Monday 7th August 2017
We started the day with coffee at Culture Rapide and then made our way to Saint-Cloud for a day away from the cities busy streets.
We got the metro to La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle, an area we’ve visited a couple of time in the past (the Albert Khan Gardens and Parc André Citroën are close by) and walked across the Seine to the small suburb of Saint-Cloud. With Le Château & a vast parkland (classified as a Historic Monument and includes Marie Antoinette’s rose garden) this small area to the west of Paris is a hidden gem.
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Saint-Cloud offers a lovely view over Paris as it sits above the Seine and with everyone settling into ‘holiday mode’ the town centre seemed very sleepy and relaxed.
We had a lovely day in the sunshine and enjoyed seeing a different area of Paris.

In the evening we ate at le mezze du chef on Rue Ménilmontoant; a bijou but busy veggie bistro with a few set menu offers and a great range of authentic Turkish treats.

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NEXT UP: 8th August (Follow That Muse) & 9th August (Open Secret)
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Thursday 3rd August 2017: Featured artist at Paris Lit Up

Sacre Noir live at Paris Lit Up Open Mic / Culture Rapide

We had a wonderful time at PLU; playing at the historic home of French Slam poetry, Culture Rapide, drinking with friends and making new fans – this is what touring is all about.
Paris Lit Up is a non-profit community organisation that aims to intensify collaborative artistic practices through community events, performance and publication. Our principle objective is to stimulate creativity through the cultivation of common spaces such as local platforms connected through transnational networks for artists living in and passing through the City of Light.
With emphasis on transnational writers, artists and musicians, Paris Lit Up promotes the importance of artistic synergy through transparent, democratic, consensus-based decision making. Artistic autonomy, group collaboration and open sharing are the foundation of our operative ethos.
Through our ethical transparency and democratic modus operandi, Paris Lit Up strives to foster a horizontally-minded community inspired by the desire for social cooperation and cultural diversity. In recognizing the social origin and function of the arts, we hope to encourage broad participation and facilitate personal and collective growth through grassroots artistic activism.” – http://www.parislitup.com

Friday 4th August 2017: A day in the Marais
Saturday 5th August 2017: A meal with friends
One of the lovelist things about being away from home is catching up with friends that live in these wonderful cities we visit & when we don’t get to see each other often it’s lovely to make time, so that is just what we did.
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A wonderful day wandering through the city was followed by a lovely evening with friends and a home cooked meal; Que peux tu demander de plus?

Sunday 6th August 2017: To Play Or Not To Play
We started the day with news that our show tonight may have to be moved or cancelled (ah Paris you are a wonder) so headed out to meet friends at one of our favourite spots for brunch in the city, Cafe Martin, which sits beside Pere Lachaise and is always a little slice of peaceful Paris.
After a few hours of sunshine and catching up with friends we headed back to our appartment to discover that despite the promoters best efforts, everyone in Paris is on ‘vacances’ and we would be best to cancel the show and have a night off.
Great!
I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get used to the laissez faire attitudes of the French. Everything is relaxed and that’s just what we need sometimes.
We had a lovely evening at the Plages with friends chatting about food and politics and the cute animals in our lives – Très Bien!
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COMING UP
8th AUGUST Follow That Muse @ Le Cave Cafe
9th AUGUST Open Secret @ Le Bistrot des Artistes

Sunday 30th July 2017: Travelling to Paris
Leaving a great city like London is always difficult, but when we’re travelling onwards to Paris the sadness is lighter than when we have to go home to work and the daily grind of ‘real life’.
We gathered our things and made our way to Cafe du Coin for coffee, then Ed’s Diner at Euston for something to eat before arriving at St Pancras to catch the 15:31 Eurostar to Paris where we’ll be based for the next 2 weeks. It’s always a delight to be in our favourite city and having a nice apartment in Belleville waiting for us makes the travelling worthwhile.
Belleville is the neighborhood that once provided “wine and weekend escapes to Parisians before Paris expanded it’s northern boundaries in the 1860s. Famous singers like Edith Piaf, and artist used to live in Belleville. Today, it is home to foreigners, expats, artists, and professionals alike.”
Arriving in Paris at 7:30pm (local time) we dropped off our luggage and headed straight out for an early evening walk; watched the sunset behind the tour Eiffel from the local resteraunt and then it was time for bed.
Tomorrow is a new day, our first in Paris this year and we fully intend to make the most of our time here.

Monday 31st July 2017: Spoken Word Paris
Nupur Saraswat and Kate Black-Regan were the special guests at the final Spoken Word Paris before the summer holidays and with a suggested theme of ‘Sisters/Brothers’ the whole evening was filled with intense and emotional readings, poetry and drama.
SpokenWord is an open mic night and writers’ community founded in 2006 by David Barnes and is held at one of our favourite cafe/bars in the city, Au Chat Noir.
The wonderful Antonia Alexandra Klimenko, with whom we collaborated last year, is their writer in residence & in charge of guest poets and our introduction to many of Paris’s other fine artists, namely David Leo Sirois the host of Open Secret, Follow That Muse and many other fantastic regular events in the city. David has been kind enough to arrange some shows for us this year at La Cave Café and Les Bistrot des Artistes and we’re so thankful to have been welcomed into their community with warm open arms.
My favourite act of the evening was Bruce Sherfield (who also plays in the band The Sophia Lorenians) with his dramatic delivery and commitment to every word, he really is one to watch out for.

Tuesday 1st August 2017: Surprise acoustic show at La Cave Cafe
with Hex System, Moe Seager, Ciarri Winter and more
We arranged to play a little secret show as part of Follow that Muse alongside featured act Hex System and many other local artists including the inimitable Moe Seager. A native of East Liberty, Pittsburgh, Moe Seager now lives in Paris where he publishes poetry and records / performs with his band the Blue Note Metaphor Ensemble. By Moe’s side was experienced singer/songwriter, performer and Cocktail pianist Ciarri Winter. A fellow Scot with an amazing voice and some serious piano skills, we were in good company for the evening.
This basement bar is super-cool and we’re really looking forward to our own show there next week.

Wednesday 2nd August 2017: Day off in Paris
A rare day off in Paris, we walked by the Seine, drank coffee in many of the sidewalk cafe and made a special stop at Pierre Hermé’s original boutique on rue Bonaparte for some of the world’s finest PÂTISSERIES, MACARONS & CHOCOLATS. The service is exceptional, the flavours are magical and everything you’ve heard about this rock and roll “Picasso of Pastry” is probably true.
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“Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making tradition, Pierre Hermé began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice to Gaston Lenôtre.”READ MORE HERE

COMING UP
Thursday 3rd August 2017: Sacre Noir live at Paris Lit Up Open Mic / Culture Rapide

 

Saturday 29th July 2017: Gig 4: The Dublin Castle, London
with JD Kelleher | Head of Light Entertainment | The Lunar Effect

A new day in London dawns and we headed to Café du Coin on Earl’s Court Road for coffees and breakfast.
We journeyed over to Camden for lunch, stopping at the fantastic Mildred’s on Jamestown Road. Superb menu full of various cuisines, all veggie / vegan and with super quick service. We then headed over to Kentish Town to meet our good friends Bob and Lisa Duncan who were coming up from Hemel Hempstead specially to see the show tonight. We met with Bob and Lisa at The Abbey Tavern where we had played in 2016 – a great bar with lots of different rooms and areas outside.

Some things are meant to be…
Exactly 4 years ago we played at The Dublin Castle for the first time; tonight we return to support the fantastic JD Kelleher (who shares his birthday with Alexis)… this final tour is full of synchronicity!

“The Dublin Castle is a legendary pub and music venue located 2 minutes away from Camden Town tube station. It has been ran by the same family for over 28 years and features 4 live bands every night as well as a great selection of beers, ciders and wines.
But what is it that makes the Dublin Castle the long-standing centre of the indie rock universe?
Is it because it’s Madness’ birthplace? Because its stage has been graced by everyone from Blur, through Coldplay, Supergrass, The Killers, The Arctic Monkeys, Billy Bragg, etc? Is it because it was no surprise to see Amy Winehouse behind the bar serving costumers? Or Suggs? (who, mind you, tended to ignore costumers and serve himself)
Or is it because far from being just another Camden venue it has established itself as an indie rock institution?”

For us The Dublin Castle is an amazing ‘fair play’ venue with friendly locals, uber-cool staff and one of the best sound engineers in the city. We owe a huge ‘thank you’ to Tony at BugBear for supporting us and stepping in to help when one of our other London dates was cancelled due to the venue losing it’s licence (noise complaints from neighbours – boo).

Back in 2013 we played a great show at The Dublin Castle alongside the mighty dressmaker and The Oceans Above and on arrival we were pleased to see that little had changed in this classic venue. Bugbear promotions always put together a great line-up and so we were pleased to kick things off with our set mixing acoustic numbers with tracks featuring bass and beat loops from the KP3+. Once again it was great to have good friends in the audience to cheer us on and the rest of the viewing public enjoyed our sounds too.

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Second on the bill were The Lunar Effect who drew inspiration from the 70s sounds of Led Zeppelin and the 13th Floor Elevators – excellent vibes and kudos to their singer for wearing a leather jacket throughout on what is one of the hottest stages in London.

Next up were Head of Light Entertainment – a quirky group featuring male and female vocals plus guitar, keys, bass and electronic drums. They had come down from Teesside for this show and demonstrated their individual sound extremely well.

Headliners for the evening were JD Kelleher and band – an amazing frontman and vocalist, JD has put together a great band around him and has some great original numbers. His cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart was his first release, and went down a storm within the set.
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Homeward bound and loving life!
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COMING UP
3rd AUGUST Sacre Noir live at Paris Lit Up Open Mic / Culture Rapide
6th AUGUST Unite & Take Over @ Le Bistrot des Artistes
8th AUGUST Follow That Muse @ Le Cave Cafe
9th AUGUST Open Secret @ Le Bistrot des Artistes

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

 

Tuesday 25th July 2017
London part 1 (cont.)

As with our last stay in London, we have haulled up in Earls Court for our first stint in London this year. We loved the area last year and with so may great spots on the door step we knew this was the perfect area for us to come back to.
The hotel we’re in this year is a stones throw from The Troubadour (great venue we played in last year), Brompton Cemetery (final resting place of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst) and one of my favourite sweet spots in the city Brownie Box (I can’t say enough good things about their red velvet blondie); so that was our first stop on Tuesday morning. We had coffee and soaked up the sugary sweet smells permiating the tiny cafe and made plans for the day.
We headed into Shoreditch for a wander round Spittalfields Market and spent ages chatting to the artists and vendours about their wears. One trader had amazing tile coasters; some inspired by lovingly restored Parisian sheet music cover pages and others in a PopArt style. Another told us all about his t-shirts; Warhol prints with secret messages / Hunter S. Thompson quotes inside Fear & Loathing screen shots – it was all beautiful and really not that expensive. We ate curry on Brick Lane cause that’s what we always do – it’s always wonderful and with so much choice we are happy to just see where the smells take us.
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After lunch we popped over to Camden for a spot of shopping and again spent a while talking to the stall holders and archway vendors about thier art. This is one of the many reasons we both adore this city; people are friendly, creative and genuinelly original in their outlook on life, the universe and everything.

A quite evening was spent catching up with emails and tour promotion before an episode of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
(The novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology)

Wednesday 26th July 2017
Woke up to our new video’s premiere on GigSlutz going live alongside a  wonderful review of the track and video.

“Inspired by a desire to drive forward their visual work, ‘Rebels and Loners’ is delicate in all its elements. With lyrics stemming from stories of people affected by Alzheimers, and the inevitable pain, suffering and confusion that goes with such stories, ‘Rebels and Loners’ is handled with true grace. Visual metaphors accompanying the track’s heart-wrenching vocals, ‘Rebels and Loners’ is a track that sees Sacre Noir push themselves – and achieve incredible results.” – Melissa Svensen
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It was a rainly day so we went as far as Fulham (bumped into some Edinburgers & had a quick blether about how we must have brought the weather with us, music and  more), stumbled upon a wonderful coffee shop (Gianlucas Coffee Cult) and stoped their for some shelter and a spot of people watching to go alongside our wonderful rich coffees and superb sandwiches. War of the Planet of the Apes was showing at the nearby cinema, so we figured that would be a nuce way to spend a lazy day… we weren’t wrong. Film was great on the big screen; humanity and explosions with a Gollum-esque ape character bringing a little light humour when needed. I’m a sucker for a big budget Hollywood movie with tears and big landscapes. If you liked the other two movies in this series go see the third – it won’t disappoint.

In the evening we wandered along to our favouried vegan resaurant 222 on the North End Road…

COMING UP
27TH JULY NXI presents Red Tape Riot live at The New Cross Inn
29TH JULY BugBear Promotions presents JD Kelleher live at The Dublin Castle

Sacre Noir Rebels & Loners Tour Summer Tour 2017
Saturday 22nd July 2017
Rebels & Loners launch Party, Bannerman’s Bar, Edinburgh
+ Very special guests CaveYear & Heart of Orion
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Back in May 2017 we filmed what is set to be the final official Sacre Noir music video for Rebels & Loners (taken from the LP Nothing Falls Apart: Savage Recordings 2016) over a couple of weekends in Dunfermline & Edinburgh.
On Saturday night we held a party at Bannerman’s Bar in Edinburgh to celebrate our final release.

First up on the evening was local electronica act CaveYear. Clinical delivery of clean sounds his set is often ethereal sounding and incredibly ‘cool’. I last saw Arno live last year at our last launch night (A Rhythm Between Work & Sleep @ The Safari Lounge) and his set has developed more of an avant-pop edge, moving away from the shoegaze sounds and indie stylings.
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To be kept up-to-date and receive a FREE track you can sign up to the CaveYear mailing list here.

Next up was American electro-pop duo Heart of Orion. European synth sounds and crispy disco style beats backed up Danielle’s powerful vocal delivery and poignant lyrics. They are only in the UK for a few shows and I was so glad that we were able to have them support us in Edinburgh.
They are playing at The Fiddler’s Elbow on July 31st so if you’re in London looking for a fun Monday night gig – check them out!
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After that we played all 6 videos finishing up with the launch of Rebels and Loners, before our headline set for the evening.
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It was an emotional night; many tears, lots of hugs and memories and a fair amount of booze and much dancing / singing was the order of the evening.
Bringing the talents of stylist Erin Culley into the team for one last shoot, we also recruited models / actresses Lyndsey B (who has featured in each of our 6 official video releases) and Emma T (who allowed us to feature her beautiful daughter in this video too) as well as young actress Aimie M (whose mum Lorraine was our assistant stylist for this shoot) and the wonderfully talented dancer Lisa Richie.
We also worked with a fantastic young dance troupe who are based at The Alhambra Stage And Dance School and their choreographer Lauren Brown.

Musically delicate with lyrics that focus on dealing with personal difficulties; loss, depression and anxiety, this minimalist slice of down-tempo electronica is a fitting goodbye from Sacre Noir. There is a background focus within the lyrics which looks at the fear of memory loss and the difficulties of thinking, problem-solving or communication that come with Alzheimer’s disease.

Inspired by stories from those directly affected by these issues, the accompanying video leans on visual metaphors to ask, “what if there are no more goodbyes”? We were keen to drive forward our final visual work using ideas of unconsciousness and dream interpretations as is common with David Lynch’s work. The dark and mysterious films we create communicate draw upon these concepts with a modern clinical approach to discussing psychological issues, especially those around psychosis.  As Alzheimer’s progresses, problems with memory loss, communication, reasoning and orientation become more severe. Some people start to believe things that are untrue (delusions) and can see or hear things which are not actually there (hallucinations), similar to those who suffer with schizophrenia and psychosis.

People are like balloons – sometimes they pop.
Balloons pop because the air on the inside is at a higher pressure than the air on the outside; it’s skin is pulling inwards like and elastic tension.
I think sometimes we can all feel like were about to burst – the world around us brings stress and fear and uncertainty to all and the pressure can often feel like it’s too much.
In many circles balloons symbolize letting go of your worries & fears; the balloon is a focused mental state. White balloons can indicate a time of spiritual enlightenment while the black balloon is a suggestion that through hardship and depression will come a better resolution.

With the recent suicidal deaths from within our industry (Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington) there is an increased call for all areas to increase awareness surrounding mental health issues and a hope that those who feel they have nowhere else to turn will find very clear signs pointing to those who are able to offer support & comfort, if nothing else.
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Sunday 23rd July 2017
Brunch @ Art and Vintage, Edinburgh
Last full day in Edinburgh before heading off on tour was spent as always finishing off the merchandise preparation and tour promotion, however we did find time to pop into our favourite brunch spot in Edinburgh for a coffee and a little quiet time to gather our thoughts (and finalise the kitty-sitting rota for summer).
Welcomed by the patrons Paul and Toni (who are good friends) we settled into the comfy seats with coffees in hand and remembered to breathe; filled in some bullet journal boxes, avoided buying any of the art (a new exhibition has just started and it included some interesting pieces) and started to reflect on the previous evening’s show / look forward to tomorrow’s journey south.

Monday 24th July 2017
London part 1
This time last year we were arriving back in Edinburgh having just finished our 2016 tour – a year later we’ve only just begun.
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We were pleased to have arranged an afternoon departing train to London this year as usually we end up getting cheap tickets which involves the early trains / planes but today we had loads of time to get ready and spend some extra time with the kitty before heading off for 3 weeks of gigs and promotional activities.

As our set-up is vastly reduced this year (acoustic guitar, KP3+ and VE-20 loop pedal plus mics only this year) we seem to be travelling light and getting around London feels much easier than previous years.

We had no problems with transport at all – Waverley to Euston, then across the city to our hotel in Earl’s Court (an area we fell in love with last year) before heading out for something to eat and an early night, ready to take London by storm the next day.

We decided on Franco Manca for our first meal in London this year; organic pizza and fancy juices… just what the travel doctor ordered.

COMING UP
27TH JULY NXI presents Red Tape Riot live at The New Cross Inn
29TH JULY BugBear Promotions presents JD Kelleher live at The Dublin Castle