dimanche 19 septembre 2010

Grrrr Block Party - le quartier Montmartre - Fortune + We Are Enfant Terrible @ La Machine, 17/09/10

There is something going down in the neighbourhood of Montmartre this evening and, as a newcomer to Paris, I feel it only fitting I investigate this further. Held through the idyllic and quaint streets of Montmartre, over 30 boutiques, bars and galleries are partaking in the second hosting of 'Grrrr Block Party'. Parisians spill out into the tiny back streets whilst the crème de la crème of DJs and performers delight and entertain. It's comparable to that of a city street carnival only on a much vaster scale and all the pubs involved are cosy, independent establishment with surly French barmen stashing away the money for each Grolsch beer [putting the Grrrr into the Block Party] in the drawer of an old bureau. Even little corner shops have installed and partitioned off their aisles to become a bar in themselves and are offering their cans at a reduced price. There is just such a great feeling here; a youthful and vibrant spirit soaked in rose wine and Kronenbourg [that's mille six cent soixante quatre]. As for the [frankly stupid] motorists who try and drive down the roads here, as the party envelopes all of the arrondissement, they are simply met with jeers and their car suspension to be severely tested as they are rocked to and fro by the roof rack. Monkeys on safari or l'espirit du block?

The after party that follows this evenings soiree is hosted at The Machine which is directly next to the iconic Moulin Rouge. Amongst the DJs down in the Machine's glitzy basement, there are two bands on the bill tonight, both of whom are co—incidentally Paris based. We Are Enfant Terrible are an odd collection of people to look at on stage. They comprise of a guitarist, [and clear brains behind most of the musical arrangements and use of the laptop] a drummer/total showman [who spends most of his time bouncing off his drum stool and largely playing the fool] as well as a front woman [with a very fragile frame and in a shocking scarlet jumpsuit] holding the mic and audiences attention. The songs are a heady mix of electro and punk but their live performance is rather ruined thanks to the parading percussion section; at one point, the drummer actually ascends the side of the stage to make some kind of heroic dive back onto his kit but this is more stupid man than super. The last song and the band bash out a brave but fantastic spin on Nirvana's 'Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,' which really plays on their dynamics of digital beats and purring Parisian vocals. In short, definitely listen to We Are Enfant Terrible and if you ever get the chance to see them live, position yourself as far away from the drummer as possible.

Oddly enough, I actually reviewed Fortune's album 'Staring At The Ice Melt,' when I was writing in Norwich and, with a flattering 7/10, [which speaks very highly from my normally barbed tongue] I am very excited by the fortune of finding the Parisian pop tarts headlining tonight's bill. Fortune, in fact, began life as Lionel Pierres' solo project but has been effortlessly translated with sparkling synths and swelling bass lines for the live arena. Fortunes sound is stuffed and drizzled with hot pop hooks, jagged guitar chords and vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a Hot Hot Heat record. Their songs, and lyrical content, embrace going out, celebrating and finding paradise; the natural musings of a group brewed in the city of love. The drum outro of their latest single ‘Bully’ alone would make anyone want to sit in their bedroom alongside their laptop and cook up similar electro goodness. A fortuitous co-incident finding the band on at the end Montmartre's marvel of a street party, j’adore Fortune.

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