samedi, mars 10, 2007

Down, but not out

Well, as I had mentioned at the end of yesterday's post, I was feeling pretty barf-tastic this morning and in no mood to do anything but convalesce. I slept in, then spent most of the day trying to re-hydrate myself and eating small portions of bland food (stale bread and soup). I also spent a bit of time blogging and reading stuff on the net, but most of the day was a loss, really.

However, I *did* have stuff to do that night, so I had to convince myself that I was actually in shape to go out. By approx 10pm, I had cleaned myself up and headed out the door

Be My Chose and Syl Sounday @ On cherche encore

This wasn't a club night so much as a bar night, running from 21h00 to 1h30. I got there around 22h00, in time to see the end of Syl Sounday's set. I hung around and caught most of Be My Chose's set (Fantomette and Nathan), but left around 1h00 to run over to the Rex for my next engagement.

While I was there, I ran into Laurent (fresh back from doing sound at a huge royal wedding in Riyadh), with whom I had a good long chat. It was great catching up with everyone and collecting recent news. Labelle Records was releasing an EP pretty soon, including a track by Laurent. At the same time, Be My Chose had separated from Labelle and created their own collective (whose name escapes me at the moment). Laurent also had some great stories about the trip to Riyadh (it was for a princess, who apparently wanted a "Versailles" theme for her wedding).

Aside from Nathan, Fantomette and Laurent, I saw about 8 other friends and acquaintances, which made me feel like my fieldwork was finally coming along. I was also reminded of how much this blog circulates outside of my knowledge; at least 4 different people approached me, saying "Hey! I like what you're doing with your blog! That review of that last party was great!" There was always a mixture of surprise and pleasure--like being seen naked when you sort of wanted to be seen anyway. There's something fun but also a bit risky about leaving a residue of yourself on the Internet for others to find. Speaking of which, I need to work on my MySpace profile!

Sender Records @ the Rex

0h00-2h30: Bloody Mary

I ran from the previous place to the nearest subway stop, where I ran into two friends, R. and C., who were also heading toward the Rex. We chatted about my PhD project and C. reminded me to make the pilgrimage to Berlin while I'm in Europe. We got to the Rex just before 1h30 (the cutoff time for guestlist), and R. and C. were kind enough to let me take their spare spot on the guestlist, so in we went. I also ran into S. in the lineup, who I've hung out with on previous occasions.

Bloody Mary's set was actually really nice. Although I don't have any video clips of her performance, I could describe it as very much microhouse: take the syncopation and funk of house, the punchy bass and thin textures of minimal techno and add the unconventional timbre of glitch music. I would've actually been happier to see her spin the closing set at 4h30, rather than Benno Blome. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the last hour or so of her set.

Unfortunately, I didn't really get a good portrait photo of Bloody Mary, but I got a bunch of colourful crowd shots that I quite like. As before, these ones don't have much focus, but capture a lot of the feel of the evening.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

2h30-3h30: Pan/Tone

I was really impressed with the set from Pan/Tone (who is apparently an Ontario boy--go home team!). As his set began, R., C. and I all pushed to the front for a better view of things. Things got really packed very quickly, so unfortunately it was hard to dance. Despite that, I did manage to get a one pic and a bit of video:

Thankfully, the video spares me the trouble of describing the set's sound in detail, but I can probably summarize it as less house and more techno, spanning from a minimal-ish sound at the beginning to a noisy, acid-house-y sort of techno later on. Unfortunately, there were some pretty substantial technical problems that brought the set to an early close. I wasn't able to figure out whether the problem was with his laptop, his firewire audio box, or the club's system. Either way, after about 3 different outages and frantic fixes, he gave up and unplugged his laptop. Bloody Mary and Benno Blome threw down some records for a few minutes while Pan/Tone tore down his kit and Misc. put up theirs.

3h30-4h30: Misc.

Alas, no pictures or video for this set. I had put my bag down and hidden it under the stage area, but things go so crowded that I couldn't really go back to my bag to retrieve my camera when I wanted to. Also, Misc.'s set was a lot of fun and I sort of forgot to be "documentary" about it.

Misc.'s set followed well from Pan/Tone's, being entirely techno in sound (not a trace of microhouse) and louder/more intense. They tended to use bass kicks that were less punchy and more round, and the middle and high frequency bands tended to be quite dense. They were particularly fond of analog synth-like sounds, it seemed.

4h30-6h00: Benno Blome

Shortly after Benno Blome started, I finally threw in the towel and went home. I was still weak and sore from being so ill the same morning, so it was a wonder that I lasted as long as 4h30. I hunted down R. and C. and made my goodbyes, fought to get my jacket from coat check, and hopped on the bus home.

I was approached by a guy on the bus, asking for a cigarette. His dress, body, and bodily habitus marked him as a "banlieuesard"--a term for the collection of working-class North and West Africans that were brought into France during the post-war period and settled into the regions around Paris. Whereas a lot of racial and class fear in the U.S.A. is often directed towards black and latino bodies in the inner-city, the same kinds of anxieties and prejudices are directed outwards to the suburbs and onto Arab-Berber and West-African bodies here. Anyway, I told him that I didn't have any cigarettes, and when he didn't seem to believe me, I opened my bag to show him that there were none. At this point, he suddenly became very talkative (he was rather drunk) and interested in my welfare. As we both got off the bus near Port des Lilas, he advised me to "cover" myself more. Essentially, he thought that I was being too forthright and open and that I was liable to get mugged or otherwise exploited for it. As we walked toward my building (and his next bus stop), he showed me the lacerations on his legs where he had been beaten by police earlier that night. He didn't seem too angry with them; he was happy they didn't arrest him and let him go home. With that, we arrived at my door and parted ways. I was pretty sure he was heading in the wrong direction, but he insisted that there was another bus to Porte de Bagnolet just around the corner.

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