Archive for the ‘Paris Plage’ Category

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)

Monday 31st December 2012

My first blog was published on June 3rd 2011 and was inspired by a trip to Liverpool Sound City @ the end of May that year. Since then I have posted on acts from various genres including; electronica, alt.rock, hip-hop and folk as well as the continuing adventures of Sacre Noir. Along the way I have discovered a multitude of artists from far and wide, who have each brought a little bit of brightness to my listening habits.
At the end of 2011 I started doing a ‘Best of…’ list but never quite got round to posting it, this year I’ve decided to bring you my top picks for Best live videos of 2012 and also the top releases that I have been involved in too.
I’ve also done a top 5 run down of my fave albums of the year for The Sound Project, which was very difficult as there have been so many great releases this year – check it out here:

So in no particular order my choices for the Best live videos of 2012 are…

Delilah – Love You So (live from KOKO, London)

One of my favourite vocalists of the moment, Delilah continues to shine & is growing her loyal following by delivering amazing performances in the studio and on the stage. Her gig at KOKO, London this year was followed by a host of great videos from the show, but this one is definitely my favourite.

Kimbra – Settle Down (live SXSW 2012 Spotify Sessions)

This performance of “Settle Down” was shot in the front yard of the Spotify House at SXSW back in March. I love this arrangement and think the simple use of sampling / looping is a very effective way of breaking down the track.

Mark Lanegan Band – 4AD Session

Not just one track, but a mini-set of four from the Blues Funeral LP which was released in Feb. There have been 15 great videos created for the 4AD Sessions in 2012 including ones from Blonde Redhead & St Vincent that I’d also recommend checking out. The Mark Lanegan Band one is featured here because of it’s stripped back simplicity. That and the fact that Mark has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. The band are fantastic and the songs are true to the gritty grunge and blues records that Lanegan has previously delivered.

Tori Amos – Leather (live @ De Kruitfabriek Sessies)

Tori Amos is one of my favourite artists & has been a massive influence in not just my listening habits but also my own music. I’ve always loved her brutally honest lyrics and how she manages to deliver these in such graceful performances. This version of Leather was recorded for the Belgian TV show in September, just before she took to the road to promote her latest release ‘Gold Dust’.

Matt Corby – Brother (Balcony TV Melbourne)

Balcony TV is taking over in the world of great live video sessions. Being broadcast from all across the globe, there are so many great videos from a huge range of acts. Matt Corby was the runner-up on the 2007 series of Australian Idol. Moved to London in 2009 and was signed to Communion (the Mumford & Sons singer’s label) and has been doing great ever since. I’ve only just discovered him, but if this one video is anything to go by then I’m sold.

Regina Spektor – How (captured in The Live Room)

Another fabulous vocal delivery, this time from a live session at Electric Lady Studios in New York, by the enigmatic Regina Spektor. The song “How” originally features on her 2012 album ‘What We Saw From The Cheap Seats’.

Gary Numan – Are Friends Electric? (AllSaints Basement Sessions)

I’ve always just thought that AllSaints was a high street fashion shop. However they claim “AllSaints collections mix Culture, Fashion & Music into a powerful formula of confident clothing that expresses individuality.” The store in Berlin held the very cool ‘Basement Sessions Special’ (essentially a live band & DJ party in the shop’s basement, complete with cocktail bar and freaky dancing) during Berlin Fashion Week this year. They’ve also recorded a host of Über-cool looking videos, and I love this version of “Are Friends Electric?”.

Keaton Henson – You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are (Attic Session)

This is a lovely version of my favourite Keaton Henson track. Understated and glorious for it.

Luke Haines: Gorgeous George (live session for Guardian Music)

I love Luke’s introduction – you get the feeling it went on for ages and the peeps who edited this video probably had to do a lot of cutting. “Gorgeous George” is a track from the latest LP ‘Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & early 80s’ which I had the pleasure to see him touring this year.

The Night – Strangers (live acoustic session)

Another act new to me in 2012, The Night released this acoustic version of their FREE D/L single “Strangers” for their YouTube fans. That’s all I really know – but I really like it.

And now for the Sacre Noir releases;.
No. 5
Artist: Madhat / Brinkworth / Riddlah
Track: Think Alot
Label: UVBeatz
Genre: Hip Hop
Check out this collaboration straight from the UVBeatz lab.

No. 4
Artist: Conscious Route
Album: The Real World LP
Label: You Sonix Records / True Hold Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Dark Places (featuring Sacre Noir)
First time collaboration for Sacre Noir & Conscious Route for this new LP released in August this year.

No. 3
Artist: Mark Deez
Album: The Oracle
Label: iLL-Legit Records
Genre: Hip-Hop
Ascension Remix (ft Sacre Noir, Prod. UVBeatz)
Released at the end of November, the new Mark Deez album features the ‘remix competition’ track. Riddlah reworked the beat & I provided a vocal hook – what a team!

No. 2
Artist: Savage Sound System
Album: Liars and Thieves Will Have It All
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Unclassifiable
Various appearances of the newest EP from Scotland’s most avant-garde Hip-hop / Noise / Pop collective.
Featuring vocals from Sacre Noir and D.Soul the Soulsamurai plus MC from The Riddlah, ShilohZen and Werd this release was recorded in Scotland, Canada and the USA.

No. 1
Artist: Sacre Noir
Album: Sinking Into Darkness
Label: Savage Recordings
Genre: Electronica
2nd full length LP – Scottish electronic and live band vibes!
Released in July the new LP has been well recieved & features the debute single “She Can’t Take It”. After the success of the Summer Tour 2012 with shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris & Berlin, Sacre Noir are looking forward to the New Year with a second single / video due pre-Spring, and lots more gigs both home & abroad in the pipeline.
Kepp up-to-date with all the news @

Tuesday 7th August 2012
Gig 5 in Paris – La Rotonde
It’s another beautiful day in Paris so we decide to head down to the Champs Elysees via Montmartre, Place de Clichy & Moulin Rouge (popped some postcards through the door @ La Machine du Moulin Rouge… just a little reminder who we are). Didn’t go shopping, I just love the Champs Elysees & Arc de Triumph. We ate lunch in the 17th at a very highly recommended Chez Ly. Alexis had Thai Spring Rolls & I went for the Veg Chop Suey with black mushrooms Hong Kong style, it was really excellent & also felt really healthy. Paris is so famous for it’s fabulous patisserie, that I sometimes forget that it also has other great eateries and I’ve done well to avoid temptation on this tour and will only have a big piece of cake on the last day as a treat.
We met up with Graham back at Belushi’s and headed along the canal to La Rotonde Stalingrad with Ben, Reggie and Johan to set up for the show tonight.

Alexis taking it easy pre-soundcheck at La Rotonde Stalingrad

Alexis taking it easy pre-soundcheck at La Rotonde Stalingrad

It’s such a stunning building inside, but tonight we’re playing out on the terrace to make the most of the evening’s sun. The manager makes us feel so welcome and the sound engineer is great too. He has a few problems getting the volume he wanted out of the first set of PA Speakers he tried, so after a few head scratching moments & testing of Alexis’s French skills, he decided to just get the other set up which came with a sub-woofer and we used one of the first PA speakers as a vocal monitor – amazing! We were meant to start at 6pm but didn’t get going till 7pm (no one seemed to mind at all – everything was so relaxed & people were out enjoying the weather and beautiful surroundings).

Sacre Noir live at La Rotonde Stalingrad (Photo by Graham McIntosh)

Sacre Noir live at La Rotonde Stalingrad (Photo by Graham McIntosh)

We played the album set then after a quick break some tracks from the first LP along with some covers and older tunes. After the show we got loads of mailing list sign ups and sold some more CDs, so all in all the La Rotonde gig was a big success! Both Graham & Robert (the manager; who stayed and watched the whole show) got some videos & pictures too. My favourite moment was the dancing kids during ‘Ou Est L’arret Pour Moi?’ Sophie (mum) & her daughters were dancing around having a ball, whilst the little boy in the family was transfixed by Alexis & the guitar… so cute.
Sacre Noir live at La Rotonde Stalingrad (Photo by Graham McIntosh)

Sacre Noir live at La Rotonde Stalingrad (Photo by Graham McIntosh)

After a few post gig drinks we headed inside to have some food at the restaurant. We know that the chef there is good as we’ve eaten his food on previous trips to Paris, but he really does have a magic touch when it comes to marrying flavours and getting the most out of ingredients.
Alexis & I both ate the same meal; Aubergine Caviar with goats cheese on warm bread & then cabillaud with a ragu style veg base and baby cherry tomatoes (this description does not do the food any justice) – everything was great!
We got back to the hostel pretty late, but that was our last full day in Paris (for now). I really love this city and we’ve had a great time as always, but tomorrow we have one more show at the Plage then we’re off to Berlin… the adventure continues.

Wednesday 8th August 2012
Gig 6 in Paris – Paris Plage with Graham
Last day in Paris and it’s a scorcher! We pack up & check out, get the videos & pictures from Graham’s iPhone then it’s time to hit the park via the lovely patisserie on the corner of Rue du Crimee for some afternoon cake. We spent most of the afternoon at parc des Buttes Chaumont (which is just 10 minutes from Belushi’s in the opposite direction to the Villette Park.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont de Paris

Parc des Buttes Chaumont de Paris

We headed back to the Plage for about 3 o’clock and hung out there, played a couple of 30 minute acoustic sets, Graham played a few tunes (to the delight of old ladies and young babies alike) and then Antonio turned up for another show too. We convinced him to play ‘Purple Rain’ again as we ate our final meal in Paris of this trip and basked in the early evening sun.

Graham's youngest fan at Paris Plage (Belushi's)

Graham’s youngest fan at Paris Plage (Belushi’s)

After that all we had left to do was gather up our bags & instruments and head to Gare de l’Est for the sleeper train to Berlin.
A massive thanks you to Graham McIntosh for sorting everything out for us in Paris this summer, it was a blast & can’t wait to catch up with him back in Scotland!

Thursday 2nd August 2012
Here we go!
Arrived in Paris late in the afternoon, checked into Belushi’s then headed out for tea in the 19th. . . after checking that the guitar had made it to Paris in 1 piece – it had!


Alexis with Phil’s guitar & the Belushi’s Paris acoustic – Ibanez sponsorship coming soon?!?

Found a great little pizza place called A mi-ami… it smelled so good we couldn’t resist and we weren’t disappointed! Pizza was great, beer was also very good (Israeli beer called Macabees – like the football team) and the owner was lovely. We got chatting to him about music & the tour and turns out he’s really into hip-hop & electronica too. So we arranged to meet up again whilst we’re in town to swap CDs and musical tips.

Friday 3rd August 2012
Gig 1 in Paris – Paris Plage with Charlie
First proper day in Paris so we caught up with Graham at breakfast and arranged to play at the Plage that evening, so decided to head out for the day. Made it to Sacre Coeur and then had lunch in a nice wee park before heading back to the Plage. We’d arranged to meet up with Charlie Rae and convinced her to play a few songs too. Was so great to see a familiar face in Paris and great to hear her performing again (it’s been a year and she’s still awesome).

Charlie @ The Plage (Belushi's / Skippy's Bar)

Charlie @ The Plage (Belushi’s / Skippy’s Bar)

Spent the night hanging out at the Plage with the cool staff from Belushi’s – a bit of a different crowd this year but Ben had just arrived back from the States and his wee brother ‘Blakie’ was there this year too. Dave (the amazing chef) had moved up to the new venue at the other end of the canal (La Rotonde) and Marti was still there, but the new guys were great! Johan (Swedish political scientist) and Reinold (Dutch hospitality intern). Plus it was Emily’s last night in Paris so we got to see her for a bit too. Really love those guys – feels like a home from home.