Live music will always beat out recorded music, just as the book will always beat out the movie. There’s a give-and-take between the musicians and the crowd that can’t exist when you plug in your headphones. Unfortunately, up until this week I hadn’t been to any concerts in Paris. Going six months with YouTube quality songs is not healthy. That’s why I was very excited last night to discover Le Pop-Up du Label , a small bar/restaurant near Bastille that features up-and-coming bands (hence the name “pop up of the label”) on a stage so small that it can hardly fit them.
On Thursday night, I had gone to an Angus and Julia Stone concert at Le Zénith, one of the largest concert halls in Paris. Needless to say they were great from my spot standing at the front of the crowd, but what I hadn’t expected was to like the opening act, Sunset Sons, as much as I did. When they announced they’d be performing in Paris the next night, I decided I’d go…why not, right?
Fast forward to Friday night and I find myself in the back room of a bar that couldn’t have held more than 100 people, watching Sunset Sons. That qualifies me as a groupie right? I mean it could be a fun life. Just imagine traveling the world following your favorite band. Not too bad…
Le Pop-Up du Label created a completely different atmosphere than the auditorium did the night before. Of course I couldn’t complain about attending huge concerts by famous artists, but there’s a cooler vibe that comes with a more intimate space (not to mention the much cheaper 9€ ticket). Plus, as I watched Sunset Sons perform, the members of the opening act, The King’s Parade, were standing next to me watching as well and I even got to tell them how much I liked their music. Their song, Vagabond, goes “I moved from sea to sea, like a skipping stone. It’s a destined life for me as a vagabond,” defining a feeling most young people struggle with as they are searching for their place in the world, especially those of us who dream of traveling it.
Later, when Sunset Sons finished, the band was outside, hanging out and talking to people. Something like that would never be possible in a huge stadium or concert hall. The truth is you never know which one of these lesser known bands will one day make headlines, but even if they never do, a band doesn’t need to be famous to have great music, and I’d be their groupie anyway. And if I don’t end up following a band as their groupie, then I guess I’ll just have to come back to Le Pop-Up du Label for more good live music.
*Side note: They were all so cute trying to speak french to the audiences! “Il fait chaud!”