Monday, June 23, 2008

Fete de La Musique, Pt 2

A few rules for next Fete de la Musique:

Bring along some friends. Without Emmanuel and Michel on equipment and crowd control, we could not have done 4 shows in 4 towns in the space of 6 hours. If there had actually ever been a crowd, they surely would have played the heavies with charm.

Nico (patron of le Lawrence d'Arabie), Michel, Emmanuel, Amy & Eric

Make sure you're louder than the generator. Ours sounded like a small plane taking off. Thankfully we had a long, long extension cord, so we could play twenty feet away from it.

If you set up across from a church on Saturday afternoon in June, there is an excellent chance of being drowned out by the sound of wedding bells. The newlyweds surely got their money's worth that day - the off-key clanging went on for a good ten minutes while we waited in the baking sun.


When stopped by the police, be honest. As the gendarmes pulled us over for a "routine check" we considered telling them we were daytrippers enjoying the scenery. Then we remembered the posters we'd stuck on the sides of the car. They demanded all our details - so that they can come see us play next week.

Pick some slightly bigger towns/villages. Notice there's pretty much no one in the photos but us. This part of France is, shall we say, tranquil. It was best when we had listeners, gawkers, and the occasional dancer.

Face your enemy. We saw a poster proclaiming that our arch-rivals were playing outside a bar in the village. We showed up to play (thankfully, they had already finished, so we didn't have to listen to it) and taught them a lesson. Don't. Mess. With. Wreckless Eric. &. Amy. Rigby.

La Cabane (enemy territory)

It's hard to keep looking groomed after hours of sweating and playing. And it's wonderful to stop caring.


It's worth taking a risk. From the time Eric and I talked about doing a commando raid for Fete de la Musique, I kept wanting to back out. I wished we'd gotten a spot on one of the many organized stages or at a bar in the region. When we went to pick up the generator and it turned out to be super loud and impractical, I really hoped that meant we could put the silly idea to rest and stay home.

But Saturday was one of the best days I've spent in France. With all the traditions and prescribed ways of doing things that exist here, it was such a relief to go right in the face of all that and just do what we do. I felt like myself in a way I don't often get to, what with trying to speak the language and fit in somehow.

Michel, Amy, Eric, Emmanuel, Nico

In the end, the day really was about freedom. And we got three other gigs out of it. No sitdowns required.


Rosie said...

sounds like you had a super fete de la musique...I am rather disappointed that you didnt have a confrontation with your rivals. We could have exchanged bar room brawls

travelling, but not in love said...

Wow! Looks and sounds great!

I love fete de la musique in villages - a whole new meaning to the event!

And I'm leaving Lyon before the nuits de fourviere kicks off. I;ve seen some great acts in the roman amphitheatres where the festival is held - Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Joan as Police Woman, Franz Ferdinand....

Dick said...

Distance is the policy with generators on open air gigs. Either that or give the drummer a rest and play everything at two-stroke diesel speed.

I remember Wreckless Eric playing Guildford on the legendary Stiffs Tour in 1977. Good to know that he's still on the go.

halfpear said...

Wow, does Eric still use that Micro-frets guitar on your poster?

Love reading your blog, just makes me miss my friend that much more. But I'm so glad to see life's so good for you now.


amy said...

You're right Rosie, everyone was too polite! No blood spilled at all, like at your bar...

tbnil good luck with the move. I think we're going to try to get to Lyon this summer for one of the concerts.

Dick, I think you've given me either a new band name or at least a song title (the two-stroke!)

And Peter, how great to hear from you. I really miss seeing you! Yes Eric does still bring out that green monster although the Starfire seems to be the new favorite.

I loved reading your essay on songwriting in the Times (but the accompanying clip of Black & White still leaves me shaking my head in wonder - how do you do it?! some mysteries can never be explained. )

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy & Eric - it's Rob (the ex-guitarist of the enemy) - thought I'd let you know that, while you went on to be famous, and are still now as I write this on your world tour, The Papys fell apart after our gig that night at the Cabane, never to play again in that incarnation. Nowadays - I just play with myself at home (wol), waiting for the big gig in the sky. We (Sue and I) keep an eye on your calender though, ya gotta KNOW YOUR ENEMY ..!! Cheers - Rob 'n' Sue