Posts Tagged ‘summer tour 2015’

Leaving Paris
We didn’t have to be at CDG Airport until after 3pm, so we had one final morning (after packing) to enjoy Paris. We started off at Café Martin for one last coffee before grabbing some sandwiches and cakes and heading to out to another local park, Le square Édouard-Vaillant. This is the closest green space to the apartment and despite being fairly small, it has a kids play area, a bandstand at its centre plus some greenhouses and a statue of Léon Gambetta (a French statesman, prominent during and after the Franco-Prussian War).

lunch in the park

lunch in the park

We ate our lunch and watched as the Parisians as they went about their daily business. The park is located between the Town Hall of the 20th arrondissement and the Hôpital Tenon so it’s a fairly busy area. There always seems to be time for cake in Paris and we weren’t the only people in the park that were indulging in this past time.

“there’s always time for cake in Paris”

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, checked in, dropped off the oversized luggage and made it through security (only losing a couple of items from my suitcase of leads, microphones and other electrical equipment). Then after explaining that there was nothing wrong with my eye, we waited for the flight to board.

at CDG airport, leaving Paris

at CDG airport, leaving Paris

That was it; our petit tour estival was over and tomorrow we were going to be hosting a preview party at New Hellfire Club, Glasgow for our new music video.

Listen To Me: preview party at NHC, Glasgow

Listen To Me: preview party at NHC, Glasgow

Concert at La Dame de Canton, Paris (with AsOne)
This was our last full day in Paris for this trip and tonight we return to La Dame de Canton for a show with our favourite French band – AsOne.
Before that there was time to visit markets, wander streets, drink coffee, sit in parks and eat some lunch. We also found time to do some promotion for the show whilst spotting some great street art & funny menus (seriously).

Chip Butty (seriously)

Chip Butty (seriously) – The Sunken Chip

After what turned out to be quite a busy day, we got ourselves together for the show. Packing ourselves and the equipment into the tiny lift in our building was the first challenge, but that was pretty much the only challenge of the evening.

Sign at La Dame de Canton

Sign at La Dame de Canton

Jumping on the METRO at Gambetta, changing at Nation (the area we stayed in last summer) and finally arriving at Quai de la Gare in under 30 minutes all seemed too easy. We arrived at the venue (an old Chinese junk boat which is moored in the Seine) and AsOne were already there, getting up & getting ready to sound check.

AsOne sound check at La Dame de Canton, Paris

AsOne sound check at La Dame de Canton, Paris

It was great to see them all again – they really are a great bunch of musicians and lovely people to hang out with too. They’ve been taking some time out since last year to write & record new AsOne material (which I can’t wait to hear), Chloe has her solo project & Miam (her cabaret duo project) and Damien has recently started a new project too, so this alongside family life and work commitments I’m amazed they found time to do anything together. Playing shows with bands where there are 4+ members reminds me how easy we have it with the Sacre Noir set up. There are 6 members of AsOne and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must be to organise. However, as they sound checked I started to remember just why I love this band so much and was just thankful that they do manage to organise themselves.
Our sound engineer for the evening, Romain, was great! He was just back from touring with IGIT (French Folky, Bluesy singer / songwriter who fuses electronics & loops to offer a modern Tom Waits style setting for his distinctive voice) and made everything seem very simple. He was friendly and relaxed and patient with our stilted French. The team at La Dame de Canton have been truly great to work with; incredibly supportive and professional from start to finish, we love working with people like this.

Sacre Noir live at La Dame de Canton, Paris (photo by Chacal Fréville)

Sacre Noir live at La Dame de Canton, Paris (photo by Chacal Fréville)

It was a great night. We ate, drank, played and danced, enjoyed the music and company and when time came to go ‘home’, we left knowing that this wont be the last time we meet with AsOne. There is a definite connection between the two acts and maybe one day we’ll even tempt them over to the UK to play some concerts here.

AsOne / Sacre Noir - Paris July 2015

AsOne / Sacre Noir – Paris July 2015

We gratefully accepted a life home to Gambetta with all the equipment from Roberto (AsOne collaborator & poet / musician). As we drove through the city in the early hours of the morning, the street lights sparkled, the bars and late-night cafes began to close and the bakers started work at the Boulangerie et Patisserie.

The evening ended with the discovery that my left eye had become blood-shot (like seriously). . . too much sun is what Google told me was the most likely cause.
So off to bed for one last time in this fantastic city as tomorrow we head home to another.

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.” (http://arabstazy.net)

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
https://www.facebook.com/events/615218981926641/

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
LINK TO EVENT

We decided to only play 1 show in London this year & we were really pleased to be invited to play a showcase gig at The New Cross Inn. Unfortunately when we woke up it was clear Alexis wasn’t going to make this one as he was feeling sick (nothing major just a dodgy tummy), but as a consequence tonight’s gig was going to have be a solo show.
Katy, the promoter at NXI was really supportive and was still keen for there to be a Sacre Noir set on the night, plus friends still planned to come down and see the show, so as the old saying goes “the show must go on”.
I set off from our base at Ealing around 4.30pm. Perhaps I over estimated the journey time just a little, but travelling on my own and knowing my inability to follow a map, I felt sure I’d get lost at some point and thought “better safe than sorry”. So after a couple of underground line changes and a short trip on the over-ground system, I found myself in New Cross. The venue for tonight’s show sits opposite the world famous Goldsmith’s College and the area was buzzing with hip, young, creative types. There was an open evening at Goldsmith’s, (invitations to the gathering with free beer and snacks were abundant) the sun was shining and everyone seemed to be out in the streets, drinking and laughing and enjoying the early evening sunshine. Chalkboard at The New Cross Inn

I declined the offer to party with the cool kids and decided to go straight to the venue to have a drink whilst waiting for friends and catching up on some reading. The barmaid was Scottish & I immediately felt more relaxed; she got me a drink and swapped my Scottish notes for English ones as apparently Scottish tender is still a bugbear of many shop-keepers in London, perhaps more so since the referendum. Last time we were in London there was so much chat about the Scottish referendum. This year, nothing! Not a word about politics from anyone. This seemed very odd to me as the topic seems to have disappeared completely in London, which is in stark contrast to the continued engagement in Scotland.
Before the show I chatted with the guitarist from The Vintage Society about booking gigs and the London music scene, made friends with the local punters, got new lyrical ideas from a nice man called Olli and then my friends showed up (thank you guys). As great as it is to make new friends it’s always so great to catch up with old mates you don’t get to see as often as you’d like. And these guys are very great friends who have made the effort to come see up play in London for the last 3 years. We chatted about life, holidays, new jobs and cars, reminisced about mutual friends, gigs and weddings as well as discussing the cuteness of the children in our lives (some peoples ears must have been burning: Sadia). Some other friends showed up & before I knew it the time had come for me to take to the stage and deliver a solo Sacre Noir show.

Sacre Noir (photo by Lisa Duncan)

Aside from a couple of minor technical difficulties, everything seemed to go pretty well. It felt very unusual being onstage without Alexis (it’s odd enough without Phil these days TBH). No-one to make eye contact with or to share those live moments that you can only really share with band members. No-one to bounce off for energy & no-one to give me a knowing ‘it’s cool’ smile when things go wrong. The set wasn’t perfect but no-one seemed to mind too much and everyone was full of praise afterwards. The new tracks went down particularly well and the final track in the set “She Stands Tall” got the best reaction by far. With the addition of live Kaoss Pad synth and atmospheric noises I think it provided a moment of difference / interest in the set.

The line up of bands that the promoter had put together was very good indeed. 1st up were the very young looking Kaleidos Eye, a new 4-piece band from London. Fresh faced and perhaps a little nervous they opened up the night & powered their way though a set of pretty catchy original tracks, but it was their chosen cover that seemed to win over the most fans; a version of Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. Kaleidos Eye
The Vintage Society are a relatively new 3-piece (guitar, vocals, drums) based in London, and despite having only played a handful of shows before this event, they delivered a really strong set. Bryony (vocals) has a current yet old-soul sound to her vocals, and her on-stage banter was maybe limited to a few introductions and comments but they were funny and warm and if I hadn’t already been loving their style this would have won me over for sure. Musically I loved their sound and will definitely be spreading the word about their FREE EP. Hopefully we’ll meet again one day, maybe even some gig swaps in the future. The Vintage Society
The headline act of the night were The Tinun’s from France. Just a duo for their London shows but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, especially when you are as cool as these two Paris-based ladies. The Tinun's
I didn’t get a chance to chat to them on the night and had to rush of for a tube at the end of the night, but their set was super confident and I’m sure they’ve made some new fans in the UK aside from myself. They reminded me a little bit of The White Stripes, not just because they were a guitar/vocal & drums duo, but more due to the repetitive nature of their tracks, simple pounding drum parts and driving guitar riffs. It was understated and not the kind of music I think many of the locals were expecting to hear from two delicate French girls. Just goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover.

I made it back to Ealing before 1am and Alexis seemed better… A good night’s sleep and we’d be ready to face the world again.

NEXT GIG:                 Sunday 19th July 2015 @ Le Gambetta 4 Euro from 8pm
PLAYING WITH:         Appalache & Mettani Poster for Le Gambetta, Paris EVENT PAGE