The Darts ended their European tour in Paris. We asked Nicole, their singer, if she'd like to tell us about this last day from the inside. She agreed, so here's her account.
Thank you so much Nicole for your kindness, which we really appreciate!

Les Monstres Sacrés

PARIS, September 24, 2023

Point Ephemere

We played a packed sweaty punk show in Brussels the night before and got to bed too late at a downtown hotel, as always. I woke up with my curly hair full of knots from the humid dive bar and my stage outfit hanging in the window, still not fully dry. We had an early lobby call for the drive to Paris, no time for breakfast or caffeine. We got on the road and, other than a couple of stops for mandatory snacks and espresso shots at the gas station, managed to pick up second guitarist Louise Sordoillet at the airport on the way into Paris. (She had just finished a run of shows with her other band, The Wavechargers, in Spain and had flown back just in time to play in Paris with us! So she was operating on little sleep also.)

The van pulled up at Point Ephemere in the late afternoon, a little later than planned due to bad traffic. Our new publicist, Virginie Bellavoir, was already in the green room with Best Magazine journalist/photographer Florian Hodbert. There were thankfully a lot of crew at the venue to help unload and set up the stage. We soundchecked quickly (thanks to a great soundman - we never take that for granted and a fast soundcheck always makes our day.) The Jackets, who also were on the bill that night, are old friends of ours and they arrived during the check. It was like a family reunion to see all of them again, so many hugs and stories and smiles.

We quickly threw on makeup and found some caffeine (me) and cocktails (the band) and headed outside for a cocktail party with the press. There were journalists and radio people there, record store owners and photographers. Meliza and Beef did a photo shoot for Tatouage Magazine and Christina, Lou and I went out to the canal to shoot a video interview for Best Magazine. 

Best magazine shooting

Tatouage Magazine

Then we ran back inside I changed into my stage outfit just in time for doors to open. While the band had dinner (I never eat before shows or I would throw up on stage with all that jumping around and singing), our agent Ludo Riou and I were at the merch table. Lots of old friends came up to say hello and there was a line for merch before the room was even full.

The Jackets took the stage right on time and absolutely charmed the audience. Jackie’s way of playing with the crowd and drawing them into participating in the songs is magical. During the second song, the bass amp blew and everyone was running around trying to fix things, but it all worked out and I had such a good time dancing at the merch booth during their entire set. Even Ludo was dancing. I met Lou’s sister for the first time and Samy Khan, who did the art for Snake Oil was also there. So many friends in Paris, too many to name. France is definitely our second home.

Showtime. The room was full. As we were setting up our gear, the guitar amp we were borrowing for Lou from The Jackets stopped working. It’s not a show without something breaking! It was going to be our first time playing with two guitarists so this amp was vital to the show concept. Luckily they had a backup and we got everything up and running without too much delay. The lights went down, Beef clicked off the first song, “My Heart Is A Graveyard,” Christina came in with the fuzz bass riff, and off we went. I kicked off my flip flops and ran onstage just in time for the keyboard line to start.

The sound on stage was perfect, which is saying a lot in this business. I could hear everything and everyone, Meliza’s guitar sounded huge and nasty. I couldn’t see Beef through the fog on stage but she was as solid as ever. Christina and I were grinning at each other the whole time, having a blast as always. We blasted through the first songs.We played a lot from the Snake Oil record, including “Snake Oil,” “Spy Girl,” “Underground,” “Love Tsunami," and “Under The Gun.” Normally I stand on the kick drum during “Under the Gun” but the drum riser was so high, and I am so short, that I could only stand on the riser itself. But it was better than nothing.

In the middle of the set, we announced our upcoming album Boomerang, which will be out in the Spring on Alternative Tentacles Records. We played three new songs from the upcoming record, “Your Show,” “Hang Around,” and the first probable single, “Pour Another,” which we dedicated to the bartender and got the crowd to sing with us.

Finally the time came to introduce Lou, and she ran onstage to lots of applause and whistles. She threw on her guitar and, in honor of her, we launched into our French song “Donne-Moi Tout” from Snake Oil. Lou sings great back-up vocals and it was great to have her and Christina singing together on it; the extra vocal a third up from mine adds so much to that song! Then, for the first time also with two guitars, we launched into the ballad “Bring It Back.” I hope someone got a recording of this, it is one of our favorite songs on Snake Oil and it sounded absolutely huge on stage with the two guitars and Lou’s backing vocal. Lou and Meliza have very different playing styles - Lou a bit more surf/twang and Meliza a bit more rock/heavy - so the two together was just perfect layering, to my ear. Then we did“Intersex," and “Shit Show” and ran off stage together.

The audience clapped and chanted until we came back on. So we did three encores, “Breakup Makeup,” Thee Trashwomen’s song “Batteries” (I didn’t know who to dedicate to so Christina suggest we dedicate it to ourselves; so given that we just did ten weeks of shows, I decided that was a great idea), and finally we closed the show with “My Way.” At the end of the song, we all ended up in a giant pile on the floor, the Farfisa knocked over and Meliza somehow lost her guitar and was just holding the GoPro camera and it was all mass chaos as always at the end of our set.

After the show, Ludo and I spent a lot of time selling merch to really wonderful people, people were running up to the stage while the band tore down the stage, trying to get signatures on records and photos. There were too many hugs and double-cheek-kisses to recount and finally we piled into the van. I spent an hour in the hotel room going through all the final band accounting and re-packing suitcases, and then Ludo drove me to the airport at 4:00 am. It was an unforgettable end to an unforgettable tour, and I will forever be grateful to have had this epic experience, with great friends and insanely talented musicians.

Nicole Laurenne

Thank you Eric Jorda, Ludo Riou, Nick Jones, Tatouage Magazine and Virginie Bellavoir for the photos


Anonyme a dit…
Bonne concert aussi en Aix la chapelle - Petit DIY open Air festival Mühlen Madness - encroyable gig :-)
Fernand Naudin a dit…
Thank you for your comment :-)