Saturday, December 9, 2017

Gogol Bordello @ Le Trianon, Paris - December 9th, 2017


I've had several opportunities to catch Gogol Bordello and I've missed them all. I even had tickets to one of their shows about seven years ago but life got in the way... Last night I finally set things right.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Alice Cooper @ Olympia, Paris - December 7th, 2017


Alice is back in Paris for the last show of the tour, which is being filmed for a DVD release. This is my tenth Alice Cooper concert and my third in three weeks.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

R.I.P. Malcolm Young


We knew that day was coming. We even got used to not seeing him on stage with the band. There will be many eulogies in the upcoming days. All of them will highlight his impeccable sense of rhythm, his unshakeable vision, his psycho-rigid unwillingness to budge from a certain rock and roll ethos.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Alice Cooper @ SSE Arena, Wembley, London - November 16th, 2017


At almost seventy, the man formerly known as Vincent Furnier has nothing left to prove. He doesn't need to release new records, and he could easily phone in his performances like some of his costumed contemporaries. But he is a song and dance man, an entertainer. For an hour and a half, the man formerly known as Vincent Furnier lets his creation take over. This Frankenstein's monster name is Alice Cooper, and he only exists on the stage.

The Mission @ SSE Arena Wembley, London - November 16th, 2017


I've never been a big fan of the Sisters of Mercy so I never really checked out their offshoot band The Mission. Unfortunately their 45-minute set in the middle slot of the Alice Cooper London show wasn't at all convincing. The less said about them the better... 

The Tubes @ SSE Arena, Wembley, London - November 16th 2017


Th Tubes are a legendary band and their legend was built upon outrageous live shows more than upon their dozens of great songs. In that respect they are very much like tonight's headliner, who is almost never recognised by the mainstream for the most important part of his act: the music.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trust @ Élysée-Montmartre, Paris - November 10th, 2017


John Lennon famously equated French rock to English wine and it's a sentiment I tend to share. As a general rule the French are better at gastronomy than rock and roll. There are some notable exceptions and Trust is one of them. They received a seal of approval from AC/DC themselves, had their biggest hit covered by Anthrax and shared a musician or two with Iron Maiden. These guys are good.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit @ Café de la Danse, Paris - November 2nd, 2017


Jason Isbell is one of the greatest living American songwriters. This might seem like a bold claim since Dylan and Springsteen are still alive and kicking, but the Alabama native belongs in the same pantheon.

Tift Merritt @ Café de la Danse, Paris - November 2nd, 2017


Although she has several records out and was based out of Paris for a while, I had never heard of this young singer/songwriter. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gov't Mule @ le Trianon, Paris - October 30th, 2017


For some dubious reason, Gov't Mule is associated with the jam band scene of the nineties. Sure, they formed in the nineties. And sure, they jam like motherfuckers. But at its core, Gov't Mule is a classic rock band. But even more than that they are musicologists and rock historians.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

W.A.S.P. @ Élysée-Montmartre, Paris - October 29th, 2017


Five years ago W.A.S.P. (now a vehicle for Black Lawless and a bunch of sidemen) embarked on they 30th anniversary tour during which they played their greatest hits and, after an intermission, an abridged version of their concept album The Crimson Idol.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rolling Stones @ U Arena, Nanterre - October 25th, 2017


Last night of the Rolling Stones three-night stand at the U Arena. Since they have no concerts scheduled after that, the future is uncertain. So just in case this is it, I brought my eldest son along for his first concert. I suppose you could do worse. He is seven and when he grows up he will be able to say he saw the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, this is not a claim many people of his generation will be able to make.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rolling Stones @ U Arena, Nanterre - October 22nd, 2017


Back to the newly minted U Arena for night two of the Rolling Stones Paris "residency".
For the first time on this tour I think, they opened with Jumping' Jack Flash instead of Sympathy For The Devil, which led me to hope there would be some little surprises in the set-list, but those would turn out to be minimal. We did get to hear Dancing with Mr. D., a rare track from Goats Head Soup, which was both funky and menacing, with that aura of dark sleaze that permeated the Stones' recordings of the seventies.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Danny Elfman @ Palais des Congrès, Paris - October 21st, 2017


Even if you have not heard of his band Oingo Boingo, you have heard Danny Elfman's music in countless movies and TV shows. And although he wrote the theme for The Simpsons, his most famous endeavour is his collaboration with American director Tim Burton, which happens to be what this tour is focusing on.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rolling Stones @ U Arena, Nanterre - October 19th, 2017


Last night the Rolling Stones played the first of three dates in Paris, wrapping up their 2017 No Filter Tour.

Cage The Elephant @ U Arena, Nanterre - October 19th 2017


Is there a more thankless task than opening for the Rolling Stones? It doesn't matter how good you are (and these guys are pretty good) you're always going to be just a nuisance delaying the arrival of the legends.

Monday, October 2, 2017

R.I.P. Tom Petty


Tom Petty was one of the finest songwriters of the past fifty years. Together with his Heartbreakers, or on his own, he boasted a string of hits and classics that is nearly unrivalled.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sparks @ La Gaité Lyrique, Paris - October 1st, 2017


The Mael Brothers are back in Paris with a full band for the first time in over ten years if you discount the FFS concert at the Bataclan in 2015. Their new album Hippopotamus is as usual a fantastic collection of clever sophisticated pop songs full of rich harmonies and idiosynratic hooks.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Flamin' Groovies @ La Maroquinerie, Paris - September 14th, 2017


The Flamin' Groovies are musical reactionaries. While the rest of the musical world was being progressive and embracing a music with that name, they went back to basics. Blues, rock, pop... the essentials. The bare necessities.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Metallica @ Accorhotels Arena, Paris - September 8th, 2017


There's a reason Metallica is the biggest metal band on the planet and that has nothing to do with the ballads, the ill-fated collaborations or how cool their t-shirts look. They are the biggest metal on the planet because they fucking crush.

Kvelertak @ Accorhotels Arena, Paris - September 8th, 2017


The band that has the unenviable task of opening for the mighty 'Tallica is a metal band called Kvelertak, hailing from Stavanger, Norway.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Psychedelic Furs @ Élysée-Montmartre, Paris - August 29th, 2017


These guys were never huge in France so it was probably to be expected but I'd never seen the Elysée-Montmartre look so empty. It must've been pretty demoralising for this veteran band to see such a poor turn-out, and it's very unfair in regards to their long catalogue of great songs. To their credit, they played great and always seemed to be enjoying themselves, when other bands in the same situation would just grow a chip on their shoulder and half-ass their performance. They were very good.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Brill Building, NYC



On Broadway, Spanish Harlem, Stand By Me, Splish Splash, Crying in the Rain, Doh Wah Diddy, The Loco Motion, One Fine Day, Da-Doo-Ron-Ron, Leader of the Pack, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, River Deep Mountain High... Those are just some of songs that were written in this building.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

U2 @ Stade de France, St Denis - July 26th, 2017


Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds opened the show and while I'm not familiar with their songs, it was great hearing some old Oasis tracks again. Hopefully the Mancunian brothers wise up soon and give the people what they want.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Midnight Oil @ Olympia, Paris - July 25th, 2017



Aussie eco warriors Midnight Oil are returning to the Olympia and if you're like me and are not familiar with their material aside from a few singles then you're in for a shock: this band rocks hard. They play with the passion and the ferocity of a young punk band and even their poppier songs have an edge that I didn't expect. A really great show.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Guns N' Roses @ Stade de France, St Denis - July 7th, 2017


For the first time since the partial reunion of the classic band, GN'R is playing France. The gig struggled to sell out unfortunately, I think Guns are reaping what they sowed during all those decades of trying people's patience (that's right). Changing people's perception will be an uphill battle.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Biffy Clyro @ Stade de France, St Denis - July 7, 2017


A very muscular set from the Scottish band, unfortunately playing a stadium in broad daylight before a highly anticipated reunion is not the best setting for any band, no matter how talented. Their new album rips.



Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown @ Stade de France, St Denis - July Y, 2017


Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown play a very bluesy strain of hard rock, and it's no surprize if their guitarist is Aerosmith's Brad Whitford's progeny... They were opening for AC/DC on their last run where they must've caught Axl's eye. A very good set. Looking forward to seeing them headline a club show.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Foo Fighters @ Accorhotels Arena, Paris - July 3rd, 2017


It's not often that a musician is a part of not one but two of of the most important bands of their generation. Dave Grohl has managed to do just that. He was able to step out of the shadow of Nirvana to carve out quite a career for his other project Foo Fighters.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul @ La Cigale, Paris - June 28, 2017


The E Street Band hiatus is a good opportunity for "Little" Steven Van Zandt to slow down a bit and enjoy the quiet life a man of his age should aspire to. But "Little" Steven Van Zandt has other plans. He has his acting career, he has his radio show and he also has his resurrected seventies band Disciples of Soul. And this isn't just some low-key rock trio playing covers in the dive bars of New Jersey: this is a 15-piece soul/rock revue with engagements all over the globe.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Pretenders @ Salle Pleyel, Paris - June 26th, 2017


The last Pretenders album was a band effort in name only. It was recorded by Chrissie Hynde and some session musicians. But then Pretenders has been Chrissie's toy for a while now. Thankfully, the touring unit saw the return of Martin Chambers, and any concerns one may have had about his playing turned out to be unfounded: the veteran drummer was great through the whole show. The other musicians also played their parts perfectly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

King's X @ Le Forum, Vauréal - June 20th, 2017


The first time King's X played in Paris, they were opening for AC/DC in front of almost 18 000 people. Tonight they play a little club in East Bumfuck for about 300 punters. Their problem is that people don't know what to make of them: Christian Rock? Hair Metal? Stoner Rock? And what's with these Gospel-like harmonies? Perhaps King's X are too sophisticated to make it big.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Songhoy Blues @ La Maroquinerie, Paris - June 14, 2017


The band everyone is buzzing about right now, Songhoy Blues hails from Mali but don't expect a Tinariwen soundalike. Their refer to their music as Desert Blues, and if there is a rustic element to their music it is also very reminiscent of the Talking Heads Remain In Light-era. Their upcoming record Résistance is produced by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's guitarist and features an appearance by Iggy Pop, so they have that authentic punk seal of approval.

Sandra Nkaké @ La Maroquinerie, Paris - June 14, 2017


Sandra Nkaké's music is a wonderful mix of jazz and soul with French and African influences delivered in a voice that alternates between lyrical power and smokey veil. A very good concert by a generous performer.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Primal Scream @ la Gaité Lyrique, Paris - June 8, 2017


Primal Scream may be a part of the rave culture, they may dabble in electronica, but at their core they are a garage rock band with a songwriting style indebted to the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, Funkadelic and early psychedelia. Their new album Chaosmosis finds the perfect balance between their retro inclinations and their more modern experimentations, but this concert is a more rocking affair.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Deep Purple @ Accorhotels Arena, Paris - June 3rd, 2017


The last twenty years have been rather kind on Deep Purple. Replacing key members like Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord is no easy task, but the living, breathing Deep Purple marches on.

Monster Truck @ Accorhotels Arena, Paris - June 3rd, 2017


As you could surmise from the name, Monster Truck is a heavy, greasy, bluesy hard rock band. They've been touring a lot these past few years and have secured some pretty coveted opening slots as well as playing their own headlining shows.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Renaud @ le Zénith, Paris - May 20th, 2017


Je serai toujours fan de Renaud. De ses chansons engagées, de ses chansons tendres, de ses chansons tristes ou loufoques, généreuses ou nombrilistes. Le voir ainsi est une crève-coeur pour tous ses fans. Mais ne pas le voir serait sans doute pire.

Gauvain Sers @ Le Zénith, Paris - May 20th, 2017


Toujours aussi sympa avec ses chansons bien troussées et sa dégaine de poulbot (tiens, comme quelqu'un à ses débuts), Gauvain Sers aura ouvert pour Renaud pendant toute sa tournée, ce qui devrait le faire découvrir à un paquet de monde. Pas vraiment ma came, mais si c'est la relève de la chanson française, il y a pire.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bob Dylan @ La Seine Musicale, Boulogne - April 21st, 2017


This is the opening of a brand new venue, but for Bob Dylan this is just night number who's counting of his Never Ending Tour.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bob Dylan @ le Zénith, Paris - April 20th, 2017


Yes, I know. I've heard it all. He can't sing! He doesn't even play his songs right! He's not even going to be playing his most famous songs!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

R.I.P. Chuck Berry


It’s not exactly a shock or a tragedy: Chuck Berry died at the age of 90. A life well lived. A life full of music and scandals. The embodiment of rock n’roll. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Anthrax @ Elysée-Montmartre, Paris - March 16th, 2017


Thrash Metal is experiencing an unexpected resurgence, thanks to some excellent new records from some of their forbearers. In the past couple of years, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, Kreator, Slayer Megadeth,  and Metallica have all released some great records true to their roots. Anthrax' For All Kings is also a fantastic release, full of chugging riffs, pummelling beats and awesome melodies.