Saturday, April 27, 2024

Courte Grill & the Buffalo Pailles @ Le Sub Pigalle, Paris - April 27th, 2024

If you haven't toured around France and found yourself stopping at run-down rest stops near sketchy highway exits, you could be forgiven for missing the clever twist in this band's name. Thankfully, their music is a lot more accessible, and certainly more inviting than the restaurants they are named after: Courte Grill and the Buffalo Pailles serve up country tunes in a way that is at once earnest and tongue-in-cheek. There is a reverence for the form, but there is also a meta element to it, which is obvious in their choice of cover material.

Opening with a rousing rendition of "These Boots Are Made For Walking", Buffalo Grill & the Courte Pailles whisked the eager crowd on a journey through American music. "Man of Constant Sorrow", "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", "Jolene", "On The Road Again", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Me and Bobby McGhee", "Take Me Home Country Roads", "Colours", "Midnight Special" were all given the full country treatment, complete with Dobro guitar, harmonica, kazoo... and a healthy dose of silliness. 

But don't let the costumes and facetious stage banter fool you: this band cooks. Each member not only masters their instrument but also shines as vocalists. The magic truly unfolded in their harmonies, especially evident in their rendition of "Peaceful Easy Feeling," during which they invited singer Justyna Kelley, who had opened the evening. The arrangements are extremely clever, and pop songs like "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" sound like they were always made to be adorned in these Country Music guises.

The band's singer (nicknamed Suzi Wan, they are really committing to the joke), front and center with undeniable charisma, was the heart of the evening's electric atmosphere. With a voice that commanded attention and a stage presence that exuded confidence, she effortlessly captivated the audience. Her energy was infectious, working the crowd into a frenzy from the moment she stepped on stage. Throughout the show, the audience danced with abandon, screamed their appreciation, even breaking into line-dancing, swept up in the irresistible energy radiating from the stage.

A fantastic evening of great music, transforming the vibrant streets of Paris's red light district into a scene straight out of Nashville.

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