Posts Tagged ‘her volatile condition’

Friday 29th July 2016
Gig 8: The Monarch Bar, Dunfermline with Acoustic Live

After a lovely relaxing day to celebrate Alexis’s birthday, we woke up early with a spring in our step. It felt just like being on tour with a few delightful exceptions; getting up in our own house, in our own bed & with our own shower and washing machine etc. – living out of a bag for even just 3 weeks makes us realise how readily we take for granted the luxuries of modern living and how lucky we are.

Tonight we have a Sacre Noir first and must say ‘thanks’ to the good folks at Acoustic Live for inviting us to play their monthly event in Dunfermline! We don’t often do acoustic gigs as it doesn’t really reflect ‘Sacre Noir’ or our ‘lo-fi electro’ aspirations, but the organisers of this event are great so we decided to take them up on the offer and arrange some of the songs for a simple guitar / vocal set for our first ever performance in Dunfermline.
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Cob & Fiona who run Acoustic Live, have certainly got an ear for talent. First up was Micha Sutherland, a local lass who they discovered at one of the other event nights that they run in Dunfermline and invited her along to perform at this showcase event. Micha, sang a couple of covers (Emilie Sande & Adele) and a couple of her own numbers (one upbeat & one ballad), she has a cracking voice and I think would go down really well in the nightclubs in Edinburgh.
Next up was the mighty talents of Sophie De Rose; at only 15 years old she has her own country-pop style sounds going on and is definitely one to watch out for in the future. She confidently sang and played (guitar) her way through a set of covers that really suited her voice and told you that this young lady had taste beyond her years.
Sacre Noir played next; our debut Dunfermline performance was supported by the local crowd and quite a few members of ASIF (a choir I run in Dunfermline). We owe you all a big ‘thanks’ – the support really was superb and one of the talented choirettes also took some fantastic pics… thanks Sara T.
IMG_7169The tracks seemed to go down well, in a trippy / shoegaze type way and it was a great excuse for us to play a country cover, my favourite track by Patty Griffin ‘You Never Get What You Want’.

The final act of the evening was 3 piece covers band Half Built House.
Playing classics by REM and White Stripes the crowd loved them and it was the perfect way to finish off the event, with people singing along and dancing at their tables.
I can’t recommend these nights highly enough­; a great selection of talent, promoters that really care about live music and a nice wee function room in a local bar.

Saturday 30th July 2016
In preparation for the new LP release Alexis completed the redesign of the savage recordings website & updated the BandCamp page with back catalogue.
It really does take many-a-man-hour to keep that side of stuff running smoothly and Alexis is the man that makes it all happen for Sacre Noir (not just a pretty face and talented drummer, songwriter and producer).

Sunday 31st July 2016
Today is the last Sunday before the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 kicks off.
Went out for coffee at or favourite café, Art & Vintage trying to make the most of having weekends off during the summer holidays.
The circus is in town.
IMG_7195Tomorrow is a big day!
Nothing Falls Apart
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Thursday 21st July 2016
Gig 7: The Troubadour, London with Whetherman & Harrison Bond

We had an amazing night playing at the iconic London venue, The Troubadour.
It was everything I love in a music establishment – organised & friendly. It really is an amazing venue and deserves all the plaudits that come it’s way. The staff were warm and welcoming. Our sound engineer (Stacey) was fantastic; here’s a man who knows his stuff (he was great at advising on my set-up and the electronic drum kit balance, suggesting that I tweaked the level of FX to allow more of the lyric to be heard– not something I’ve not heard before, but for some reason his advice sat well with me) and that Alexis tweaked the kick drum volume to provide more of a ‘thump’… no wonder people say it’s the best sounding room in London.
Our support acts for this event were fantastic!
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Whetherman (the first act up) is the moniker of 31-year-old folk singer-songwriter Nicholas Williams, who has released six studio albums and 1 live album. His lyrics are poetic, his voice is soulful and he is a thoroughly nice chap.
He explains each song before playing, introducing the audience to his world & process – very insightful and honest which I found endearing.
I especially liked the final song in his set ‘Ghosts in the Water’ a fantastic modern Americana sound. On record it features the beautiful female vocal sounds of Rachel Murray.
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Nick had played in Edinburgh last year at Henry’s Cellar Bar & he had nothing but great things to say about his experience there. I thought this was really sweet and felt a little pang of pride that ‘our’ city had shown him such a lovely time during his visit.

Harrison Bond was next up, a 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Milton Keynes who wins the prize for ‘best rock ‘n’ roll name of an act we’ve played with this summer’.
His biggest influence is Lana Del Ray and this was evident most in the final song of his set ‘Honey’ (a beautiful modern ballad which showed off his vocals style and delivery perfectly). I really enjoyed his set; regional accent, looped guitar & beats, melancholic lyrics and an almost shy stage presence – he’s definitely one to watch out for in the future. https://soundcloud.com/harrisonbond/honey-rough-demo

Finally, it was our turn to delight The Troubadour crowds.
We played a 50-minute chilled trip-hop style set which mainly included material from the new LP, but also covered tracks from Demo Recordings III, Her Volatile Condition & Sinking Into Darkness. The stage sound was great and from the audience reaction it was great out front too. Our bass sounds were phat and the change to my vocal FX were clearly effective (generating a bigger shift between the Mini Kaoss Pad AKG mic and the KP3+ Green Bullet mic – as I said, our sound engineer Stacey clearly knows his stuff).
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We were very pleased to have our good friends Keith & Marijana in the audience for this show. It’s been a long time since they have seen us play live and as fellow musicians (The Penny Black Remedy) we were keen to get their thoughts on the new material and LP.
It’s always lovely to have friendly faces in the crowd and there can’t be too many folks that are more friendly than these two. Taking time out of their busy schedules to make time for us was much appreciated and it meant we got to spend some time chatting about their news & the progress of future PBR releases too.

Monday 18th July 2016
Today we took a trip out to Montrouge (a pretty little village in the southern suburbs of Paris) and then a relaxing afternoon at the Parc Montsouris. It was the warmest day of the tour so far, and at 35 degrees for most of the day we tried to find some shaded areas.
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Montrouge is a growing commuter town with a number of lovely local shops and cafes.
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Parc Montsouris is one of four large urban public parks in Paris. The others are Bois de Boulogne and two of our favourite places in the city, the Bois de Vincennes and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Parc Montsouris may be a new spot to add to our ‘favourite places’ list as it was beautiful and calm despite being popular and pretty busy.
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That evening we ate at Samsara before taking in more of the local area (bars, parks and views).
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Paris really is a beautiful city and even with a large section of the population struggling to survive amongst the rich and beautiful, the growing concerns about racial hatred and the recent attacks on their way of life, the atmosphere is open and friendly, warm and welcoming and I hope to spend more time living in this fantastically inspiring place.
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Street Art 75011, Paris 2016

Tuesday 19th July 2016
Our last full day in Paris started with a trip to Au Pain et des Idees (another fantastic patisserie recommended in Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas).
IMG_7130 The choice was incredible; fresh breads and tarts adorned the display cases and baskets inside this old-fashioned looking bakery, but it was the original flavor combinations that excited me the most; Le croissant au thé Matcha & à l’eau de rose looked beautiful and the choices seemed endless. We were greeted with a big smile and made our decisions; Alexis opted for L’escargot chocolat pistache & I decided that the Pain au chocolat et almond was the one for me. We took our treats to a nearby bench overlooking Canal Saint Martin and savoured the moment. Flakey, buttery, rich and decadent – another excellent recommendation.

We couldn’t resist one final stop at Belushi’s Canal as this is where Sacre Noir first found our feet on the non-Scottish gig circuit. The view from the terrace is one of my favourites in Paris and the staff are always so lovely. All along the canal, workers were preparing for this year’s Paris Plage; installing zip-wires and sand-pits, showers and pop-up bars and cafes for the locals to enjoy, but right at that moment it was probably one of the most serene spots in Paris.
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Wednesday 20th July 2016
Time to say goodbye to my favourite city, before heading back to the UK.
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We met with a family friend for morning coffee and as always it’s great to spend time with friends who we don’t get to see very often.
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The Eurostar back to London was running late due to the previous night’s vandalism and over-crowding at passport control (to be fair to the Eurostar staff, if people had completed their boarding / landing cards before getting to security, things might have moved along a little quicker). Regardless, we were only delayed by half an hour and arrived safely in London before the evening rush hour really kicked in.
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We made our way to our hotel (Earls Court Garden Hotel; great location but a little noisy as our room seemed to back on to the Underground line), got changed and headed out for coffee and something to eat.

Our first stop was Café du Coin (it only seemed right to try to extend our Parisian experience for as long as possible) – a lovely café at the end of our street which serves salads and simple plates as well as coffee and pastry treats. We settled for coffee before making our way to GBK for some very fine veggie burgers, milkshake, fries, onion rings and elderflower presse. Both the food & service were really very lovely and despite being a chain restaurant the atmosphere was relaxed and not dis-similar to an independent diner (if such a thing still exsists).

We had a good walk around Earls Court & then it was time for bed.
Everything seemed a little strange, waking up in Paris & going to sleep in London, but we definitely felt excited knowing we had a great gig lined up the following night at The Troubadour.

Sunday 17th July 2016
Gig 6: Pop In, Paris (Open Mic Night)

The day started at a slow pace; pre-brunch drinks with our good friend Carole, followed by brunch with another friend Ben (ex-marketing manager at Belushi’s Paris).
We arrived at Café Martin around midday and stayed till after 3pm – passing the time with coffees, good food and great chat.

Pop In is a pretty special place and although the venue space is small, it has played host to some amazing acts, so we were very pleased to be invited along for their open mic session.
Pop In is more than just a bar with a venue in its basement – it’s a record label and community too. Playing host to releases by Herman Dune and shows from some of our favourite artists like David Byrne & The Kills, it really felt like we were discovering the ‘underground’ scene in Paris – real musicians looking for new contacts and opportunities (just like many of the open mic nights that can be found throughout the UK).

The talent on show ranged from hip-hop to French pop, solo acts who sounded like Al Green to duos who were bringing something new to the scene – I enjoyed them all.
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We played a small guitar/vocal set (thanks to one of the performers for letting us borrow his brand new electric guitar) and the reception was excellent. I’m sure one day we’ll be back to play a full set of Sacre Noir material.

Saturday 16th July 2016
Gig 5: Au Chat Noir, Paris

We had lunch not far from the apartment at Les Fleurs de la Pensee – a lovely family run Chinese restaurant, serving fresh raviolis filled with vegetables and accompanied by a variety of sauces.
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Afterwards we headed back to the apartment to ready ourselves for the concert at Au Chat Noir and to check through our equipment. We headed along to the venue early to meet up with Antonia and rehearse our collaboration with her.

It has been 2-years since we last played at this lovely little bar in Bellville; it’s a very cool little space with lots happening including the Spoken Word Paris events (Monday & Wednesday every week). We popped in for coffee a couple of times during the week leading up to our show and as always Vincent (and his staff) were very welcoming. It’s an easy place to pass the hours, people watching and listening to the jazz music chosen by the bar staff. The coffee is good and the atmosphere relaxed.

To say we were excited about this show is a bit of an understatement.
Not only were we able to arrange the collaboration with Antonia Klimenko (I’ll do a special ‘the people that make the tour special’ post soon and will give you more details about the fantastic lady), but also the other acts who agreed to play this show were very special indeed.
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Firstly, my newest Paris based folk/pop discovery Sarah Jeanne Ziegler; a young lady born & raised in Paris, who finds herself taking the French music scene by storm.
Sarah played her solo set of guitar/vocal tracks, utilising her live vocal fx to generate a fuller sound than most solo performers manage to achieve. For her last song she invited an electronic musician to join her and they performed a version of her track ‘White Gun’ to complete her set – c’est manifique.

Finally, (and for me most excitingly) our good friend Chloe Cassandre took to the stage as our local headline act for this event. Chloe is a fantastic musician, vocalist and performer and we have been lucky to play shows with her trip-hop band ‘AsOne’ for two years (2014 & 2015). Chloe also performs as part of a duo in Paris ‘Miam’, but for this show it was simply Chloe, a piano, and her spectacular voice. I honestly think she is one of the most talented singers I have ever met and each time we see her perform I fall more in love with her style and originality.
See for yourself…

Many thanks to everyone from Spoken Word Paris who showed their support for this show and also to Sithara for filming us once again.

 

Thursday 14th July 2016
Gig 4: Le Gambetta Club, Paris
Bastille Day

We visited Père Lachaise in the morning as it is located at the end of our street and is always a peaceful space within the city (as long as you don’t spend time near the grave of Jim Morrison). As it was Bastille Day it seemed pertinent to visit and pay respects to those who have fallen fighting for their country, protecting human rights, or gaining civil liberties; it provides cause to be thankful for all we have & also to remember those who we have lost.
Pere Lachaise is a beautiful space & I’ve always found the graveyards of Paris to be less sombre than churches.

Last year we arranged a concert at Le Gambetta Club & had a fantastic night, so we were happy to be returning.

On the 13th July the fire stations host the Pompier Balls across the city & as Le Gambetta Club is a late night bar, the party had gone on until the early hours of the next day, so when we arrived at the venue to set up for our show, Joe (owner) and Marco (bar manager) were both still feeling very tired – nothing a couple of espresso shots didn’t fix.
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We were very pleased to have secured Laurent Henode to play with us at this gig as we’re both big fans having followed his progress since meeting two years ago thanks to a mutual friend. He is currently working on material with a new band but for this show he played a solo set of material just acoustic guitar and vocals under the pseudonym Popper Must (Be). Laurent’s voice has great dynamic range which matches his writing style perfectly. He is a master of the ‘quiet-loud-quiet’ delivery and his confidence seemed to have grown along with his repertoire. It was so lovely to seem a familiar face in the city and especially one as friendly as his.

The other act we secured for this show was Eric Costa, an electronic musician based in Paris who not only played an amazing set or original compositions, but also played ‘DJ’ in between the live music, styled the stage with lights and saved the day with brown tape.
I discovered Eric’s music via his BandCamp page and cannot speak highly enough about his live set-up. Intense and modern is one way to describe his music, moulding synth sounds and drum loops with ease (whilst trying to get rid of drunk fans intent on speaking to him during his performance).

Le Gambetta Club have a BBQ (free with drinks) so people who were coming to the show were offered food as well as great cocktails, a selection of Japanese whiskeys and fab live music – what more could people want.

We had a great night and after our set we talked till late on the terrace with Eric.
We must say thank you to Stéphanie for inviting us back to this lovely local bar to perform our new LP.
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When it was time to head back to the apartment we said our goodbyes and the bar manager Marco wished us a ‘bon soiree’ and also ‘good luck’; making sure we understood to ‘be careful’ on our way home. We thought this was sweet but didn’t realise until we got home that there had been an attack in Nice and this was why he was so worried about us getting home.
We have always felt safe and comfortable in Paris, but this year we have noticed a marked increase in the presence of soldiers on the streets. Sure, they have always been around the large train stations, Tour Eiffel and Sacre Coeur, but this year we have seen them lining the streets near Pigalle and Bellville (both are areas which have suffered attacks in recent months). Honestly, I’ve never felt comfortable with the soldiers and cops having guns openly on show, but I think this is just because it’s something you rarely see in Scotland. However, this summer the sight of them and their increased street presence did not leave me feeling uneasy; if anything I completely understand why the locals feel safer with these guys around.
It’s hard to imagine what it must feel like to be living in a constant state of ‘emergency’ but life in Paris seems to be carrying on as usual and the city is still such a vibrant place that I also can’t imagine that changing too much either.
We live in strange times, but we can’t let the fear take over and change who we are.

Vive la France.

Friday 15th July 2016 (Day Off)
We slept in after a late night at La Gambetta Club and the city also seemed to be late in waking itself, so we headed down to Arts et Metiers for a coffee; and a great spot to sit and watch the world go by. It was a hot day and we wanted a lunch that would fill up all the lost calories from the previous night’s exertions, so we checked out a few Indian restaurants by Gare du Nord and chose a place that specialised in dosas (Indian savoury pancakes) and vegetarian cuisine. It was excellent and filling, with great service as per usual in Paris.

In the evening we cooked another meal in our Parisian apartment (warm goat’s cheese salad and bread), we then headed out to wander around Belleville and soak up the atmosphere of the city. It’s lovely to be able to walk the streets late at night while the weather is still warm and we spotted many nice looking bars and restaurants with people dining or drinking into the wee small hours. It was great to be able to have such a relaxing day after our first gig of 2016 in Paris.

Wednesday 6th July 2016
Yay! We’re going to Paris today!
Shower. Pack. Check out. Coffee. Underground to King’s Cross. Check in. And we’re off.
Thank you Barking – it’s been great!

Arriving in Paris at 5pm the sun was shining and everything seemed to be right with the world again.
J’adore Paris.
We arrived at the apartment and dropped off our bags before heading straight out for the night.
Coffee, walking then food.
We ate at the Lotus Flower (a lovely family run Vietnamese resto) and watched the world go by. The food was great; filling and healthy tofu & veg dishes and the service was, as always in Paris, fantastic.
After a little late night stop at a café we headed back to the apartment and watched a couple of episodes of a French drama called ‘Paris’. It’s good for me to watch French language TV as it helps with the language & accent and also it’s great for location spotting.
‘Paris’ tells a twisted tales of love, life and politics staring Éric Caravaca, Florence Pernel, Sarah-Jane Sauvegrain – I’m loving it.
“24 hours in Paris following the trail of different people whose fates will cross decisively”

Thursday 7th July 2016
After morning coffees Alexis headed over to GDN to pick up his large drum bag and I popped into Belushi’s to catch up on some emails. We didn’t think that there would be anyone left there that we knew however Liam (a guy we met and suggested he ask for a job at the bar a few years ago) is now the bar manager.

Lunch was vegan burgers at Hank’s in the Marie, and it was great.

We wandered up to the 19th arr. & popped into our ‘home from home’ Belushi’s Canal.
This place and the old staff are the reason we first started playing shows in Paris – being invited in 2011 by the manager at the time to play shows in the bar and at their Plage stage. We met so many great people over the years thanks to the Belushi’s team and even though only one member of our Belushi’s family still works at Canal it still fills us with great memories and lots of love for those times.
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Tonight is the France vs Germany Euro16 semi-final so we left before chaos ensued and walked back to the apartment via shops before finding a less ‘crazy’ bar to watch the game. Well, that was the plan anyway.
We ate at a lovely Indian resto close to the apartment and finished our meal about 9:45pm; just in time to pick a bar and get settled in for the second half of the game. The atmosphere was electric and we decided that the bar at the end of the street was looking like the one most likely to provide us with a seat. Outside all the tables and chairs were filled with wine drinking, face-painted fans and as their team were winning there seemed to be no chance of them leaving to provide us with a space in the late evening warmth. We headed inside and there were a few chairs left which had a view of the TV. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so impressed with a bunch of drunk football fans (being Scottish means we have the best fans in the world however our team sucks, so we never really get to see fans celebrating such a big win). The locals shouted and cheered at the TV, applauding every decision and kick of the ball. Even when Boateng was taken off injured, the French fans were gracious and applauded the player’s effort. The full time whistle blew and the cheering and singing, clapping & dancing began. It continued into the small hours of the morning.
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again- I LOVE PARIS!

Friday 8th July 2016
Waking up for our second full day in Paris seemed strange; almost like we’ve been here for ages already. Everything seems so familiar and easy.
Today’s plan involved making some soup for lunch and testing out the facilities in the apartment and by lunch time we were sitting down to a healthy bowl of lentil soup and bread straight from La Flute Gana (one of the amazing boulangeries on the street).

We’d arranged to meet up with Antonia prior to the show at Au Chat Noir next week. Antonia is the poet in residence at Paris Spoken Word & I’m such a big fan of her work. We’ve been emailing back & forth for a few weeks and she has sent me some examples of material she may use for our collaboration & I am beyond excited to have her involved in our tour this year.

We met at 2pm outside the station Saint Germain des Pres and took a small walk before stopping off at a cute side-street café for some drinks.

After leaving Antonia we made our way to Au Chat Noir to deliver some promotional material for the gig, then carried on to Le Gambetta (again to deliver the flyers and posters for the show) before heading to Cinecitta (Italian resto) and then home for the evening. Determined to get to sleep earlier tonight, we watched the final 2 episodes of ‘Paris’ and went to bed.

Saturday 9th July 2016
We headed out to the beautiful and peaceful Bois des Vincennes in the morning armed with a picnic of bread, hummus and potato salad for lunch. The area is popular with locals as a spot for dog walking, horse riding and running, but still it retains a sense of calm. The sun was high in the sky, reaching temperatures of 35 degrees as we strolled through the wooded areas along the stream.
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As we were close to Nation we decided to pop in to café Arnold Netter for coffees, reminiscing about our stay in this arrondissement whilst on tour 2 years ago. Each morning we would start the day with a café creme pour moi avec un espresso pour Alexi. We have very fond memories of the area and were pleased to see not much had changed (if anything) since our last visit.

Feeling refreshed we decided it would be a good idea to walk all the way home to our apartment on Rue des Pyrénées. It’s quite a long way so rewarded ourselves with cake from one of the many Patisseries on the street.
That evening we started watching the 1984 film flop that is David Lynch’s Dune. . . as big fans of Mr Lynch we were still keen to soak up his greatness (also Alexis had read the book and figured I’d enjoy the story if not the special fx that were bound to be out-dated).I was not surprised to see that the cast was filled with Twin Peaks actors (Kyle MacLachlan & Everett McGill) alongside classic British greats like Patrick Stewart & Sting.
The special effects do indeed look pretty awful now, but I can imagine that if I’d seen it back in the 80s I’d have been more than impressed.

Sunday 10th July 2016
This was our 6-year wedding anniversary.
We had coffee in the retro-styled café ‘Cream’ before making our way to the Buttes Chaumont for a tasty picnic.
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Then we wandered along the Canal Saint Martin to the Parc Villette to enjoy more of the sunshine and weekend atmosphere.

In the evening we found ourselves a lovely Indian retso close to our apartment before we went and joined the locals surrounding the nearby cafés and bars to watch the 2nd half of the Euro2016 final. It was a nervous time but in the end France lost to Portugal.
All was not lost in the world of sporting achievements as Andy Murray won the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

Monday 11th July 2016
Lots of places are closed on a Monday (including the laundrettes) so we had a pretty quiet day; walking along the Seine from Gare De Austerlitz to the Louvre then the side-streets around the Champs Elysees. The street that our apartment is on is a food-lovers paradise and so we popped in to the deli downstairs and got some fantastic fresh ravioli for tea.

Later that evening we sauntered along to Au Chat Noir for coffee and a bit of Spoken Word Paris – the guest was Chris Bernstorf (from the USA) whose style and delivery was good but the content was overloaded with ‘Jesus loves us’ and ‘God is King’ chat…. A bit too much for my personal taste.

Tuesday 12th July 2016
We listened to the mastered tracks for the new LP all sounding fab and we’re so pleased with the final results.
Coffee & a visit to the laundrette were first on the cards for today, but after that we enjoyed another fine day of weather and wandering in this city that we love so much.

We visited the Jardin du Luxembourg and ate fresh falafel at a great little café near the Insitiut du monde Arabe (one of our favourite buildings in Paris).

Alexis treated me to a home cooked meal of puy lentils and goat’s cheese which was just what the doctor ordered. It’s strange being away from home for so long and not being able to indulge in life’s little pleasures (cooking and having a reliable wifi connection), so was lovely to be able to have such a fantastic tea made in our ‘own’ space.

Wednesday 13th July 2016
Headed out early to have coffee in the Marais before heading to the Pompidou centre. The queues were massive (even though we turned up 20 minutes before the place even opened), but we waited in line with everyone else eager to see inside. Doors open at 11am and once inside we found a bunch of other queues for tickets and who knows what else.

We saw a fantastic photography exhibition by Louis Stettner (American photographer) which put us in mind of our good friend Stephen Young; he also has a love of NYC and real life photography – not staged shots.

Afterwards we went to our favourite resto in Paris Les Pates Vivantes for lunch. Watching the noodles being hand-rolled whist we waited only served to make our tummies even more hungry. The food & service were as always fantastic – it never disappoints.
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The afternoon was finished off by a trip to A L’etoile Dor – the renowned chocolate shop run by the equally renowned Denise Acabo. Recommended by everyone from my favourite ‘sweet freak’ Amy Thomas to the world’s favourite food blogger David Lebovitz, this place is like stepping back in time. Denise welcomes you like you are a long lost friend, providing a tour of her beautiful shop and the exquisite bon bons and bars that it houses. She speaks so quickly that I’m not sure I understood much of what she said but her enthusiasm is clear and the ingredients are world class. Denise selected a bag of 20 or so chocolates from her hand-picked range stored in wooden cabinets for us to take home and try before closing up for her summer holidays (she’s off to the south of France for 1 month to get some sun and much needed rest).
If you ever find yourself in SoPi (south Pigale) with a few euros to spare, I strongly recommend paying this marvellous woman a visit.
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The shop was closed due to a gas explosion in 2014 and reopened in November 2015 almost exactly as it always was.
You can read about the recent adventures (or reconstruction & reopening of the shop) on many a blog but here’s a link to David’s updates… he is clearly a big fan.

On the same street as this fantastic candy store there are a number of musical instrument shops alongside cafes and bars which lead away from the seedy side of the area and back into old school Paris.
Feeling pleased with ourselves we stopped off at Belushi’s GDN for coffee and wifi before heading back to the apartment to finish off the press release for the new LP.

Next up we have our Paris shows: 14th @ Le Gambetta Club, 16th @ Au Chat Noir and 17th @ PopIn
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Gig 3: The Abbey Tavern, London – 5th July 2016

Monday 4th July 2016

Waking up in Barking at the start of a working week, I expected the streets to be super busy and a bit manic, however I could not have been more wrong.
The high street was bustling and there was a general atmosphere of ‘work’ but the area seemed really relaxed; not too many people trying to move around, lovely wide streets and lots of independent cafés and shops.
We made our way to the Mali Café for coffees; a small but friendly space with a lovely beer garden and very friendly staff. The coffee was good and the sun was shining – a lovely way to start the day.

We headed over to Earl’s Court to drop some posters and flyers off at The Troubadour and spec out hotel number 2 (yes we’re those people, we like to know where we’re going before we have to get there). In true London fashion we were welcomed by the staff and made to feel at home in this iconic venue – we are even more excited to be playing there now, knowing that everyone is so accommodating & friendly.
As a side note, their brunch menu is rather tempting and the coffee is superb!
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After spending some time in the area we decided that it was time for lunch. Keeping our eyes peeled for something not too pricey but still fresh and tasty, we spotted Franco Manca, an organic pizza place specialising in sour-dough based and organic ingredients, we ordered, and before you could say “leaning tower of Pisa” our delicious lunch was ready. 2 large pizzas, homemade lemonade and an apple juice for £16.00 – now that’s a ‘bon prix’.

Feeling very pleased with ourselves (and also very full) we made our way over to Charing Cross for a spot of shopping and people watching + a little time in a café to make use of the WiFi and check in with emails and social media.

We sat outside at St Giles and watched Andy Murray win his quarter-final match at Wimbledon before heading into The Angel (bar / lounge) to meet up with our good friend Keith.
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Time flies when you are having fun & catching up with friends (or discussing politics and verbally annihilating a common acquaintance as was in our case), and soon the bell for last orders was ringing.

Tuesday 5th July 2016
We decided to spend a bit of time in the morning in Barking and headed out to the Abbey. Originally founded in the year 666 (not that there is much still visible from that time) it really is very beautiful. The nun’s cemetery looked French to me; Alexis reminded me that this because of the religion (Catholic) and not really a ‘stylistic’ or ‘aesthetic’ design. The Abbey was destroyed by the Danes, rebuilt by William the Conqueror and over the years St Margaret’s Church and the Curfew Tower were added to the grounds. Today it is a peaceful space which houses a café and visitor centre.
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For me a trip to London is not complete without a wander down Brick Lane.
This is the 1st place I ever played a solo London show (at The Vibe Bar which is now gone) and is also home to Rough Trade East, Café 1001, 93 Feet East and some of the best local designers and artists currently in the city.

The area is also responsible for some of the most amazing smells via the Brick Lane curry mile so after a quick stop at Rough Trade (where we literally bumped into Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream) we found the friendliest Bangladeshi waiter, who sold us his menu by mentioning the fixed price menu included lots of veggie options, we could have a round of drinks and they could do me a great mango lassi – done.
It was a great lunch and the service was superb until it came time to pay and the waiter asked if we had any “British money” when we tried to pay using Scottish notes.
REALLY?
No tip for you buddy!

We walked from there to Old Street Station past some great street art and getting a little lost along the way.
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Musician spotting no. 2: Jarvis Cocker

We spent some time in Camden, relaxing by the lock before searching out a fantastic local café, whose staff sorted us out with fresh pressed apple juice and homemade lemon polenta cake.
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Next stop The Abbey Tavern for tonight promotional activities; the Open Mic night for eARmusic with some superbly talented people. As is always the case when we play this type of event in London, we were blown away by the diverse range of talents on show. There were a few guitar/vocal song-writing types, a saxophonist/vocalist, a conga playing singer and my favourite of the night ‘Stylophobia’ (a fanatically entertaining chap who delivered a mini pop-rock festival of covers on a Stylophone).

Back in our hotel we did a little reading / TV watching before it was time for bed.
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Gig: Friday 1st July 2016
The last week has been emotional and hectic to say the least. After the shock referendum result we were all a bit dazed and confused.

We kept busy & were able to distract ourselves with finishing the LP mixes, listening to mastered versions of each track, finishing the music video and putting together the package for Nothing Falls Apart.

Before we knew what had happened it was Thursday evening and we headed out for a pre-gig / tour rehearsal at Edinburgh’s Color Sound Studios.

Sometimes things happen just as planned and run ahead of schedule.
Sometimes things get a little lost in the mire.
Sometimes things happen pretty close to the edge.
But everything happens for a reason and so we carry on.
This is the way things are in Sacre Noir.

3pm Friday: bounce the final (FINAL) version of the new music video
4pm Friday: pack bags and ‘extras’ for the launch party
5pm Friday: arrive at The Safari Lounge, set up and realise we’ve forgotten stuff
6pm Friday: re-arrive at The Safari Lounge with the rest of our equipment
7pm Friday: doors open
7:30pm: Publisher hits the stage as the evening’s opening act.
The Edinburgh based, Dutchman brought his one-man electro set up and delivered a fantastic shoegaze-esque set. Guitar, vocals, fx, loopers and Kaoss Pads blended into soundscapes that invoked the music of Twin Peaks had it been sound-tracked by Ian Curtis.
Some songs were pretty commercial and were reminiscent of early Coldplay, others much more niche and geeky. Everyone loved the set & it was just a shame the man himself had to dash off to play another gig in town.
A perfect way to start the evening.
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Track of the evening: Father

8:30pm: Next up was one of our favourite musicians in the city, Stephen McLaren; a passionate singer-songwriter who was on great form vocally (he even brought some banter about his song-writing process, which I really enjoyed).
Stephen played a crowd pleasing set; a nice balance of tracks from days in previous bands and new solo material.
A strong Scottish accent peppers his delivery and Stephen showed off not only his piano playing prowess but also his outrageous vocal range.
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Track of the evening: We Used to Go Raving

This is exactly why we love to run our own events. We get to see acts that we really love and thankfully everyone else seems to enjoy our curation skills too.
We should definitely think about doing this more than just a couple of times a year.

9:30pm: Time for Sacre Noir to take to the stage.
We planned to play the new LP from start to finish (just as we did in 2012 when we launched Sinking into Darkness at the Hyperbubble show in Henry’s Cellar Bar).

It’s a good test of the running order and although not right for every venue, we felt the chilled atmosphere of The Safari Lounge could take the full on trip-hop experience that we’re hoping to delivery with Nothing Falls Apart.
The crowd reaction was great to the new material and after a quick trip to the bar to top up glasses it was the moment we had all been waiting for – the video preview.
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Again the crowd reaction was amazing. Speaking to people afterwards it was clear that the change in ‘style’ was welcome and fitted the track, linking the lyrics (quote and 1930’s inspiration) to the venue (The Biscuit Factory) and the music.
We DJ ‘d until it was time to go home, taking time out to catch up with friends and fellow local musicians.

@ Midnight: pressed ‘make public’ button on the YouTube page.
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1:30am time to go to bed
We have one more day to sort everything else out before hitting the road.

Saturday 2nd July 2016
We woke up early and got ourselves ready to head along to our favourite café / gallery (Art and Vintage) for one last lazy morning before we head off to London and Paris.
A few cappuccinos and one warmed almond croissant later and we were ready once more to take on the world. In reality this involved cleaning the house and finishing press releases, answering emails and backing up data. . . it really is a rock ‘n’ roll life we lead.
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Sunday 3rd July 2016
After a very late night we arose first thing with the sunlight streaming through the curtains.
Coffee, tea, showers, last-minute packing and we’re off.
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We caught the 11:00am Virgin train to London Kings Cross and after a pretty standard journey, headed over to St Pancreas and sent the big drum bag to Gare Du Nord. It’s a great service; no need to keep it with us in London as we’re only doing a small guitar vocal set during this first stop in London. Also saves us moving it to the hotel and back again which is always a bit of a pain as it is so heavy.
I had to get a new Oyster card on arrival as I totally forgot to look mine out, then we headed East and found our hotel.
First stop was The Broadway Theatre for coffee and a bit of time to enjoy the evening sunshine.
We ate at The Bengal Lancer in Barking which was really near the hotel and provided us with exactly what we needed; fine & tasty veggie food.
Caught the end of the France vs Iceland Euro2016 game, had a pre-bedtime jaunt to the local park & Abbey and then had an early night.
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Next Gig: The Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town for EarMusic
Facebook Event Page

 

Sunday 20th July @ The Duke’s Head, Putney – London
The weather was beautiful in London today so we decided to relax in Ealing then headed over to Putney for something to eat before our gig. The venue for tonight’s acoustic show is in a lovely bar just beside the Putney Pier called The Duke’s Head. It has 3 separate bar spaces and a lovely outside seating area where you can watch the world go by and the boats sail along the river.

Putney

Putney


Our evening of music was really great! Before we played there was a singer / guitarist called Sonny who played a bunch of covers including ‘American Boy’ by Estelle and ‘Bump & Grind’ by R. Kelly, which were both great, and the act after us was a local songwriter called Steve who entertained us with a few original tracks. To finish the evening there was a fantastic slide guitarist / singer who played a mixture of blues and country covers and a few originals – this guy was great. His performance was amazing, technically his playing was on point and his delivery was very relaxed, not contrived or ‘put on’ in any way. He really created a fantastic atmosphere and everyone seemed to have a great evening.
And that concluded our little promo show in London in advance of our gig at Power Lunches in Hackney on August 1st. We headed back to Ealing after a few drinks having avoided the little rain that appeared earlier and were feeling pretty pleased with how the new tracks sounded; ‘Rebels & Loners’ in particular seemed to make an impact.
nothing's shocking

nothing’s shocking


NEXT SHOW
Summer Tour 2014: Gig 5 Thursday 24th July @ La Dame De Canton (Paris)