At 19 euros a head, I was sceptical before I went to the Industry of Cool festival at the Maroquinerie last night. Industry of Cool is a management company that represents a number of very interesting and exciting young French bands and musicians. I have followed the careers of most of them over the last two years since I started playing music again, and particularly after meeting Earle Holmes, who discovered and nurtured virtually all the bands through his open mics from the Shebeen to the Mecano. Holmes is also a partner in the Industry of Cool company.
I love the music of these bands, but I was still sceptical at the idea that young bands should be charging 19 euros to an audience of young people who have no money. I mean, these bands have records, they have had some radio play, they have had some press. But they are not well known and massively successful bands. So we had performances by Sourya, The Agency, Scale, and upstairs an acoustic set by Ben Ellis, of the former band called Brooklyn. (Ben also played percussion with The Agency, and thanks to his new beard I didn’t recognize him.)
Well, I was not only wrong about the 19 euros, but I felt that the bands are starting to reach a level of quality where if they persist they may well take off – at least one of them should rise up out of the clubs and make it somewhere, somehow. I would hope. Because last night’s festival at the Marquinerie was indeed Cool. And the concert hall beneath the bar and restaurant was not full to bursting, but there was a very, very good number off people in attendance. It felt almost like a well attended concert at the more famous Bataclan, for example.
The music all night long was inventive, strong, with good sound, and vibrant performancs on the whole. Now, of course, I have no idea how many people were let in free to the show – what is clear is that a lot of the people from the other bands around Paris showed up, people like Bruno from the band Neimo, a couple of the members of the former French band called Rock&Roll, and others, including producers, bar owners, etc.