So we’re in France for a day. We arrived last night to a bit of a fleabag hotel quite far from the center of Paris. We placed our bags in our rooms and made haste for the center. Had a nice night walking around. On the way back we had a cab ride with a driver who asked us to appraise his singing to the music of Elvis Presley and an Italian pop singer I can’t remember… He really gave it his all. It was very touching, if a bit awkward.
Woke up this morning and discovered a review of our Tourcoing show from one David at Froggy Delight. I *think* it’s a good review! Google translate seems to translate it as such!
Thanks again, David! It really was a pleasure!two more under the belt!
So when last I wrote the guys and me had just had a really good show in Tourcoing. It probably had something to do with having made it there in one piece… this I’ve written already. Anyway, so the next day we were off to Le Mans. It was a long drive, if I remember correctly it was close to 7 hours… We fill the time on the road watching movies. For instance we watched Hitchcock’s Frenzy twice! We really loved that one. Or we watched The Hangover without too many laughs.
When we finally arrived at the hotel in Le Mans it was very strange to look at. It kind of reminded me of a corporate Overlook Hotel - you know, the famous haunted hotel from The Shining. Here’s a shot of it:
Anyway, the internet was solid and the rooms were extremely clean and stylish. So we were really happy for this night.
The next day we played on a barge venue called Peniche Excelcior. It was right across from a big mall with a McDonalds. We were really happy to see a big supermarket because frankly we were all a bit sick of eating out and wanted to make our own lunch. So we went and bought a bunch of ingredients for sandwiches and walked out to the water. What we found looked a bit like a small dock, yet we guessed this was probably the actual venue.
Soon we heard a cranking sound and a portion of the barge began to rise, followed by an arm setting out a metal support pole. This was indeed the venue! We were thrilled!
Just before the show both me and Ben had sudden stomach attacks! It was so strange. The boat was completely packed and perhaps a bit intimidating. I’m not really sure how else to explain our sudden nervous stomach situation as everyone ate the same food but only Ben and I got sick. Anyway, this is one reason why we were grateful for the close proximity of a McDonalds! The show went over really well. It was a very small venue indeed, but so unique and strange. So much fun. The crew and the folks who set up the gig there were extremely nice too. Here’s a shot we took right after the show:
The next day we drove to Strasbourg for the Ososphere Festival. Strasbourg seemed nice, if a bit cool in temperament upon our night time arrival. Still, the hotel was again clean and had even faster internet, so I was happy! I could skype again rather than use my massively expensive cell phone!
The gig… well, I suppose we got downgraded in venues because what was supposed to have been a 900 capacity crowd in a theatre called La Laiterie turned out to be more like 150 capacity in Le Mole! But who’s complaining! An audience is an audience. And this festival had such great vibes! Such a massive amount of excitement. During the morning we had gone to a laundrymatte and met a young woman studying French in Strasbourg named Marianne. She had explained that everyone was talking about this exciting festival.
The festival’s main music staging area was just awesome!! Here are a few shots I took during the day while folks were setting things up:
When we arrived for the gig at 11:00PM (we were set to go on at midnight) there was a massive crowd and all were rowdy and drunk. They barely let us pass in our vehicle. Folks were pushing against the van and slapping it jokingly. As we approached the Mole we could hear extremely loud dance music or heavy rock from several other venues. How the hell would our much more… hmmm, what’s the word? I don’t really want to say folky, but I suppose there really are folky aspects to my music, and these are the elements that clashed here… how would these songs work? The Turn? Death of a Son? The Sad Song??? We all started laughing. But to me it seemed like such a great and fun challenge. So we just turned our nerves into great excitement, took Moon After Berceuse off the list and jumped in.
It went GREAT!
The crowd was great! Super responsive. Super attentive. My new friend Marianne from the laundrymatte, who I put on the guest list, came and said she had never experienced such a respectful audience. All we noticed were a lot of smiles. At the end we took a shot with the crowd:
We were all so pleased with the show. It was so much fun, such a great communal thing… But there was very little time and we all had to quickly clear our stuff off the stage for the next performing band and before you knew it… every one was gone! It was a bit sad. I had to go back to my room as I needed to get some sleep but everyone had already been absorbed into the festival, so there were no goodbyes…
The next afternoon we met my friend Geraldine, who picked us up at the hotel with her friend G.B. (I hope I have spelled/remembered that correctly!) G.B. produces music videos and films. Very nice guy.
Anyway, we walked around Strasbourg and had Spatzel in Little France. They were absolutely delicious and, wow, what a gorgeous city! I’m going to let the pictures do the talking now…
After a relaxing afternoon me, Sylvain, Charlie and Ben walked back to the hotel, singing motown classics along the roads.
By the way, I am so touched by the great relationship Ben and Charlie have. Charlie, if I haven’t already mentioned it, is Ben’s son. He’s a very talented kid, but very kind too. He obviously takes after his dad…
Tomorrow we drive to Paris, the just over halfway point on the road to our next gig: Brest!
the oddness and mysteriousness of it all…
Life is so strange. It’s odd to be on tour. Really odd. For me, at least. Three years ago I would never have thought this could be happening. Five years ago I would never have dreamed of having so many people listening to my music, much less arriving in a city I have never even heard of and watching people I’ve never met mouth the words to my songs…
I consider myself extremely fortunate. I suppose I have plenty of bad luck as well (such as my experience with all the computer’s I’ve ever bought dying within a year! haha!) But here’s just a bit of thanks for the people who support my music, to my friends from I Am Your Autopilot, and to Scalde, to all the people who like to exist in the same bubble of music-love as I do.
catch up from the outskirts of Paris
We have just played our first three gigs in France for the tour. The first was in the city of Nantes as part of the Scopitone festival. It went well. Things were a little bit off between us, so we were all a bit dissatisfied, but we got a nice response from the audience. The festival itself was very cool visually. Most of it took place in a very large hanger dissected by tall curtained installations.
The next gig was in Nancy. Nancy, first of all, is a really pretty city. Actually, the place where we were staying was almost like an enormous mall, but somehow this kind of thing makes me feel comfortable! It’s odd. The venue was super cool, all red and modern, but we were not on the main stage. It was a bit of a smaller room in the shape of a cube. Again, I think the show went over well, and we had a lot of fun, but somehow something was still missing between all of us! Maybe we hadn’t quite hit our stride yet…
The next day we were meant to leave quite early to get to Tourcoing for a early evening Sunday gig. But nobody was eating breakfast! Around the time we were scheduled to leave the Pilots started showing up looking… well, quite hung over. But nobody else came down until about 45 minutes after we were meant to leave… and further delays had us setting out an hour and a half late.
So in the van everyone, except for me and Mido (who was driving) was asleep. We were driving top speed on the motorway. Suddenly the van seemed to be driving on some odd ribbed concrete - the whole van started to vibrate. Everyone opened their eyes in a panic as the van began to swerve to the left and right. It seemed like were were about to go out of control, and this lasted for about 10 or 15 seconds. Thankfully Mido kept his head and got us over to the shoulder where we discovered that one of the tires had blown up and was absolutely shredded. We were lucky to not have had something far more serious happen…
Beyond the significance of having made it through this potentially deadly experience alive, this would be our last performance with Graeme on bass during this leg of the tour so we all just kind of brought all our emotions and finally gave the kind of show we had always intended to! It was really emotional and energetic. The audience seemed quite moved as well. And the venue was just great. Great sound, great crew. Just an overall memorable experience. We sat afterwards and ate dinner with the theatre crew.
Now I’m in Paris, feeling a bit under the weather. I think I’m going to take a bath and just stay in and read tonight. Next stop Le Mans…on the train to Nantes
So we arrived at our hotel and I could barely believe we were off the motorway! Just a two minute walk to the left brings you to a cluster of oil refinery buildings, one minute to your right brings you to a cluster of small domelike huts. A glance behind the hotel brings a view of the mountains and an old church! Despite this being a very industrial area, I kind of like it! It reminds me of where my grandmother lived in Huntington beach, California.
Anyway, the nextday we met with Sylvain and saw Lyon for the first time. I love this city a lot. I love that there are so many hills, making a great many beautiful vistas. Also there was a crafts fair taking place and I ended up buying 5 small handmade instruments.
We also visited two enormous churches, one of which was just a bit too decorated, but the other of which had a wonderful clock which had a huge crowd gathered around it. We waited around and five minutes later it tolled and strange little marching toys emerged from it’s framework!
The next day, after an accupuncture appointment Sylvain set up for me I was really happy to be greeted by the image of all my friends in the band on bicycles! We rented them from the street and biked around all afternoon.
Sylvain’s kind friend Colas joined us as well. It was a really nice day!
This post was writing on a train, alone heading towards Nantes for a solo performance which happened last night! Tonight we have a full band performance and apparently it’s sold out! We’re all very excited and happy to be getting back to work! I’ll write all about Nantes tomorrow!