RANGES EUROPEAN TOUR BLOG // DAY 1 // PARIS, FRANCE
The inaugural day of my super-exclusive Ranges tour blog (a position sought after by many but ultimately bestowed upon yours truly) was a rollercoaster event characterized by several firsts, for better and for worse. This marks my first time in Paris, as well as the first tour blog of my illustrious and storied career as a powerful, taste-making music journalist. This was actually supposed to be one of two tour blogs (Ranges is nothing if not insistent on extravagance), but the other non-band member of our team, Will Not Fade’s Joseph James, has opted instead to take on a role akin to one of his most famous fellow Kiwis, Gandalf – disappearing when you expect him to be around and then popping back up once you’ve almost forgotten about him with one platitude or another. Something like “courage is but fear holding on one minute longer”* or some such nonsense. I don’t know, as a proud American I can proudly say that I only understand about half of what he is saying.
This is also the first day of the tour. Band members claim there was a gig in Gent on Sunday evening, but since I wasn’t there and have no proof that it happened I’m going to assume that it didn’t. But anyways, on to the fun stuff…
As it turns out this day also blessed me with my first experience of being robbed. Naïve Vermonter that I am, I was clearly the most hilariously obvious of marks, a distinction I can only assume to be true seeing as I was pickpocketed mere minutes after leaving the Paris airport. After months of saving and planning, I am now in Europe without any of my bank or credit cards, driver’s license or the 200 Euros I had procured from AAA (zero of which I had the opportunity to actually spend). Thankfully I still have my passport, so I won’t have to be spending an extended period as an impromptu French resident, and I also have wildly supportive parents who wired me some cash on the spot to help bail me out of this dumb jam I’ve found myself in. Some may say blame the thief for being a thief, but my gut tells me to blame Ranges for not being there from the moment I exited the plane to protect me – their most precious commodity - from the big scary world out there. Some say that CJ Blessum is the “dad” figure of Ranges, but in this case, he was nothing short of a deadbeat who let me down when it mattered most. NOT off to a good start, guys. Here’s hoping this slate of hour-long Ascensionist shows can get our maligned heroes back on track.
Speaking of firsts, I am fairly certain that today was the first time I’ve ever seen a man’s balls in public. And mind you, this was no accident, at least on his behalf. This kindly gentleman had made the pointed decision to carve an incision in to both his camo shorts and his boxers in order to allow his balls extra space to breathe, and also to be seen by any and all passing folk. I considered informing him that his sack was in fact on display in a public space but chose not to after evaluating him as the type of individual that would likely stab me without needing much of a reason. I instead opted to view him as unique window dressing for our evening’s venue, L’International.
Speaking of tonight’s venue, L’International provided me with another first: I have most certainly never seen 60 people show up to a post-rock show on a Monday. Apparently May 7th is a holiday in France that marks the day World War II officially ended, but I’m not sure that even a Fourth of July blowout featuring Red Sparowes reuniting and donning American Flag onesies on stage would draw that many people in America if it fell on a Monday. Europeans are nothing if not truly and deeply supportive of the arts. Promoter Tiffany Lesueur is doing a great job supporting the post-rock scene in Paris, including her collaborative Post in Paris event, and this evening was no exception. For a smallish venue (probably 100 cap) it was great. It had the feel of something more akin to the 500-cap venues I’m used to in the States – a full on lighting setup that was actually manned with purpose, and sound that achieved the perfect levels of volume and clarity; props to Guillame for being the man behind the board ensuring that the show went off to its max potential.
Initially the support for this gig left me feeling mildly perplexed, if only because I wasn’t sure if Nord was just an abbreviation for Nordkapp, or if they were two different bands. I’m not sure why I would think that, but hey, I’m working mostly stream of consciousness here, for better or worse. As it happened, they were in fact two different bands, and they slayed pretty hard. Nordkapp was quite a revelation, featuring a sound similar to bands like Faraquet, Don Caballero and Unwound, but heavier. Even more impressive is that they are an instrumental duo, leaning on extensive looping to create a fuller and more dynamic sound.
Ranges closed out the night for an enthusiastic and supportive crowd, some of which were familiar with their material, but also plenty who were experiencing them for the first time and appearing to thoroughly enjoy what they were finding. One female audience member was creating what appeared to be an improvised interpretive dance to most of the set. I haven’t seen someone vibe that hard at a show since I saw the Burlington Rage Against the Machine cover band Burning Monk play several months back and one audience member enacted what can only be described as a one-man mosh pit that no one asked for, but everyone watched. This time it was much less aggressive, and ever so slightly more endearing.
This was an immensely successful evening, featuring an encouragingly strong turnout and response, and likely several newly-indoctrinated fans. For my part, I didn’t know any of the songs and was really just searching for the right moment to yell out “play ‘Night & Day!’ It didn’t happen this evening, but mark my words, it’s coming. All told, my impression of Ranges can be summed up by the question that’s on everyone’s mind: “when are the vocals gonna start?’ Spoiler alert: they never do. 50% chance I attend tonight’s gig in Lyon. If I do, then I’ll meet ya’ll back here around the same time tomorrow.
* I stole this saying from an Amazon customer review of Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bears. Do yourself a favor and follow your natural curiosity through to a spectacular end.
By David Zeidler