Posts Tagged ‘Sacre Noir Summer Tour 2013’

Saturday 17th August – Wednesday 28th August
Back home and back to work… there are exciting projects in the pipeline though. During this time we caught up with Barry Smith (artist) and agreed a new collaboration, had a meeting with a local film-maker to discuss a Sacre Noir short film project for this winter, attended a friend’s book launch and even managed to fit in a practice with Phil as he’d be joining us again for the final two shows of this year’s summer tour.

Phil and Alexis - Sacre Noir rehearsal at Bainbridge / Iona St, Edinburgh

Phil and Alexis – Sacre Noir rehearsal at Bainbridge / Iona St, Edinburgh

Gig 13 – Thursday 29th August 2013 @ Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
This show was booked & promoted by ‘It’s A XXXX Thing’ blog and everyone was pretty excited about the line-up. The Penny Black Remedy have never played a show in Glasgow but it’s a gig on home turf for the Mickey 9’s! There are some great pictures and a review on the New Hellfire Club website. This is the first time in ages we’ve seen the Mickey 9’s and they had a few new tracks in their set… ‘Berlin’ being my favourite. Energetic and a little crazy, they were as always very entertaining.

Thursday 29th August 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

Thursday 29th August 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

We always enjoy playing at Pivo Pivo in Glasgow – we finished our 2012 tour with a gig here and it feels good to be back and adding Phil’s guitar sounds to the set. After a few technical problems at the start of the show, we soon hit our stride and play a raucous crescendo of ‘She Can’t Take It’ to finish our set. One song that has been popular throughout the tour is ‘It’s Too Late Now’ and we’re able to really take advantage of the live guitar on this track in particular – leading to a dark, rockier performance.
Sacre Noir live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow - photo by Gobo Photography

Sacre Noir live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow – photo by Gobo Photography

The Penny Black Remedy then took to the stage like a whirlwind and blew through an hour’s worth of songs in what seemed like no time at all. Covering much of their very own blend of ska-rock, surf-punk, country-folk-pop stylings, including crowd favourite ‘Bring Back Brando’ (a song written with more honesty than you’d imagine for something so catchy). Keith fronts the band like a true professional and has the audience wrapped round his finger from the get-go, although vocalist Marijana also takes centre stage for a few tracks and wows the crowd. The other band members Wilco and Paul both show a similar enthusiasm and a good night was had by all.
The Penny Black Remedy live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

The Penny Black Remedy live at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow


Thursday 8th August 2013 – Day off in Berlin

It’s been go, go, go for over a week now and today we got to have a proper day off; no secret gigs, no travel and no promoters to deal with, so we started the day in a very relaxed fashion, and went out for breakfast at a near-by backwerk (baked goods), this tested my language skills a lot… I think I’m getting the words right, but my pronunciation is clearly very poor as I had to repeat everything to the waitress at least twice before she understood me. This made me realise that the small amount of effort I’ve been putting into learning French recently has really helped (thanks to Lucile for the lessons), and that I’m sure with a similar effort my German could be much better too.
We popped back to the apartment to make use of the washing machine before heading out to do a spot of shopping in one of our favourite areas in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg. P’berg is in the borough of Pankow and was once very popular with the bohemian Berlin youth, although we discovered that recently it has become a much more expensive area due to it’s popularity – just like in London it seems that the “money” in this city likes to follow the artist community. A special treat for us was to see the Nick Gregson graffiti that we used for the ‘Sinking Into Darkness’ LP cover whilst in the area – she’s still looking good!

Sacre Noir with Nick Gregson graffiti in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Sacre Noir with Nick Gregson graffiti in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

We had pizza for lunch at a nice little café and wandered down to Alexanderplatz, which was busy with food and drinks stalls, local clothing and entertainment. There are a lot of mainstream shops & department stores in the area so it was really nice to see some local traders here too.
We’d arranged to pop into Pfefferbett to have a chat with the booker for our show tomorrow night and as they had live music on we thought we’d go there next to check it out. All the arrangements are as agreed and our contact at the hostel is super-cool (as the Berliners say), really friendly and welcoming and excited about our show.
Pfefferbett's secret garden, Berlin

Pfefferbett’s secret garden, Berlin

The band playing was called Halfblind Henry & His Instabilities who describe themselves as Americana / Soulblues / Folk ‘n’ Roll, but as it was a stripped back show I’m not sure we got to see the full range of their musical stylings. The vocalist (Halfblind Henry himself) played guitar & sang and his Instabilities provided backing on a range of other instruments; slide guitar, bass, harmonica, percussion, melodica & sax. We stayed to enjoy their first set then caught the U-Bahn over to Kreuzberg to have tea at a great Indian restaurant we’ve eaten at before called Iman’s – the food is excellent & the service is fault-free.
Eating at Iman's in Kreuzberg,

Eating at Iman’s in Kreuzberg,

It started raining at about 10pm so we decided to call it a night and headed home – easier said than done. The first U-Bahn we got on terminated before it’s final destination, so we had to change a couple more times before we were back on track.

Friday 9th August 2013
Gig 12 – Pfefferbett, Berlin (Acoustic show)

This morning I was rudely awoken by the telephone ringing at 8.30am, then the doorbell at 9am, then the neighbours a little later, something was telling me it was time to get up! We went out the Schlossgarten just up the road and had a nice relaxing stroll along the Spree.

Charlottenburg Schlossgarten, Berlin

Charlottenburg Schlossgarten, Berlin

It’s our last ‘away’ gig tonight for this year’s summer tour and it’s an acoustic show so we didn’t have to worry about taking any equipment – just some stock, a mailing list and ourselves. We arrived at Pfefferbett around 6pm and the sun was still shining so a gig in the garden it is!
Chalkboard at Pfefferbett, Berlin

Chalkboard at Pfefferbett, Berlin

The guitar choices are classical or classical so the sound is very quiet, but the crowd that start to gather on the terrace are very attentive and seem to really enjoy our set. We played for just over an hour and then ate at the venue (Currywurst & frites) before heading along to the ‘open stage jam’ at Little Stage in Neukoln. The talent on show in the bar was great and such a variety of instruments and styles… Alexis had a jam with some guitarists, piano & keys, bass and saxophone (look out for some footage in the tour video – coming soon) and it was great to see him playing drums again. Usually I’m onstage too and I can’t remember the last time I got to just sit back and enjoy.
Jam session at Little Stage in Neukoln, Berlin

Jam session at Little Stage in Neukoln, Berlin

Whilst we were there we caught up with Alex and managed to get the live recordings from our gig, so we’ll be able to mix them when we get home and possibly even have a couple of live tracks to send out to our mailing list subscribers when we return.
1.30am and the U-Bahn is still running so it’s no problem travelling across the city to get back to the apartment.

Next gig: Thursday 29th August, 2013 at Pivo Pivo, Glasgow

It's gonna be a great gig!

It’s gonna be a great gig!

Next gig: Sunday 1st September, 2013 at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
swapping The Mickey 9’s for the mighty Lewis Gibson & The Midas Touch for the final show in Edinburgh – bring it on!

Gig 11 – Wednesday 7th August 2013 @ Little Stage, Berlin

We had a bit of lie in to make up for lack of sleep on the ‘sleeper train’ and woke up feeling fully refreshed and ready for tonight’s concert. It’s not so hot today and I think last night’s storm helped reduce the heat. It’s so nice having such a large apartment to spread ourselves out in and a real treat having tea / coffee on the balcony for breakfast. We headed out for lunch at Extrablatt just round the corner from the apartment, off Bismarkstrasse. We had fish and frites all round and it was tasty and filling.
We went back home to get packed up before leaving for tonight’s show having checked that everything is still working after dragging it through the storm last night. The U7 line takes us all the way to Neukoln, so no need to change on the way.

Carrie and poster outside Little Stage, Berlin

Carrie and poster outside Little Stage, Berlin

We arrived at Little Stage for soundcheck at 5pm and met Alex our American sound engineer and Bert the owner who were both very welcoming. After some drinks we get set-up and ready to make some noise. Everything sounded great and Alex was able to record our set so that we can get the live wave files of the show straight from the mixing desk. We got coffees and juice from a nearby café as we had a few hours to wait before show time and also took a wander round Kornerpark which is just along the road from the venue.
Carrie and Alex (sound engineer) - Little Stage, Berlin

Carrie and Alex (sound engineer) – Little Stage, Berlin

We typed up some blogs and chatted to Mark the barman and Alex until it was time to perform. We’re lucky enough that several fans have come along especially to check out the Sacre Noir live experience, plus some regulars in the bar makes for a good crowd and we felt that we delivered an excellent show.
Sacre Noir onstage at Little Stage, Berlin

Sacre Noir onstage at Little Stage, Berlin

After a few hard disk problems we realised we’d have to return to collect the files that Alex has recorded, however this gives us a great excuse to pop back to Little Stage and check out the talent another night.

Next gig: Friday 9th August, 2013 6.30pm at Pfefferbett Hostel, Berlin

Gig 10 – Tuesday 6th August 2013 @ Soupanova, Berlin

Arriving in Berlin is always a joy, unfortunately everything on tour has gone too well for this to last and we encountered a few problems…
1 – our train was due to arrive at 8:28 am – it was over an hour late (we were informed by the guard when we asked what was going on that “the plan had changed” – this wasn’t a great help)
2 – our train was meant to terminate at the main station in Berlin HBF, but in another unexpected twist it didn’t get that far and we were left at a (building site) station further to the north. Again, no explanation from the staff at all and this led to a much more convoluted trip across the city with all our bags.
I can’t help feel this is not the face of German efficiency that we’ve previously experienced. Part of what we love about this city is that everything works as it’s meant to and with very little sleep on the “sleeper” it’s safe to say I was not in the best mood.
We arrived at our apartment in Charlottenburg around 11am and this immediately turned our mood around as it’s really great. Huge rooms, nice and clean & fully furnished, so nothing to moan about there at all. After our host showed us round we headed straight out for a much needed cup of coffee / tea and a visit to Kaiser (supermarket) for some supplies for the apartment. We had lunch in the flat on the balcony in the sun (almost 40 degrees), showered and before we knew it, it was time to head off to Soupanova for the first of our 3 Berlin shows.
Having played at this venue last year we were confident in finding the place so didn’t stress too much about leaving loads of time to get tickets etc… perhaps the 3rd problem of the day. The machines in the station didn’t take our cards and some of the ATMs in the city also refused to give us money. We eventually got the cash to buy our 7 day travel passes (which are mega cheap at only 28.80 Euros each) and headed across the city to Prenzlauerberg.
Set up and sound-check went really well so we headed along the road to eat at ‘Mai Thai’ which was great on our last visit and was very nice again this time round. We played two sets at Soupanova; both quite chilled out, the second more so than the first.

Soundcheck @ Soupanova, Berlin

Soundcheck @ Soupanova, Berlin

In the audience from the start was a girl who had seen us at Power’s Bar in London & enjoyed our set then so was keen to see us again (this is the kind of music fan we love). Not only has this girl seen us at two of our tour shows in two different cities, but she brought her music journalist friend with her, who is going to do a review for us in an online magazine he writes for, but she also managed to convince the bar manager to let us play for longer than we were meant to. The bar is in a residential area and they have problems with their neighbours (just like in Edinburgh), so we were due to finish at 10pm, however after a few nice words from our new (best) fan, we ended up playing until 10.45pm. We did turn the volume down a fair bit and kept our fingers crossed that the neighbours either couldn’t hear us or actually liked the tunes, but either way we had fun!
Feeling knackered after such an eventful day and night and in need of some proper sleep, we headed back on the last tube (U-Bahn) and were in bed by 1am.

Next gig: Wednesday 7th August, 2013 from 10.30pm at Little Stage, Berlin

Monday 5th August 2013 – Travel Day

Today is our last day in Paris so we got up early, packed our bags, had breakfast in Belushi’s and checked out all before 10.30am. Ali let us stash our bags in the office (for safe keeping) so we were free to enjoy the city till it’s time to get our train to Berlin. Last time we were in Paris we ate at a great noodle restaurant called ‘Les Pates Vivantes’ so we decided to go back for our final meal… it was amazing. Homemade noodles made fresh on location (you can watch the chef at work) – you really can’t go wrong.

mmm noodles

mmm noodles

After some great food we wandered by the Seine / Left Bank over to the Institut Du Monde Arabe for coffees, which is very close to Notre Dame, however it was closed to the public on Mondays so we settled for a local café instead and caught the Metro back for a little chill-out time before we had to leave. No stay in Paris is complete without a visit to a good patisserie and so we headed to a nice looking place near Gare Du Nord which provided us with just what we were looking for.
Tarte Au Citron & Opera Gateau

Tarte Au Citron & Opera Gateau

We’d booked the sleeper from Paris to Berlin on D-Bahn and are both very excited to be going back to such an artistic city. Having played in both Paris & Berlin a few times now we’ve discovered that the Berlin venues are more ‘live’ music orientated and also there is a much larger (or even stronger) underground music scene there. If it wasn’t for our contacts in Paris I’m not sure we’d get very far – Berlin seems a little more open to new music.
So with (very) full bellies and plenty of reading material we board the 6:44pm train to Berlin HBF and get settled in for the evening.
Night Train to Berlin

Night Train to Berlin

Next gig: Tuesday 6th August, 2013 from 9pm at Soupanova, Berlin

Gig 9 – Sunday 4th August @ Belushi’s Canal, Paris (evening acoustic set) plus guerrilla gig at A-Mi-Ami

Had a nice lie in after a late night at Le Vieux Léon – got up and headed out to meet friends Dave, Lea, Ali and Carson for brunch at Marcel (in Montmartre). It’s become a bit of a tradition to have Sunday brunch while in Paris, and is a great excuse to have some good food and catch-up.

 Marcel in the 18th, Paris

Marcel in the 18th, Paris

Afterwards we wandered past Sacré Couer and headed down the hill for a refreshing tea / coffee in the sun. We then headed up from Gare du Nord to the Belushi’s in the 19th, which took us past the Paris Plages festival on the banks of the Canal.
Sunday night is Open Mic at Belushi’s Canal, hosted by the very talented Dimitri (bass / vocals) and Micha (guitar / vocals). After they had a played a few songs and a mandolin player from Australia had played we jumped up with Lio providing beat box once again and played a few covers and originals. We hung out afterwards listening to more talent at the Open Mic and chatting with Tom, Rasheed and Lio.
Open Mic @ Belushi's Canal, Paris

Open Mic @ Belushi’s Canal, Paris

To finish off the night our good friend Jacob had asked us to perform a few songs at his restaurant a-Mi-Am-i. We used his electric guitar and played covers and original tracks to the diners and some friends of Jacob’s who had stopped by for a drink. It was a nice laid-back atmosphere and we ended up sitting out and chatting till the wee hours with Jacob and his wife.
We also met a very cheeky little boy, who was very taken with Alexis and his guitar skills (F minor in particular seemed to go down well).
Show @ a-Mi-Am-i, Paris

Show @ a-Mi-Am-i, Paris

Headed back down to Belushi’s Gare du Nord to try and get some sleep before our “sleeper” train to Berlin the following night – once again a big thanks must go out to Ben for arranging our shows at both Belushi’s in Paris.

Gig 8 – Saturday 3rd August @ Le Vieux Léon, Paris (evening acoustic set)

A nice relaxing morning; had coffee in the 9th and lunch in one of the many curry houses near Gare Du Nord, before our extra show at Belushi’s GDN. We played a chilled electro set and also a few acoustic tracks in the afternoon as a little warm up for our gig this evening at Le Vieux Léon.
We headed along to set up and played from 9pm to a lovely crowd. Our friend and fellow musician Charley came along to see us with her bass player / boyfriend Brendan and as always it was great to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place.

AlexisSs, Brendan, Charley, Carrie - outside Le Vieux Leon

AlexisSs, Brendan, Charley, Carrie – outside Le Vieux Leon

This was the show in Paris we’ve been most looking forward to and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Le Vieux Léon is a bistro / bar that has hosted some fantastic local acts in the past, so we were very pleased to be following in their footsteps. The bar itself is dark and cool (air-conditioned… well there are a couple of large fans), with a great cocktail list and super nice staff. Tunes on the stereo before we played included tracks by The Doors, Jane Birkin, Jimi Hendrix & Portishead, so it definitely had a “Parisian” vibe – exactly what we’ve been looking for in Paris. After our second set I went round with the mailing list and Charley (as my ‘dictionary’) and the response was excellent – lots of people were apologising for staying out-doors in the evening sunshine: “we were listening & enjoyed very much” they said. The crowd seemed really interested in our little tour and were please a band from Scotland would want to come and play at their local venues.
We hung out chatting and drinking till the wee hours and headed back along to Belushi’s GDN. It is a really nice walk during the day, but after dark it was a little less lovely and a lot more seedy.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Paris and we have decided to stick to the original billing and go back to Belushi’s Canal to play there.

Next gig: Sunday 4th August, 2013 from 9pm at Belushi’s Canal (19th)