after that gig, I was sure they’d be a force to be reckoned with.
BLOG POST 054 – Summer Tour 2013

I hate to say “I told you so” but … One year later they have mastered their live show (less crazy but somehow more chaotic), they have a fantastic EP under their belt (Glass) and every blogger in London seems to be cooing over their very being (Vice are big fans). This month they have taken to the road with the Terminal Gods for a bunch of UK shows and after a successful show in Glasgow’s fantastic 13th Note last night, Dressmaker are now in Edinburgh.

We (Alexis) booked Bannerman’s as the venue for a number of reasons; location, value for money, quality of sound engineer and perhaps the point that clinched the deal, they have recently re-decorated the band flat and with 8 touring musicians to house, this seemed like an amazing opportunity to offer them all a decent space to stay.

Bannerman's Bar, Edinburgh

Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh

Load-in and sound check was between 5pm and 7pm and by 8pm the first act of the evening took to the stage.
The Omega Corridor, one of our favourite Edinburgh bands, had agreed to open the show for us, playing a mixture of tracks from their new EP ‘Local Anaesthetic’ and their up-coming album.
I really love Andrew’s guitar sound, always epic but somehow understated at the same time. Stephen’s lyrics are dark and self-deprecating and with the addition of Euan (2nd guitar) and Frazer (drums) their sound continues to grow. I always feel that their brand of post-rock deserves more attention and urge you all to go check out their music on SoundCloud.

The Omega Corridor - live at Bannerman's Bar, Edinburgh

The Omega Corridor – live at Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh

Sacre Noir were up next and after having had such a problem-free sound check we were really looking forward to playing. The make-up artist who we’ve been working with for the Sacre Noir music videos had come along, and not only is she a dab-hand with a brush and some fake lashes, but she has done a great job at promoting us to her friends and has even brought some with her to the gig. Erin Culley make-up artist and promoter extraordinaire… we love you!
The bass sounds fired out of the sub-woofers with the most impressive low-end growl I’ve heard for a long time. The crowd danced, the drinks flowed and everyone seemed to have a good time – job done!

Live picture by Gabby Stone Photography

Live picture by Gabby Stone Photography

Next up was the mighty Dressmaker who delivered a blistering set and made a whole bunch of new fans. Their stage show is frantic and new drummer Ben (the Frenchman who played topless in a kilt) is so good, he’d give Thor Harris a headache. Dressmaker have a definite Swans influence but they play with no specific agenda and everything they produce seems to sound original. They played an arrangement of the classic Ronettes track ‘Be My Baby’ which was really cool – nothing like the original however Charles vocals sounded amazing and during the verse sections the audience were given a rare moment of less intense noise. I really love this band and can’t wait to play with them again (perhaps at our show in London at Power Launches on August 1st). A special mention goes out to the Dressmaker fan, who is making the effort to see them at every show they play during this tour. Music fans like this are a very rare breed indeed and every musician I know is thankful to every one of you who take it upon yourself to support the artists you love. THANK YOU!

Dressmaker - live at Bannerman's Bar, Edinburgh

Dressmaker – live at Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh

The final act of the evening was the fantastic Terminal Gods: 4 young lads with fantastic poses and a kick ass sampler. They are a solid rock ‘n’ roll band based in London, who played a mixture of original tracks and some well chosen covers and had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. The strange sight of Edinburgh folk at a gig enjoying themselves reminded me that when you have the right combination of venue, people and music, a little bit of magic happens.

Terminal Gods - live at Bannerman's Bar, Edinburgh

Terminal Gods – live at Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh

Thanks so much the Terminal Gods, Dressmaker and The Omega Corridor for sharing this night with us.
Also thanks to Christian at Bannerman’s for having us, Hev for the great job at the sound desk and to Gabby Stone Photography for the pictures.

NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 4 Sunday 20th July @ The Duke’s Head, Putney (London)
Special guitar / vocal set featuring a selection of originals & covers.