Friday, June 26, 2009
La Fête de la Musique
After the intrusion of the anarchist riot and the overt police presence in our quartier, which continued thorughout the night for many, many hours after the rioters had left, the annual La Fête de la Musique in Beaubourg finally got under way.
I had searched the web site and discovered that many of the bands playing my preferred styles of music were based around the Marais and Beaubourg, so we decided just to wander the streets here and see what would unfold.
The first group we stumbled across were in the oi punk vein, there was audience participation (or a friend of the band got up to sing a song as we arrived) and they played the genre rather well, we only caught four songs but they were fun and well played.
We continued wandering around the streets of The Marais and I bought myself a street beer. We found a few very popular areas where apartments were surrounded by people listening to the music booming from the upper levels. They were just straight dj'ing, no mixing or anything fancy, just playing songs loudly, like a juke box ... and they were the most popular? We left them to it.
Further ambling led us to a square with a cool young group playing cover versions of popular indie bands, such as The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys, as well as some tunes in french ... I am hoping they were originals. They weren't too bad, although the lead guitarist could have used a distortion (or fuzz or overdrive or something similar) effect pedal for his guitar solos ... they sort of disappeared in the sound of the band.
We continued our walk and in the distance heard a familiar tune commencing ... lo and behold Darren Hanlon was playing! We arrived to hear his final tune, Punks Not Dead ... sadly wishing we had arrived earlier (this hadn't been advertised, so we didn't know ... WE DIDN'T KNOW!!!) ...
Elizabeth and I continued our ambling but found only doof heads and disco queens in large groups, standing on the street listening to music booming from apartments that could be played on the radio, if the radio was turned up loudly enough ... not really what I expected from a day celebrating music?
By this stage Elizabeth had had enough, so I walked her home and grabbed a cold beer from the fridge - there's always cold beer in the fridge wherever I am living - and headed out again, through Beaubourg and towards Chatalet this time.
Chatalet was full of world music acts, which isn't really my thing, but on the walk back I found another young band, again playing cover versions. They were very cute, with a few little mistakes here and there, but were very well supported by the growing crowd.
This was one of the things I really enjoyed about La Fête de la Musique, it was supporting many young bands, giving them a venue and a new audience to play to and the experience of playing live.
I continued back to the Marais and just over the road from our apartment I found the band I most enjoyed on the evening The Arkitekts. A three piece with Tom Bass working very hard on bass guitar and keyboards, Vortex on drums and with their main man on guitars and vocals David Law.
They played an interesting mix of slightly goth, slightly grunge, slightly epic guitar rock ... maybe think The Doors meet Bauhaus downstairs at a avante-blues jams in a prog rock squat. I enjoyed their set thoroughly and probably spent an hour of the evening enjoying their tunes ... I even bought the CD.
After the sun had finally set I decided to take my CD home, and collect another beer before one final wander through The Marais in search of some tunes. The Arkitekts were still playing, so I enjoyed a few more of their tunes and off I wandered.
There was music at The Lizard Lounge where Darren Hanlon had played earlier, but it didn't really ring my bell. I found another band playing punk tunes, to a very appreciative sing-a-long audience, but their set ended too soon after I arrived.
After that it was pretty much just dj music with lots of seventies and eighties music (not even disco). This group above here were grooving to The Boys Town Gang version of Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You and then You're The One That I Want from Grease, which was my cue to escape.
By the time I wandered past the Cox Bar in The Marais it was well and truly disco hour, which most everyone else seemed happy about ... the streets were still packed.
But the rivers on the streets were urine and it was time for this guitar lover to head home. But it had been an enjoyable night, if a bit light on for rock music.