Posts Tagged ‘London’

The last 2 Sacre Noir live shows were a joy to take part in; firstly showing off our stripped-back duo set at The Monarch Bar in Dunfermline then ripping it up at The Safari Lounge in Edinburgh with a full-on electro/rock showcase which featured Phil on guitar.
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We’ve had a blast over the years playing with many wonderful live musicians in many wonderful venues across the UK & Europe and these are experiences we’ll never forget.
From our first live performance at Tam Dean Burn’s Politikal Manifesto night back in 2008 at the beautiful Tron Theatre in Glasgow to supporting Chrysta Bell this summer at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms and all the other crazy shows in Paris, Berlin, London, Liverpool, Gateshead, Glasgow and many more locations… it’s all been amazing!

The 2017 tour video will be online soon but in the meantime you can look back at all our other adventures via this playlist on YouTube.

One of the highlights of this year’s tour was playing in Paris – you can now watch our 2017 arrangement of Everything We’re Running Away From (Sinking Into Darkness 2012 – Savage Recordings) live at La Cave Cafe in Montmartre, on our YouTube channel.
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Another Paris highlight was being able to perform something from our E.P. with Canadian artist D.Soul the Soulsamurai (our good friend and label buddy at Dejine:Rec). We’ve had some amazing feedback from this release and it’s something that both Alexis & I were super keen to make happen during our final year writing and recording as Sacre Noir. So when we were invited to be the featured artist at Paris Lit Up at Culture Rapide, we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to arrange a performance of ‘Stories Begin‘ from Scattershot.
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We’ve got a lot to thank the good folks at Dejine:Rec for – they really believed in us at the very start of our journey and it was a privilege to have our music featured alongside some of our favourite music makers (James P. Honey, Asthmatic Astronaut and Marco Donnarumma to name just a few).

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Over the next few months we’ll have some more videos from this year’s tour, some behind the scenes from our final video shoot (Rebels & Loners – Nothing Falls Apart 2016 – Savage Recordings) and a few other surprises… keep an eye out for new posts on our YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

 

“All farewells should be sudden, when forever.”
―Lord Byron
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Monday 14th August 2017: Gig at SINK (Blueberry Bar, Shoreditch)
We had a lovely morning / afternoon of good eats and coffee before the final ever Sacre Noir showcase in London.
We went to our favourite place to eat (222 Veggie Vegan) on the North End Road for a buffet lunch of salad and curries then onto Brownie Box on Old Brompton Road for amazing Brownies / Blondies before waddling back to the hotel to collect our musical stuff for tonight’s show. Kensington really is a great area for us and we are making the most of our time here in West London.
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We’ve played at Plugged In Switched On nights before but not for a few years so we were looking forward to catching up with the promoter Iain and seeing the talent.

As always with open mic events it was a mixed bag of artists who took to the stage, from a young singer-songwriter who was clearly very nervous to a superb duo who had just flown in from Canada for a few weeks playing shows in the UK (Jo Jo & The Woods).
The featured act were called State Wild, an indie rock outfit from London, who managed to break the snare stand halfway through their set and were unable to continue… we were up next.
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We played a short set of tracks with guitar / vocal  / loops then chatted with some of the other acts and audience members before heading back to the hotel for the evening.
It almost seemed sad that this was the last showcase in London and that The Dublin Castle was our last “proper gig” in this city that we have grown so fond of – we’ll have to make plans to return on holiday at some point soon (if not with a new musical project).

Tuesday 15th August 2017: Last full day in London
For our final full day in the city, we revisited some of our favourite spots discovered on previous tours.
Coffee at Bar Italia, which was superb as always then lunch at the Wild Food Café where the menu had changed and the food was not as “amazing” as remembered; the little café seemed to have gone a bit ‘corporate’ and the waiting staff were not on particularly good form but the setting was great and the ethos of having a ‘fresh plant based menu’ is still a plus.
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Hanging out in London is one of life’s great joys; you can’t buy the atmosphere and individuality that comes from every nook & cranny of this ancient and wonderful city.IMG_2832.JPG

Wednesday 16th August 2017: Time to go back to Scotland
One last breakfast at the hotel before making our way to Kings Cross in time to catch the 11:30am train home to Edinburgh.
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I feel like I’m ready for some home comforts after 5 nights in one of the smallest hotel rooms we’ve ever stayed in.
Boarding with no delays, we found ourselves sitting at the same table as a lovely couple who were also going all the way to Edinburgh; I always think this is good on long journeys as it means we can all get settled and relax for the duration.

Keeping up to date with social media accounts and email inboxes whilst on tour is difficult; we are always too busy ‘doing’ and never find enough time to reflect / document events as we’re going along. Having this blog will be a wonderful reminder in years to come of the adventures we’ve had during the life of Sacre Noir… it’s always good to reflect and remember the good time & there have certainly been plenty of those.

NEXT UP:
Sacre Noir @ The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (SIPS pop up bar)
Saturday 19th & 26th August 2017

 

Saturday 12th August 2017
Our last morning in Paris was spent at Culture Rapide drinking coffee and relaxing in the early morning sunshine before gathering our belonging and making our way to Gare du Nord to catch the 3:30pm Eurostar back to the UK.

IMG_2778As always Paris has been good to us; catching up with friends, meeting new like-minded souls, eating a vast amount of fantastic food and spending time in one of our favourite cities where the pace is gentle and the people are welcoming.

Arriving back in London is an assault on your senses. St Pancras is buzzing with the sound of kids running around and families waiting to board trains for a multitude of destinations.
We hoped on board a Thameslink train (direction Bedford) without checking that it stopped at all the stations on the line; of course it didn’t! We ended up getting off at the first available opportunity, which happened to be St Albans, turned ourselves around and took this gentle reminder that we were no longer in Paris, things weren’t so simple here and we must remember to check everything, twice.
Arriving at our hotel in Kensington about an hour later than planned was not such a big deal. We checked in, dropped off our cases and bags and headed straight out to see what the area was like.
Our hotel is just around the corner from the Olympia which had just closed its doors on a 3-day beer festival and you can believe it when I say everyone there seemed to have had a ‘merry’ old time; I’ve rarely seen such drunkenness in the streets of London. Everyone was in good spirits and as well as the beer, seemed to have indulged in odd head-wear (chickens, unicorns and frogs seemed to be the most popular and I bet the company that had the stall selling these were in good spirits too). Also at the end of the street we are staying on is the London publishing offices for Universal Music Group, home to some of the world’s leading writers and artists across a huge range of genres and sub-labels.
This time next summer they will have moved into a new building at Kings Cross / St Pancras: https://umusic.co.uk/umusic-blog/fourpancrassq

Feeling tired and not in the mood for a big night out, we stopped in at a local Pizza Express, had a quick bite to eat and made our way back to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday 13th August 2017
Everything in London seemed a little odd today.
We knew about the Sunday Trading By-Law that is in place in England, but hadn’t remembered it all being so strange. We popped into a large TESCO store near our hotel to pick up a few bits ‘n’ pieces. It was 10:45am and although the place was quiet (for a mega store) there were still a fair few customers filling their trolleys. We were about to make our way to the cash desk when “Bing-bong customer announcement: I’d like to remind customers that we are not able to process any transactions until after 11am on a Sunday. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Bing-Bong”.
I found myself asking “why have you opened the doors then? What’s the point in letting people in if you can’t serve them?”  I wondered if it was so people could fill their trolleys and be ready to hit the tills as soon as 11am arrived?
Problem was easily solved as there was a little coffee place (they were allowed to serve us due to only having a few staff members) with free WiFi – soon we’d be able to process our purchases and start our day properly.

Later we walked along to Kensington High Street before making our way to meet our good friends Joe & Martin for lunch at The Windsor Castle. The bar was originally built in 1826 and is now a Grade II listed building. They have a lovely courtyard space with outside bars. We didn’t spend much time inside, but it seemed to be very traditional with lots of real ale pumps and dark wood. I imagine in the winter it’s a wonderful cosy place to spend your time, but on a lovely summer day we were best placed at one of the picnic style tables out back.
From there we wandered through Holland Park which was incredibly busy so we didn’t stay too long. We walking through Notting Hill Gate, Regents Park and finally hitting Baker Street. By this point in the afternoon it was time for another coffee before a spot of window shopping and the occasional rest in parks along the way before finding somewhere to have our evening meal. We ate at Cinnamon Spice – cheap and cheerful but full of wonderful flavour and spice (just as the name might suggest).

Sometimes it’s easy to look at London and see only the good bits; beautiful parks, historic streets, great venues and a multi-cultural community where everyone is welcome.
At other times it’s easy to see the city as a difficult place; dirty and filled with people rushing to and fro, no time for manners or stopping to admire everything on their doorsteps.
Today was somewhere in between. The grass isn’t always greener and perhaps after 3 weeks away from home (and our home comforts) I’m starting to miss Edinburgh and everything that makes our home city so great.

NEXT UP:
Sacre Noir @ SINK! The Blueberry Bar, Shoreditch for Plugged In Switched On

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