Posts Tagged ‘Le Gambetta Club’

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.

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.

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.

Days off in Paris
Monday 20th
The morning after the night before (when the night before involved playing a concert in Paris) turned quickly into the early afternoon…needless to say we slept quite late. After morning coffees we decided to walk into the Marais in search of Les Pates Vivantes (one of our favourite restaurants in Paris). When we arrived and discovered it was closed we walked to the next street and stopped at a little café for falafel & hummus. Sitting outside having lunch, with the sun shining and the Marais buzzing; tourists and locals, dancing around one another, making their way to wherever it was they were heading, I was feeling very lucky. There is such a sense of romance in the streets of Paris and it’s easy to get swept away with the mode of the city, so after lunch we stopped by the beautiful Parfums de Nicolaï and indulged in a little retail therapy (when in Rome, or even Paris).

A treat from Paris

A treat from Paris

In the evening we discovered a lovely little park “aussi mignon comme tout” just a few blocks from our apartment. Right on the edge of Bagnolet, Séverine Square is pretty small but has lots of benches and shaded areas, large trees and well-tended flowerbeds. It’s definitely a park for locals; a suburban park with kids play areas and picnic tables, what more could you want.

Tuesday 21st
Today we ventured out to the Albert Khan gardens & museum. We tried to go last year, only to discover it was closed, but having heard good things about the space we made our way back. Across the city by METRO, it seems like the easiest thing in the world. I do love the Paris system of I journey = 1 price, unlike in London where they have a zonal system and it can cost a fortune to get from 1 end to the other. It turns out that a visit to the Albert Kahn gardens was a great tip! We spent a very peaceful few hours wandering around the statue garden, admiring the structures and different types of plants (we even saw a red squirrel), before visiting the exhibition “In search of Albert Kahn” which was really interesting.

flower in the Albert Khan garden

flower in the Albert Khan garden

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) was convinced that shared knowledge of foreign societies would encourage respect and promote peaceful relations amongst them. He was a very rich man and from 1888 he set up the series of bursaries (Autour du Monde), he opened the first centre for preventive medicine and established forums for discussion and research in France (National Committee for Social and Political Studies).
Between 1909 to 1931, Albert Khan commissioned photographers and filmmakers to record life in over 50 countries. Some of the images seemed very familiar, almost as if someone had used a filter on a current image (Venice looked particularly unchanged in the 100 years between the photograph in his archives and ones I took a few years ago).

Feeling very cultured we left and headed for the Jardin du Luxembourg (one of Alexis’s favourite places in the city). We sat in the sun and watched the boats in the pond (testing my flag knowledge – which is not great) and the kids terrorizing the fish and ducks with their punting sticks. Everyone always seems so happy at the Jardin du Luxembourg (except those duck I suppose).

Enjoying the Paris sunshine

Enjoying the Paris sunshine

In the evening we caught up with friends. We met at La Rotonde Stalingrad for a few drinks on the terrace before wandering down the Plage. I love moments like this in Paris; it almost feels like you belong in a place when you get to hang out with the locals. There were ‘congratulations’ to be given and ‘cheers to absent friends’ to be had, as well as a distant ‘happy birthday’ to be wished… a good evening all round.

Sending birthday wishes from Paris

Sending birthday wishes from Paris

It was late before we realized we hadn’t eaten, so we said out goodbyes and headed into town for something to eat (midnight in Paris is a perfectly acceptable time to order food, or even a coffee apparently).

Wednesday 22nd
In the morning we searched out a cafe recommended by Alexis’s dad, ‘Cream’ – an “on-trend café” which only plays analogue music. It was lovely & just a short walk from out apartment “halfway up the hill in Belleville”. The coffee was nice, strong and not expensive at all and the LP closest to the record player was Fleetwood Mac.

Coffee at Cream, Paris

Coffee at Cream, Paris

We sat outside on the small decked area to make the most of the morning sunshine (Scots abroad eh) and planned the rest of the day. Next stop Père Lachaise, which was situated at the bottom of the street. So back up the hill we go, this time looking out for an Amy Thomas bakery tip also located on the same street as our apartment.

If every we move to Paris this is the street to stay in – everything is right here!

Amy Thomas is a blogger who’s ‘Paris, My Sweet’ book I am currently reading. It’s about her life between NYC & Paris and her love of all things sweet. Amy’s tip, La Flûte Gana was closed “summer holiday 4th July to 4th August”… just our luck, however in Paris this is never a big deal as there is always another great bakery near by. With cakes in hand (tart au citron & some kind of dark chocolate mouse creation) we made our way via Père Lachaise to Pigalle / Montmartre and the top of another hill to Sacre Coeur.

View from Sacre Coeur

View from Sacre Coeur

We headed out in the evening to a Paris / British meet up at a bar near the Pantheon, which was arranged by our friend Carole. Every month she arranges an evening where people get together to practice speaking English and tonight the meet up was at a very ‘British’ pub in the city. Chatting on the boulevard in front of the bar it was obvious that everyone was lovely; a mixed bunch from all over the world. The conversation flowed along with the real ale and cider, bringing tales of trips to the UK & life in Paris and before we knew it the sun had set on our beautiful surroundings and it was time to once again find a late night meal before heading back to our tiny apartment.

NEXT GIG:                 Thursday 23rd July 2015 @ La Dame De Canton with AsOne

Concert at Le Gambetta Club, Paris

For our first show in Paris this summer we booked a couple of local Paris bands & contacted one of the promoters we knew who runs the live music in a great little venue in the 20th Arr. The club is just 10 minutes walk from our apartment so we had all day to enjoy the city before we headed out to set up and sound check. The sun was shining so we decided on a trip to our favourite park; Buttes Chaumont.

Buttes Chaumont

The sets from Appalache & Mettani were outstanding – both so different & full of musical energy.
The first band up was Appalache, a Post-Blues / Psych-Rock duo based in Paris. These guys have an amazing energy and their performance was as ‘full-on’ as their tracks; Julien (guitar, vox) must have lost a couple of stone in sweat alone. They powered through their 40-minute set in style & had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. Their performance reminded me of the YYY’s live show – full on driving rhythms from start to finish.

Appalache at Le Gambetta Club, Paris

The reaction from the crowd during our set was great. One of our new French friends (who happens to be a very good friend of a friend from back home in Edinburgh) took some great photos and a few videos for us too. There were no hiccups at all (which is very unusual for any show we play, usually something odd happens) and afterwards the feedback was just as complimentary. There were a lot of musicians in the bar drinking & enjoying the live music, so we got the feeling that this was our type of crowd.

Sacre Noir at Le Gambetta Club, Paris

Finally Mettani took to the stage with Ghoula offering additional live instrumentation. These guys are more used to playing in nightclubs and really relished the opportunity to break into the live music circuit rather than the club scene here in Paris. Musically it was really interesting and I think the fact the audience could see how they were manipulating their sounds and utilizing the live instruments alongside the sequencing & looping packages generated a real curiosity from the crowd. They turned up with a bunch a friends / family all wearing ‘Arabstazy’ t-shirts. This sparked my curiosity…
Arabstazy began as a set of concerts held by the ethno-electro musical label Shouka, and featuring artists originating from the Arab World, or making a singular use of its legacy. Each show is considered like an adorcist transe ritual, where the audience is invited to experience voluntary, desired and curative possessions. Arabstazy is now established as a collective of musicians and visual artists wanting to promote the underground electronic arabic scene. Tired of the dripping orientalism brought by the mainstream scene, they wish to offer shows introducing sharp artists and original performances.” (

Mettani at Le Gambetta Club, Paris

Their music certainly had elements of Arabic culture (live percussion instruments like brass maracas), but for me it wasn’t so trance-like or ritualistic. In fact their set brought a mellow organic sound to the evening, which seemed to embrace many cultures and musical styles; their use of a Tumbi & melodica reinforced this ‘multi-culturalism’ for me.

We’d like to say a very special thank-you to Stephanie (booker), Jo (boss) and the staff at Le Gambetta Club, for having us play at their venue. . . we loved the bar, so may be back again soon for another show.

NEXT GIG:                 Thursday 23rd July 2015 @ La Dame De Canton with AsOne

Day off in London: 17th July 2015
We got up early and headed out for coffee then took a walk along to Pitshanger Park – Alexis was looking much brighter and feeling much better.
As we didn’t really have any plans for the day we took some advice from our host and headed out to the Kings Road in the afternoon. The goal was lunch at the Mona Lisa an excellent Italian café in the heart of Chelsea, which has a reputation for delivering fantastic classic dishes with great service and at a great price. The Mona Lisa Café did not disappoint at all, it was just as Joe (our host) had described.

mmm....Mona Lisa Cafe, London

We were welcomed with a big smile, served huge plates of food and charged a very small amount of money for the pleasure. I had the classic Penne Arabiata and Alexis had grilled sardines – we left with full bellies and wandered in the general direction of Battersea Park. I don’t remember anyone ever saying “you should visit Battersea Park when you’re in London” and I have no idea why not… it was beautiful (and a lot more quiet than Hyde or Holland Park). A peace pagoda sits quietly towards one end of the embankment, glistening in gold and black against the setting sun. There is a large water feature, a zoo (albeit a small one I’d imagine) cafes and colourful gardens.

Battersea Park

In the evening we sat out in the garden at Ealing Towers discussing music and the future of Sacre Noir. Joe suggested we find a manager to take things on to the next level. As a young photographer and graphic designer Joe worked with everyone who was anyone in the music business (Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc) and so has always had a keen interest music. He feels we make music that is very accessible and not as weird or avant garde as we might like to think.
There is no harm in hocking the new LP around I suppose and see what sticks (ideally a nice little sync for one of the tracks and an increased PRS cheque would be nice). As the darkness grew thicker the night-time insects come out to play and it was time to retire for the evening as tomorrow the time would come for us to leave one great city in favour of another; Paris.

London to Paris: 18th July 2015
At last, the day has come when we get to go back to my favourite city, Paris.
We had an early start so we could fit in coffee, some final packing, chatting with Joe & one more walk in Pitshanger Park before we made our way to St Pancras International. It has seemed like a whirlwind stop in London this time but as always we have loved discovering new areas & we plan to be back before the end of 2015 to help promote the new LP so it is only au revoir.

Leaving London it was about 22 degrees – arriving in Paris it was closer to 27 degrees… this is how to do summer weather.

We have an apartment in the 20th arrondissement for our visit this summer, right next to Pere Lachaise and just 10 minutes walk from the venue for the 1st of our 2 Paris shows at Le Gambetta.
The cosmopolitan districts of Ménilmontant and Belleville are filled with patisseries, charcuteries, boulangeries, fromageries and a much more besides, many of the area’s finest foodie spots seem to be on our little (or not so little) street.

Rooftop view from 20th Arr. Paris

We arrived in Paris to find the METRO system in disarray; line 5 ‘ferme’, lines 3 & 4 seemed to have just stopped (with no explanation that we could decipher) and other lines were so over-crowded it was not even worth thinking about trying to join their platforms; a taxi it was then.

After getting into the apartment and unpacking / checking the equipment, we headed out for some food, a wander round the area & a late night coffee (well when in Paris huh). We’re really looking forward to the show with Mettani & Appalache, so popped into the venue to say “hi “and make sure they had flyers / promo material. It’s a 150 capacity venue but is filled with sofas and comfortable chairs. It has cheap beer on tap and some very pricey wine behind the counter. Le Gambetta Club seems to offer something for everyone & we’re pretty sure that we’re going love this place. Plus they have live music almost every night & a booker with a great attitude and joie de vivre.
J’dore Paris.

Le Gambetta Club, Paris

NEXT GIG:                 Sunday 19th July 2015 @ Le Gambetta 4 Euro from 8pm
PLAYING WITH:         Appalache & Mettani