Monday, December 6, 2010
VLADRM in Bordeaux Friday the 13th 2008
I cant stress enough how beautiful the weather is right now. Au Cafe Pompier, where we played, is an art school. So lots of very young art students. Not at all different from any other art school in the world. The building was real old with huge, arched doorway fitted with another tiny door to walk through. The cafe area had murals, artwork, photos, an old upright piano that Jeff immediately sat down and started playing Monk tunes on. We walked around the narrow streets for awhile, stopped in a shop with a ton of synthesizers and pedals, etc. Came back and had a good soundcheck, dinner, wine, coffee and hash. Met Jay Decheman , a guy who looks vaguely like Steve McQueen and has a one-man electric organ band. DISCOUNT ORGANS was the name of the album, apparently. We also met Buzz, the promoter for the show, who rolled us plenty of cigarettes and had a stroke recently. He was friendly and funny and seemed healthy enough, I guess. Also met Simon, who seemed in charge of everything. He reminded me of a more subdued Matt Melton. Simon was to take care of us during our stay in Bordeaux, did an excellent job of it, and almost made me want to grow a mustache. I think he's got a band called the Weakends and they're gonna play with us sometime soon. I talked to the young, French kid from the opening band for awhile. Cowboys from Africa, they were called. He was excited about us being there, but I dont think he knew us from Adam. A few of the dudes saw Jay when he played there and liked the Barbaras. The kid mentioned Bennet alot. Ill have to remember to ask them about Bordeaux when I get back. While I was talking to the little dude out in the courtyard behind the cafe, the young girls surrounding us would pop up and fuck with the kid, making fun of him in order to flirt with me. His buddies thought this was hilarious. But I was deep in conversation with the kid about guitars and shit like that. To get the girls back I brought up a foolproof, entertaining line of questioning concerning dirty French words. The girls quickly became embarrassed and split.
His band sucked. I mean, they were just kids. It was sophomoric garage punk, but the kid was actually a pretty good guitarist, especially for his age. While they were playing, the club filled up with more kids, young girls, art-fags (literally - art students in half-drag), older rockers, etc. It was past midnight when they finished, although it seemed earlier because the sun goes down so late around here. They took forever to break their shit down and the kid never broke his shit down at all. His guitar (A nice Eko. Italian, I think) sat under my keyboards the whole show.
Once we started playing the place was packed. The people went bonkers. Fags dancing on top of the bar, people making out, singing the lyrics to the songs even if they didnt know them. I had a teenage girl standing on the bench right ahead and next to me the whole set, waving her hair and dancing and screaming in my ear the entire time. I watched the bench bounce up and down as she danced, but it never broke. Blah. I think she bought a record later, she enthusiastically promised me she would between our set and the encore. After our last song I went over to the merch table, within direct site of my shit setup only 15 feet away. As I was selling records with Nick, like every night, I noticed two young dudes dressed all in black, one with dark curly hair, looking at my setup. I thought I had seen them before that evening. I didnt see them rummaging around or anything. Regardless, after a couple minutes I left the merch table to go and check on my shit and immediately noticed that my Electro-Harmonix Small Stone phaser was gone. I double-checked the area very quickly, to make up for my bad memory and then firmly decided that it had been stolen. I raced around the club looking for the two dudes, mentioned it to Jeff and Simon very quickly but made my way around, into the courtyard and then out front. The school is flanked by an old hospital-turned-squat (common in Europe, I guess) and an enormous, old church. I'm sure I had a crazy look on my face. I was fucking livid. I searched around the lot, questioned a couple of drunk kids who I'm sure were mocking me, and went back inside. It was over, gone. It pretty much ruined my night. Then, to top it off, I misplaced my sunglasses for a few hours, only to find them in my keyboard case the next morning. That shit with the pedal, though. That will never happen again.
Nick deejayed records for awhile and the people at the show danced crunkenly for quite awhile until it was time to close up. Simon took us to an apartment nearby that was pretty small, but had enough mattreses laid out in the living room so that we could all sleep comfortably.
Early in the morning I could hear a baby crying in the hallway. I spoke out, with my eyes still closed, "Does anyone besides me hear that baby crying?"
Then the door opened and in walks Buzz, who later said he was still drunk. "I forgot my keys," he said, and walked into the kitchen where there was a rack of several dozen keys hanging from it. But behind him, standing in the doorway, is a little kid maybe 2 years old at the most, who isnt crying anymore. He's just staring into the room at the 4 of us sprawled out, bewildered. I looked up at him and said, "Bonjour." Jeff and Harlan also said hello. The kid just stared. He was dumbfounded. Then Buzz came back from the kitchen, scooped him up and split.
Later we met Simon back at the school, packed up our stuff and walked around for a bit. Ate a falafel, went to a record store where Nick found a Television Personalities record before I did. Is it better to start at the 'A's or the 'Z's when having a record-digging race?
There were all different types of people walking the streets outside. Middle Eastern folks, French wiggers, girls in high-heels. A scary looking little old guy was slowly walking in front of us, hunched over with a copy of a Stephen King novel in his hands, held behind his back. We thought he was half crazed and looking for prey. It was sunny and warm out and we headed back to the van, took some photos, said our goodbyes to Simon (who we were to hook up again with in Toulouse in a couple days), and split. Next was La Rochelle.