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After a two-year hiatus, I was lucky enough to find myself back in the second most beautiful city in the world, after Detroit. A lot had changed since I had last been there; Elected on my previous trip, President Sarkozy had ditched his wife and started banging a hot, folk-singing piece of ass, the French working class had undoubtedly protested trivial shit that most Westernized workers would have shrugged off, and my resident slapdick friend had grown his hair out. Thank god they still had baguettes and underage kids canoodling while sucking down wine on every available patch of grass in the city.
In six days I skipped every museum, never went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and not once entered a cathedral. And yet I saw the Fleet Foxes perform, something I probably would not have done had I been at home and bored on a Tuesday night. Which I'm glad I did, because attending a show in Paris was just as much of a French cultural experience as getting ignored by locals while trying to ask for directions in English.
The press ticket said the show started at eight o'clock, which in the US means ten; in France, drinking tall cans on some random stoop until 9:30 means you'll miss the first few songs of the headliner. Also, assuming that the seat number on the pass was some meaningless ticketing quirk, I was surprised when an usher guided me to a plush barcalounger deep in the balcony. The fact that the show took place in an actual theater (as in movie theater--in the escalator-equipped, exceedingly red second floor lobby stood a huge promotional billboard for 2012) accentuated the band's performance in a way that some square, standing-room-only box couldn't have. Seats tend to mollify the yappy tendencies of drunken concert-goers and the gentle curve and height of La Cigale's balconies focused everyone's attention towards the spotlight on stage.
I can't think of a better band to benefit from such a lush set-up than the Fleet Foxes. Singer Robin Pecknold, center stage and bathed in spotlight, was clearly the star of the show, and the Seattleite performed spectacularly in the classy setting. In fact, some of his in-between song banter even alluded to the fact that the band was just as amazed as I was that they were playing such a venue. Any trepidation was nonexistent as Pecknold's beautiful voice was lovely and absolutely filled the vast space. The band was flawless as well and the songs had a vulnerability that made them sound more endearing live.
Even though I wasn't able to solve the Da Vinci code like I had planned to, it would be an understatement to say that the week I spent in Paris was wonderful. I got scalding-hot fondue splashed on me, somehow avoided getting hit by car while on a bike (mostly thanks to the professionalism of the Fat Tire staff), ate enough kebab meat to make a sultan proud, and as a bonus was able to take in the Fleet Foxes from the most absurdly opulent seat. I was sad to leave, and as the French would say by way of goodbye, "Fuck you, you American imperialist pig."
I'd like to take a moment to say thank you to the wonderful staff at the Hotel Blomet. The maid might take a few days off and the mini fridge stinks like two unwashed Frenchmen died inside while having a farting contest, but the proprietors are stand up dudes who wake up guests with smoothies that make Jamba Juice taste like someone shit in a blender. SEE ALSO: www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes
SEE ALSO: www.subpop.com
SEE ALSO: www.lacigale.fr
SEE ALSO: www.fattirebiketours.com/paris
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
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