RANGES EUROPEAN TOUR BLOG // DAY 2 // LYON, FRANCE
Day 2 (or Day 3 if you believe the “show” in “Ghent” “happened” on Sunday) of the inaugural Ranges European tour was further proof that if you are a post-rock fan or musician living in America, you may want to reconsider continuing to live in America. When a morning begins with a French grandmother presenting you with the most delicious cantaloupe you’ve ever eaten, and then the afternoon delivers a pinnacle Joseph James Ranges-specific fart joke (dubbing Joey Caldwell the “A-Scent-ionist” --- get it?), you’ve got to be pretty sure that the day has reached its peak. However, when you pull into a breathtaking city like Lyon and look around to realize that you’re sound checking in a Hard Rock Café in a major European location, the word “peak” takes on a whole new context.
Today was a much more solid day for me as well. I’m assuming that anyone reading this is here for me specifically, so I’ll continue. Today I (a) did not get robbed and (b) did not see another man’s balls, so that was a major plus. I also got to see possibly the coolest looking fountain I’ve ever seen in Place des Terreaux – a woman in a chariot driven by horses who spray misty water from their nostrils in a manner that mimics steam emitted during intense gallop. I also got to engage in some basic tourist activity, mowing down a savory crepe in the middle of the plaza. Stuffed with ham and cheese and egg, it was presented simply but tasted delightful. The downside was having to hear myself attempt to correctly pronounce “oeuf,” the French word for egg, without sounding like an idiot. I am almost positive that I was not successful in this venture.
As I’m sure everyone knows because I’m such a widely followed public figure, I am a fully self-confessed hipster foodie nerd, so it was hard for me to spend a day in Lyon without sitting down to a proper restaurant meal, as this city is known as the gastronomical capital of the world. But as a couple of the guys who did their research on Lyon pointed out, the city is also well known as the tunnel capital, the boat capital, the boob capital, the capital of “being in one place and then being in another place,” and so many other things. So if I was to explore this city the right way I would likely need to take a week. The hospitality meal at the Hard Rock did consist of a delightful quiche, some pretty spectacular French fries, and a salad with one of the punchiest vinaigrettes I’ve had in a while, so all was not lost. Mark claims that the quiche was inedible because it had onions in it, but between you and me it’s hard to take these “no onions” people seriously. Back in Mark’s old stomping grounds of Brooklyn, I believe “no onions” people are referred to as “scoombadies” (pron: skOOm-bahd-EEs). I’ll leave it to you to decipher what that terminology suggests.
While the guys were delivering the informational tour of Lyon, they were quick to point out that the Mighty Missouri (or “Missoura” if you’re a proper American and like to pronounce things correctly) runs through the middle of the city. I was under the impression that it was actually the Rhone, but I did zero research prior to the start of this tour, so what do I know? Speaking of, I have spent the entire lead up to this trip telling people that we are going to Denmark on Wednesday, except the abbreviation “DE” apparently stands for Germany. I’ve also noticed a sharp increase in moments where I have been like the kid in that famous Far Side “School For the Gifted” cartoon, pulling on doors that I should be pushing. So if my goal was to try and get through Europe without making a fool of myself, it’s not going well so far.
Focusing on the upside of things, tonight’s show was sure to be a tour highlight. There were one hundred presale tickets sold for a Tuesday night show, which is obviously impressive. Promoter Jean-Sebastien’s band Cloud Shelter opened with a rousing set of crescendo-heavy post-rock tunes. They have clearly done their homework and know how to maneuver the various dynamics of the genre. This was yet another show where the opening band has had zero issue drawing the crowd in early and keeping them engaged. The heavy alternative/post-hardcore group Lodz were also clearly a local favorite, as the audience was singing along excitedly with them. Little did they know it would be their last opportunity to join in group vocals for the evening. Maybe FOREVER.
All kidding aside, this turned out to be a show that exceeded all expectations. Being able to look around through the tall windows surrounding the stage and see the city laid out around you was something to behold. The audience was incredibly receptive, something that has become a strong theme throughout the tour so far. When Ranges completed their set with the title track from “The Ascensionist” they exited the stage as they normally would, except this time they were followed with chants for an encore. Having nothing even resembling an encore prepared, the guys weren’t sure how to proceed. After a little jostling they were convinced to walk back upstairs to the merch booth, where it became clear that the crowd was not going to let them off the hook. As they took the stage again, I found my moment to call out “play ‘Night & Day’,” and CJ was appropriately nonplussed, so I decided to let it slide until a later date. They rounded out a truly special evening with performances of “Robbing Selective Peter To Pay Collective Paul” and “Crown,” something they were definitely not ready to do but pulled off to a rousing final applause.
We finished off the night at the Cloud Shelter guitarist Jerome’s apartment drinking a special anise-flavored liquor that turns cloudy when you mix it with water and eating a four cheese pizza that had blue cheese and brie counted amongst its delicious quartet of fromages. Mark insisted it wasn’t authentic New York style but still more than acceptable. I learned that I sound like a “dying bear” when I sleep, and as a result I spent the night sequestered by myself in a separate room. This will become an interesting dynamic when the seven of us share a single room apartment above the Slow Club in Freiburg, Germany tomorrow evening. Pray for the guys from Ranges, as it may be a sleepless night.
By David Zeidler