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Block Rockin’ Pain o ChoKolat

Will Hutchins writing for I V Y paris

Unless you were so incredibly hung-over on Sunday that you couldn’t leave your apartment all day then you surely would have noticed that it was Fête de la Musique. Dj’s were spinning from the rooftops, buskers were on every street corner and bands and barbecues were joined together in musical matrimony outside bars. Free live music all over the city equals good day, plus great weather equals an even better day!

I decided to celebrate this joyous occasion at perennial Parisian party throwers Pain o ChoKolat’s block party at place Gustav Toudouze, XVIIIeme, in conjunction with the Pigalle clothes boutique. 

The dj and artist collective who proclaim themselves to be “a revoulution that brings music, fashion, modern art and street culture naturally together”, had a set up a stage and small beer tent in the little square. As well as PoC djs playing some party-starting (but to be honest, not very well mixed) hip hop whilst a little kid pretended to play the keyboard and a man who dressed like it was literally his job to pull 80’s dance moves robot-ed all over the place, the hipster crowd were getting down and dirty to some live bands.

The band that seemed to be constantly onstage throughout I can’t remember the name of. They were a funky jazz brass band backed up by a guitar/bass/drum trio who seemed to playing Rage Against The Machine songs while the others were tooting the horns at the front of stage. All sounded pretty good to me. Then came the big surprise that the Pok blokes had promised in their build up to the event. Heavy weight French hip hop hero Oxmo Puccino entered stage left to woops of excited joy from the crowd and fronted the block party house band for a few songs. He’s the type of rapper that the French do so well an intelligent, mannered wordsmith with a social conscience.

After this some other wonderful looking band played but I don’t their name and they seemed to play only one song, which sounded like one really long intro but also sounded really, really good. I fear I may have had a few too many ‘33’ by this point to fully appreciate what was being played but I was getting a Prince vibe. And most of all I liked the dreadlocked front man’s look of no shirt accessorised with comedy sized bow tie and big and shiny diamond earring. With him sitting behind a keyboard in his crazy get-up it made me think of Prince, although it could have made me think of Elton John. I think that’s the real reason why I liked them so much.

The Pain o ChoKolat crew certainly seem to be pleasing the Mairie along with the punters as they announced that next year they might be upgrading their ‘Fête de la Musique’ surroundings from this little Montmartre square to far grander Place de l’Opéra!

Bonapart Paris apartments


Gustav Toudouze is in the IXeme.

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