French Rock Concert
Thursday night, Dr. B and I had the opportunity to attend our first french rock concert, with the band Louise Attaque. Our landlady's son is the drummer, and they are pretty much the most famous French band, and they tour all over the world. There is talk about them coming to New York in the near future.
Our seats at the Olympia were fantastic, and not just because they were free. We were dead center, mid-balcony, in cushy red velvet seats. The Olympia is quite intimate, as it seats only 2000 people, but those on the main level were all standing. (Not that it would have been bad to stand, but with my trick knee, I was thankful I didn't have to.) This was the 3rd sold out night in Paris, in the middle of their Autumn tour. The concert started with a DJ (not impressive), and an opening act band. Unfortunately, I had to go to my mental happy place during that one--the singer needs some serious work on her pitch (Aie!)
Then Louise Attaque came out, and they played a rockin' show. High energy, well-written songs. Fun to listen to, fun to dance to, and obviously crowd favorites. I have to say that the show was much better than the new album, which I like a lot, but is missing the raw energy they displayed in concert. If they recorded a live album, WHOA.
However, having been to a few American concerts, I did notice a few differences.
1. No one passed me any "funny stuff" to smoke.
2. I did not fear for my bodily harm--the dancing was very tame, controlled, polite. French dancing. No one flailed!
3. No one screamed. (In fact, a young kid behind us who had come with his dad actually fell asleep.)
4. I wore earplugs, but even if I hadn't, it wasn't ear-blisteringly loud like many American concerts are.
5. People were dressed very conservatively--like they were going to the library. I actually looked more "Rock Star" (in my new Stella McCartney shirt, funky art-deco chandelier earrings and dark jeans) than the singer from the aforementioned band that I won't name because I thought they were awful. Not that I minded looking a little like a Rock Star--I guess it was my Halloween since I didn't get one.
6. People weren't under the effects of lots of mind-altering substances, or if they were, they were very quiet about it.
7. No Mosh Pit.
8. A guy in front of me giving the "devil" hand gesture was wearing khakis, a sweater and a polo shirt. And, as expected, he had no idea where the beat was.
Although many of those things were positives, there was a feeling that was just missing. The music was fantastic, and Louise Attaque puts on a great show, but without a crowd responding with crazy enthusiasm and fierce excitement, I didn't leave feeling naturally high and completely exhausted like I would from a show in the US. The drummer had told his mom that the crowds in Paris are never that good, but they had been pleasantly surprised this time--it was better than usual from their perspective.
I would love to see them again, and definitely would go if presented another opportunity. I do hope that they can break into the American scene, because they are definitely "good enough" to make it, though US audiences may have some trouble with the language barrier. The songs, the writing, the stage presence--it's all there. So, if Louise Attaque plays in the US, PLEASE GO. I'll be jealous, because that would be the ultimate experience--a great French band plus a wild American crowd. Wooo!
PS I did get a lot of stares at the concert--possibly due to the Backstage Pass I was wearing. And yes, I met some members of the band. They may play like Rock Stars, but they greet you like French Guys--distant, cool--got a "Bonsoir" but that was about it. Maybe it was because DrummerMom introduced us as "Americans"--did that scare them?
I probably should have told them I went to school with Chuck Klosterman. Maybe that would have helped. (But, to be honest, I didn't like him much, and I'm sure he doesn't remember me.)