Not many open mics on Saturday in Paris, but even if there were, I’d have decided to sacrifice my own music to go and listen to that of some friends and acquaintances. Because at the International was a double-header of the Burnin’ Jacks and BSMS, two excellent rising groups of talented young musicians in Paris. And then at the Bus Palladium, conveniently happening after the other two concerts, was Yann Destal in the third kind of formation in which I have seen him play – I’ll explain in a minute.
At the International I HAD to go and see the Burnin’ Jacks, whom I have watched grow over the last two years from Earle’s open mic at the Lizard Lounge, the Truskel and then the Mecano bar, to what they’re doing today, playing bigger clubs and stages all over the city. Not to mention that Félix, the Burnin’ Jacks’ phenomenally talented lead guitar player, is also the guy who recorded with me in my Ephemere Recordings in July (on Except Her Heart and Memories), and who will play with me in concert at the Disquaires on 27 February.
So it was off to the International to hear them play, and neither I nor the couple of hundred people present were let down by the music or their charismatic performance, led by Félix on the lead guitar and Syd on the lead vocals, and Antoine, jumping around on rhythm guitar like there was no tomorrow. Also, one of my favorite songs of theirs is that composed and sung by Antoine.
After these guys came BSMS, whom I wrote about recently at their concert at the Bus Palladium. So I’m not going to add many words here, just to say it was more of the same rhythmic, slightly spaced out and slightly acid sound last night at the International. Very together, very tight, and very cool bluesy rock.
And speaking of the Bus Palladium, I ended up going over there to hear Yann Destal in band formation. Aside from hearing his voice on the radio for a decade with that 2000 hit song, “Lady (Hear Me Tonight),” I first started listening to Destal at the Tuesday evening after work club in the restaurant above the main concert room of the Bus. There he plays solo and with one or two other musicians doing cover songs acoustically. Then I saw him with one other musician doing some of his latest music at Le China, near the Bastille. So yesterday was the first time I saw him in a full-fledged group situation, with a keyboard player, a drummer, bass guitar, his acoustic guitar and a lead guitar player. There was another singer too, a woman – sorry, don’t know who it was.
In any case, last night’s show really made it clear how interesting a performer and composer Yann is. He’s the kind of performer who has his own musical world, and he inhabits it like others might get involved in reading or writing a fantasy novel. If that sounds like it is pushing things, just check out some of the videos below. His singing voice is as good as ever, but the tunes and lyrics and presentation are very personal, and remind me in some ways of progressive rock from the early 70s. Maybe that’s stretching it too – but that is what came to mind last night.