La Flèche d’Or in Paris was my favourite venue. It was free yet offered a fantastic lineup and a welcoming atmosphere. I almost lived there for several months. Apparently, a few months after I left for Sydney in ’08, management sprang an entrance fee on punters and the security folk posted at the door went from chummy to crummy.
Although I was basking in a completely different scene Down Under, the news came as quite a blow. An even bigger shocker was the announcement that, like many venues nowadays, it was being shut down due to mounting complaints about noise pollution from residents. That happened sometime in spring.
And then, rising from its ashes…perhaps a bit melodramatic…thanks to new management and after supposedly costly soundproofing work, the venue was scheduled to re-open. I was glad, but having only known the pre-charge, pre-dodgy security era, I had concerns about feeling alienated from the old haunt.
The doors of the venue located rue Bagnolet swung open once more on Monday, November 23. On Friday, I gave in to curiosity.
I was familiar with only one of the bands in the lineup, but remembered their performance from a festival I attended this summer in Paris. I decided to brace myself; tackled the cold, and prayed for the public transport service to be on my side to see a young group from Bordeaux, Kid Bombardos.
From the outside, la Flèche looked the same. There wasn’t much of a queue when I arrived- the combined effects of an entrance fee and the early hour. The guys at the door were friendly enough, as were the ticket girls. Inside, the stage and ceiling were shy of the golden frame which used to crown the stage and the glitter ball which deflected the strobes’ rays into rainbow freckles across the room.
The bar had been moved back a notch in the room to increase capacity in front of the stage. The toilets were the same, just painted black. (I hear a guitar riff coming on.)
The DJ was either battling severe depression or has a bizarre notion of how to warm up a room, resorting to the complete back catalogue of Radiohead, on a Friday night. After one hour of Thom Yorke’s moanings, it sounded like Karma Police was the closest we were ever going to get to a feverish-party-frenzy mode.
- First up, Dax Collector: a couple of boys, retro sunglasses, a fair-isle sweater and keyboards…
- Next, Kid Bombardos. People were moshing for the first time that night. I think that’s always a tell-tale sign…
- Finally, The Popopopops! They sound like their name, full of fizzy energy.
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