I made myself get up to eat breakfast. I knew it was going to be a long one because we had to perform two sets tonigh. I must admit I don’t know what I did after breakfast. Went to my room, chilled, I don’t know, but I had to be ready in the lobby by 1:15pm to go to soundcheck for the days events. In my sleepy fog, I made to to the lobby at the appointed time. Then we all piled into the two vans and headed for the venue. The musicians went a little before the vocalists. Since I’m both I just headed out in the first shift.
Upon arriving at the venue we all made our way to the stage to set up for soundcheck. We had a big chunk of time since we had to check for two sets. Melvin Van Peebles band was also on the bill for that night. His band includes many of the members of Burnt Sugar so it was a very long day all around.
|A bit of the Burnt Sugar set up|
For those of you who don’t know, Burnt Sugar it is a huge band. Let me break down the personnel and instrumentation of the band (for this gig) so you can get an idea of what we are working with here. I’ll start with the rhythm section and move from there.
We had two drummers (LaFrae & Chris), two bassists (Jared [electric] & Jason [upright]), three guitarists (Andre, Asim & Greg), two on keys (Myles & Bruce), two strings (Mazz [violin] & Will [cello]), three percussionists (Myself, Mikel & Satch), five winds/brass (Micah [alto sax], Avram [tenor sax & bass clarinet], Flip [trumpet], Paula [bari-sax] and Satch [flute]), Electronics (Latasha) and 5 vocals (Karma, Lisala, Latasha, Mikel and I). That is a grand total of 21 folks y’all!
|LaFrae, Chris & Jared|
|Horns & Strings|
|Part of the B.S. Crew|
After soundcheck, we ate, chilled and then got ready to rock. The thing I really love about Paris is that there is wine with everything. Reminded me so much of Italy. Ah Italy…
We all got in our rock & roll best and waited for Melvin Van Peeble wid Laxative to wrap up their set. Well some of us waited while others played that first set. As soon as they finished it was time for us to hit our first set, which was “Bitches Brew” Hommage a Miles Davis. It was our interpretations of a few joints from Davis’s classic albums Bitches Brew and On the Corner.
|Latasha & Micah ready to go!|
Now, I’m just going to say without hesitation that that set was KILLIN’! I mean it was just incredible. I think it went better than any of us even imagined it would have been and we knew it was gonna be good. Besides hitting the Miles stuff we also hit a quick bit of Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady”, which was a cool mash-up. Lisala ended the set with “Little Church” and just wrapped that joint all the way up. It was amazing! I got to play my Evian bottle, which is all that water is really good for. Ha! The bottle will make another appearance for sure. Oh wait, how can I forget my french name change.
When we were at the show the night before I picked up a program for the entire festival. In it listed the names of everyone performing on the Burnt Sugar set. I was somehow listed as Nicole Shelley instead of Shelley Nicole. I guess someone in Paris thought it sounded better that way. So in his best french accent, Greg introduced me to the audience as Nicole Shelley. I kind of liked it so I became her for the rest of my time in Paris. I might have to bring her back again for another show. :-)
|My percussion set up|
|Lisala, Micah & Karma! Yes Micah is having a great time. lol|
|Mazz, Micah & Myles|
On the way back to the hotel lots of ideas were thrown around about what to do for an after party, but the idea of food won out for me. We hadn’t eaten since before the show so food was long overdue. One more big surprise at the hotel was Mike Ladd, another one of my poetry ex-Pats. It was so great to see him even for that short minute. He looks great! So back to the matter at hand. Food! After some deliberation Greg, LaRonda, Myles, Karma, Will, Heather and I got into a couple of cabs and headed to the Bastille to find some late night eats.
The Bastille was hoppin.’ After walking a bit, we picked a spot that was right on the square and they found a table for us in the back. We settled in and began our journey into food. It was a really great night. We talked, laughed and Heather got a little Burnt Sugar history around the table. I drank some very sweet beer that Karma hipped me to, and enjoyed the moment. Paris on the food tip was starting to redeem itself.
I was tired as hell when we got back to the hotel. Heather had to leave early in the morning. She was crashing with me and she said she wouldn’t wake me before she left. I just knew I would hear her leave because I sleep pretty lightly, but boy was I wrong. We didn’t go to bed until about 6am and she had to catch a 9:15am train. I didn’t even hear her alarm go off or feel her get up. The next thing I knew I was being woken up by housekeeping who came into my room because I did not answer the door when they knocked. I was KNOCKED OUT!! That is not my style at all. I don’t know the last time I slept so hard. I still can't believe Heather got up and out without me hearing a thing. It felt like a dream that she was there at all. If it wasn't for the note she left I would have doubted the whole evening. It was kind of scary really. I could have been robbed! LOL. Not by Heather, but I’m just saying anyone could have come in there and I would have been none the wiser. Ah Paris. Another big day ahead.
|Thank you & Goodnight!|