La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
April 19, 2005

Review by LoneSome DoG
Photos by Emmy Etie

To make it fast:

Concert sold out, place packed - Ticket 16.5 Euros - Beer 3 Euros - start 8PM - end 11.30 - Holy Curse wild, short, fast & tight - Citizen out of place (IMHO) - Saints in a good shape.

The show happened at 'La Maroquinerie', which stands as maybe the highest venue in Paris (although the concert room is in the basement), seated near the top of Ménilmontant. Many nice gigs happen there (Barracudas, Nomads, Little Bob, Giant Sand, to name a few recent). Program was announced as Citizen, then Holy Curse, then The Saints. Few knew that Marty Wilson-Piper was on the bill, with Mr Bailey. As it happens from time to time, some older rockers were present, members of Parabellum, Coronados, Cherokees, ... including of course label manager and Bailey's friend Patrick Mathé.

Due to "promotion reasons", Holy Curse had to start playing as the first band at 8pm. The usual "curse" (could not resist the joke) of the local support band, despite their 3 good LPs. I almost arrived late for the start of the set...

Holy Curse set

They start almost in the dark. Not by choice, but no-one is behind the controls ! Fuck that.
"Sat'day nite tonite and we're gonna have some fun !" The Sewergrooves hit was the opener for last months gigs, and starts as a real killer. It's only Tuesday, but we already feel like it's a hot Saturday!

As some may know, the boys play now as a four-member band. The lack of second guitar allows much more space for Vinz's demon bass lines and for killer Sonic Polo's riffs & leads.
Most of the audience is not yet in (it's pretty rare in Paris to have gigs begin at the announced time !) and more than a few will miss the set. What a set. As I said during the first songs, looked like they ate at least three lions (each!)

Second song arrives, without any pause. "OD'ed On You". They continue with New Christs' "No Way On Earth". Eric shows how great a singer and showman he can be. Gooloo (the ex-Backsliders stickman) drums like hell, and Polo finds magic notes (I mean notes many others would not find on their guitar neck, "à la" Charlie Owen for example).

Then comes "Sister Soul". No relief, not a moment of peace for the audience, the song speeds up the tempo. Wild playin' by Polo, looking like he's in a fight. The set starts being one of the most intense they played yet.

"Long Gone": The track is among the best from last CD. And it really takes a new dimension on stage, something like a long run through the night. You can hear a live version on HC's site, from a previous gig. "Nights Of Sin" is another smash, wildly started by Gooloo. The song is an ttack against the so-called "cool guys". Cool atonic lead and jazzy riffs played by Sonic Polo.

Then comes one of my current favorites : "You Win Again". I'd rather not be this "friend" Eric speaks to (or is it a her?) "Rivers Of Blood" is another live favorite. Started by Gooloo at 200 mph, with violent basslines from Vinz. One can almost see blood flowing from the amps, while Eric throws himself down to the ground. He looks like a demented preacher, hypnotizing the audience. Complete chaos occurs on the stage front, one girl starts to play Vinz's bass with her hair, one guy BITES his lower string and pulls it off !!!

Starting the last song, Polo makes hell of our ears with the openign riff to "Superfortress", while Vinz manages to pull the string off and continue with 3 strings left, imitating a B52 with fuzz bass ! An intense version, they all spend a part of the song laying on the ground while playing (except brave drummer Gooloo !) then end with "Wanna Be Your Dog", leaving the audience smashed (say, those who did not miss the set, as a local Paris sport seems to arrive late enough not to hear the support bands !).

Some will say: "I was there". I will. This was the MOST KILLER of their shows I saw yet. Sure they won last night their tickets to OZ Land. Beware, australian readers !

Citizen set

Then played the Irish guys from Citizen. I don't mean to be rude, but there was no chance for them after HC's set. They made me think of some kind of Squeeze revival - powerpop with dual lead vocals. I'm not the only wanker who went to the bar during their set, while HC's set ended with many people yellin' for more.

Saints set

Then came the Saints, feat M. Wilson-Piper (pictured above). Great show too (but forget the Kuepper era, as it has been said before). I have not heard the latest album yet, but if the guitar sounds are close to what I heard, should be good.

They start with (I think) a new song. Then run into the old ones: "Stranded", then "No Time". Wilson-Piper grins, but his playing seems at the limit. He plays the right riffs, but almost caricatural. No guitar solo on these songs. Sounds like they honor the contract of playin' the Kuepper/Bailey stuff, but without real commitment.

The first highlight of the show is a Paul Anka (!!!) song ("Havin' My Baby" ?), mid tempo in which M. Wilson-Piper shows us how good a guitar player he is. Maybe this is closer to his taste (I mean mid-tempo stuff, not Paul Anka...)

Later in the set came also a version of "Know Your Product". Sorry, but I heard a better version few days before, as played by Kink Khan & his Shrines with the presence of horns (great !) "Messin' with the Kid" also got played. I did play this for years too, and think the bridge lacked the attack of the old version. Too bad.

The encore starts with Mr Bailey alone for acoustic songs. The man is happy, looks for more intimacy, starts singing for the people on the front (without his mike, too bad for those in the back), then pulls the mike stand down onto the floor to play in the middle of the audience. After a few songs, he starts alone with "Ghost Ships". The bands joins him to continue the song. Great guitar part here by Wilson-Piper (on Fender Jaguar, not Rickenbacker, BTW).

As a last song, they played "River Deep, Mountain High". Bailey is obviously no Tina T, but adds much humor to this version, Spanish clapping. The guitar breaks a string...there's one last burst of pogo dancing...and it's over.

Just to add a line, few days later, some people who missed Holy Curse's set were told that the boys were the best band that night. I think that's the truth. Spread the WORD, keep rockin'!

- Holy Curse
- The Saints