SXSW With LOM: French Rockers, Free Tequila And MXMW
So we're checked in and we're on the way up to the room. Who's in the elevator with us? John Popper from Blues Traveler. In person, he looks like a cartoon character, something waxy and a bit spooky about his motel tan. He's all effusive, wanting to make sure everyone in the elevator is coming to his showcase. Lonesome, Onry and Mean doesn't make eye contact. We have other plans.
Photos by Amy Prasad Inspector Cluzo, aka The French Bastards
Just in front of the hotel is the France Rocks tent. When we arrived, a rocking, raunchy band called Inspector Cluzo (who also occasionally go by the charming moniker The French Bastards) is blasting a too-good-looking crowd with some Motely Crue-ish rock. We signed up for this because it is run by the French Export Bureau and they have promised free wine. And they deliver. Despite a noon-ish huge carne guisada breakfast at Cisco's on E. 7th, by 2:30 we are buzzing.
Inspector Cluzo seems to think that yelling "Fuck you" and "Fuck" over the microphone is the sign of U.S. rock stardom. It's getting annoying, and getting in the way of the acceptance of their music, which is pretty good and often funny. The distracting impromptu fashion show is also getting in the band's way.
We meet Michelle Aran, the head of publicity for the France Rocks shindig. She has the worried look of someone in charge of something with too many moving parts - and way too many musicians - but she is gracious and takes time to talk about some of her favorites among the scheduled bands.
She also introduces us to Mr. Patrice Vanoni, the French cultural attache who just happens to live in Houston. He is dipping into a plate of tacos that are as good as any of the food we've had at any event so far. When Inspector Cluzo harangues the crowd to chant "Fuck the bass player, fuck the bass player," Vanoni visibly winces and rolls his eyes at us. Thankfully he seems to have missed the band talking about wanting to have sex with the French President's wife.
The second band up is Revolver. My companion notes, "Now this looks like a French band." Black shirts, cool sunglasses, and rock star good looks do give Revolver a certain savoir faire that was missing from the Inspector Cluzo. After an interminable soundcheck to get the cello right, Revolver begins with a stomping rockabilly number that revs up the crowd which seems to contain more than its fair share of supermodel candidates.
The band worked its way through a repertoire of catchy rock songs, some with four-part harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. At that point, my female companion said, "Let's split, this sounds like some sappy chick shit." Lonesome, Onry and Mean hated to leave that red wine behind.
Free booze can be a real killer on these Austin afternoons that are more like the beginning of summer than spring. Leaving France Rocks, we waltzed down the street with a good wine buzz and stumbled in on the New West Records day party.