vendredi, janvier 16, 2009

Mobilee Night at Le Rex

Although I didn’t have to work today, I did head into work to join the rest of the office in celebrating the boss’s 40th birthday. After some tasty food and champagne, I got ready to head home and work on a fellowship application. The deadline for the American Musicological Society’s AMS50 fellowship had sort of snuck up on me, so I was scrambling to put together the paperwork and get letters of recommendation.

These plans were impeded for a while by a bit of a scare upon leaving the office. I headed by my bank to cancel this automatic magazine subscription that they had put me on, and in the process I put down my bag in the banker’s office (who scolded me for not making an appointment in advance to cancel a subscription to some stupid lifestyle magazine), and forgot about it. Thankfully, I didn’t make it very far; I got to the nearby Vélib station to get a bike, reached for my Vélib card, and realized that my bag wasn’t there.

I scrambled back to the bank and asked the woman to check in her office for me (she wouldn’t let me check it myself) and she said there was nothing. So I headed back to the office and turned the place upside-down looking for my bag. I told all of my co-workers, who got all worried and started looking all over the building as well. I had my wallet, house keys, cellphone and identification in there, so it would be a huge problem if I didn’t find it.

Desperate, I finally went back to the bank to ask again, and the banker produced the bag. Apparently, she hadn’t looked under the chair where I was sitting. She said this with no word of apology for not letting me look for it myself and then doing a shitty job of looking for it. Ugh, French financial institutions are horrible beasts.

Anyway, I eventually got home and got to work on the fellowship paperwork, which took most of the afternoon and evening. I also had a teleconference meeting at around 20h30 with folks back in Chicago to interview a candidate who would replace me next year in Paris. The meeting took a lot longer than we had expected, so by 22h00 I was just hanging up with them and getting ready to go out.

Before going to Le Rex for the Mobilee label night, I headed over to S. and D.’s place for a pre-party apéro. Fantômette and her girlfriend were there, along with a pair of friends that I hadn’t seen since their bon voyage party in early November. We had a great time catching up, chatting, and also eating D.’s delicious apple-goat cheese phyllo pastries.

But when it came time to head to the club, most everyone bailed out and it came down to just S., D., and me. Well, “three’s company,” as they say.

We all had Vélib cards, so we grabbed bikes and headed over to the Rex, which was about 10 minutes away, taking the back streets. (You can get there in 5 minutes, but you have to take main streets and deal with traffic.) After going around in circles looking for free spots on a Vélib station, we eventually got one and then got in line. S. and D. were on the guestlist, so I followed them in and S. gave me one of his Rex passes. The doorman seems to have taken a shine to me, as he called down to the box office “Three [free entries]!” instead of “Two plus a pass!” So I gave S. back his pass and thanked him.

Mobilee Night at Le Rex

0h00-3h30: Pan Pot

Unfortunately, we had taken a long time to finally leave S. and D.’s place and head over to the club, so we only caught the last 30 minutes of Pan Pot’s set. This was a bit of a bummer, since I have seen Anja Schneider and Marcin Czubala (the other two acts) several times before and I hadn’t seen these guys more than once.

Anyway, what we did hear of their set was really good. The mixing was smooth and well-paced, with very effective manipulation of EQ levels to give their set some shape. I just wish we had gotten here a bit earlier! And I wish Pan Pot hadn’t been relegated to the opening act…

3h30-4h00: Marcin Czubala live

Czubala’s set was solid, although not quite as great as what we heard from him at the Mobilee Summer Soirée [LINK] at Rechenzentrum this summer in Berlin. The set started off pretty solid, then alternated between frustratingly long low-intensity moments and exciting high-points, and then finally attempted some sort of large-scale dénouement at the end that wasn’t engaging at all for me. The majority of the set was still solid, but the pacing and the management of the cycle of high/low, departure/return in his set wasn’t effective.

At some point during his set, a friend of mine that works for the Rex plowed through the crowd and grabbed my shoulder, asking me, “Hey, you’re Peruvian, aren’t you?” Yes…half-Peruvian and born in Canada, but yes. She grabbed my hand and dragged me through the crowd up to the DJ booth, where she pulled me into the booth. In the most-exclusive space of the club, the DJ booth, I was surrounded by Pan Pot, Anja Schneider, and this short guy with a shaved head and a goatee. My friend presented me to this last guy, saying, “Hey, Luis, this is Luis! He’s also Peruvian!” As it turns out, I’m not the only Peruvian dude named Luis in Paris. Also, he lived in Berlin for a bit, just like me (although he lived there longer).

It’s funny how this little bit of commonality created this opening for a conversation that was both brief and surprisingly intimate. We talked about what we’re doing in Paris, what we did in Berlin, and what we do for work. He offered me some champagne from the collective bottle back there in the booth. And then, when he mentioned that he was going to move to New York for a while, I suddenly offered to put him in touch with my sister so that she could give him a tour of the Peruvian / South-American areas of NYC. We finished our 5-minute-long conversation by exchanging emails, and headed off in our own directions. I guess what surprised my about our conversation was that, based on sharing a name, ethnicity and some affinities for Berlin, I felt comfortable offering the tour-guide services of my sister on another continent. Mind you, when he hinted at crashing at her place, I gave him a polite version of “No.”

4h30-6h00: Anja Schneider

Ya know, it was a good, solid set. The track selection was generally good and her mixing was flawless. She was clearly playing to the typical Rex Friday-night crowd, which expects harder techno, so her sound was less delicate as I’ve heard it at other events. I think I prefer earlier sets that I’ve heard from her, but this was good stuff.

By about 5h45, I decided to grab my jacket before the music stopped and there was a rush for the coat check. From there, I made my exit and biked back home, doing my best not to wake my apparently noise-sensitive neighbour below me.

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