La Maroquinerie, Paris
September, 26 & 27, 2006

Photos by SUE RYNSKI

These were two quite different nights.

On the first, the place is packed (a full house, yeah!) and, as always (you buy me a beer, Vinz), I gotta tell you a few words about The Holy Curse, who play support.

They played a tough set, without some of their usual loss of control. No, this time, it's pro, and straight. As a primer (to those who were not at their last gig at Le Batofar) they play again as a five-person unit. The newcomer is Carole, who plays saxophone in a free jazz way (remember Steve McKay, huh?) No cover songs tonight, and the first is (among my faves) "You Win Again". They also played a new one, "The Other Side", which sounds like some recent compositions (like "Music & Noise" but with some modal tones in it). It's wild energy, but far away from your usual punk rock sound.

"Rivers Of Blood" got played at warp speed. They end with "Superfortress", which I now describe as a 21st Century version of the Doors classic "The End". I was told that the axemen in Radio Birdman were quite impressed by Polo's playing, as well as the whole band. Nice!

Then come Radio Birdman. They start wildly, and the songs are real fast with "Burned My Eye" as a starter. I won't repeat the whole set list, but it's a nice mix between new and older songs (but sadly "Found Dead" was not played in Paris). The guitar duet on "I-94" is stunning. The version of "Maelstrom" version was real violent - literally. The problem comes from the audience. A small bunch of young punters, hopefully because they liked it, were into the slam thing, kicking themselves, trying to make some stage diving, throwing their feet anywhere. Guys, I think someone should explain you what 'High Energy' means. Chris Masuak calls them assholes and they calm down a little.

One of the highlights of the show is "Alone In The End Zone". I was also impressed by the Tek guitar intro to "Heyday". After that song, Jim Dickson has a problem with his bass amp, which causes a few minutes break, then he launches back with "Hand of Law". A huge version, like he's taking vengeance against his defunct amp. Deniz takes lead on slide guitar.

As a first song for the encore, "The Brotherhood of Al Waza" made me close my eyes to feel the music deeper!

Russell at rest.

Russell at play.

On the second night, the audience is more respectful. The difference being that the people knew what they were here for. On the previous day, some were there because they got told they had to be, I think, so there is more positive energy.

I cross (among many others, the show's also sold out) the ex-members from the City Kids, Pascal (Holy Curse co-founder) and Gilles Mallet (guitar player with Little Bob).

The support band is called Speedbuggy. They play some sort of punk country rock, but that's not the kind of sound I was expecting tonight, sorry.

Cue: Birdman. The show is intense. They look like they're enjoying themselves, and I spend the whole gig midway between the two guitars. Wow ! I see and hear some intense guitar duets. On "I-94" for instance. Chris comes close to the audience, obviously happy. As an encore, they play a (strange) version of "Golden Helmet". Then "Search And Destroy", "Zeno Beach" and "New Race".

After the show, I spend a few minutes talking with Jim, who seems as happy as last June with the New Christs. I am also able to thank Deniz for sending the words from "Found Dead". I explain him how the chorus means many things to me.

An intense moment. Time to pack, I hope you liked your time in Paris folks ! See ya next time !

Pip prepares himself for the Paris catwalk.