November 09, 2013

Swim Deep @ La Boule Noire, Paris

11/07/13, Les Inrocks Festival @ La Boule Noire, Paris. Years & Years, Portland, and Swim Deep (Kitsuné Maison)

I have to be honest, I’ve never heard of Years & Years. Maybe that’s why I fell completely in love with their sound. I arrived late, with no specific expectations, and I was blown away. First of all, by their stage presence. They seemed so genuinely happy to be there, that you just couldn’t help smiling and feeling the same way. The singer, Olly Alexander, looked so shy, cute and excited at the same time that every single person in the crowd (at the time, mostly girls I must say) was in awe. I should probably mention the dance moves too! And most importantly, their lyrics were perfect, the beats were dance-y (just dance-y enough to be cool and not annoying… you know) and I definitely heard some kind of Caribbean rhythms going on, and beautiful melodies. They played ‘Real’, a song that they had (according to them) never played live before, and rocked it. “We kinda didn’t mess this one, did we?”

Anyway, this band (from London) was the night’s discovery, and I can’t wait to hear more.

Olly finished the set with a “erm… We love you!” and that was it, and I wished it could have gone on for… at least a few more hours.

I tried to get an interview but things got a bit out of hand since I wanted to cover the next bands too.

Next to play was the french band Portland. When they came on stage my first thought was ‘Hey ! They have a girl lead! Rad.’ But this felt like a cold shower. The second they started playing, I knew it wasn’t gonna be my jam.

It was like each song after another was trying to be the next hit. I braced myself and listened, and what I can say is: the singer had a voice. Like, a great, powerful, overwhelming voice – I’ve got to give her that. And she can definitely headbang. The keyboardist was good, and I tried to focus on him as much as I could during the set. But the songs ? I heard some guy behind me say it sounded like “a bad Major Lazer-meets-disco mix,” just to give you a rough idea.

Aaaand Swim Deep! With their thrifted outfits, Birmingham accents and seaside vibes. This was my second time seeing them (last time was back in August, at Rough Trade London) and it still was nothing like the first. Although they had to face a bunch of technical problems, the set was truly amazing and suited this small venue perfectly. The crowd was pretty receptive, although you could clearly identify the fans (singing every word in the front row) and the hip crowd who… I guess just had a 3-days pass.

The band covered Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ and I can’t help but feel like there’s an inside joke behind that!

‘She Changes The Weather’ was, as always, absolutely perfect. I have to admit I teared up a little.

After the gig I ended up meeting Swim Deep’s roadies, Raz and Sam, and got a chance to chat with Cav, Zack and Higgy at the afterparty (which was held at Orphée, a small venue hidden in some sort of building). Though none of those conversations are interview worthy, they did each mention that they had fun in Paris, and got to visit the Louvre and see the Eiffel tower. They were also really REALLY  excited about going to Amsterdam the next day!

Everyone was really chill, adorable, unmistakably drunk, and very tired. I left the babes and went to Le Carmen to see Years & Years DJ for a bit… and then I went home, pretty happy about how the whole night had turned out!

Photos: Lou Cocody-Valentino

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