mardi 29 avril 2014

Further down the Coast

I left the Californian flashback somewhere in Big Sur. After marvelling at the sight of those gigantic trees, we hit the road again, further down Highway 1, further South, the final aim being Los Angeles. Of course, before reaching LA, we had plenty of time to admire the deep blue Ocean... and the inhabitants living on its shores. A nice encounter along the way! Last stop before returning to the busy life of a busy city: Malibu and its "27 miles of scenic beauty". Which is kind of a lie, I have to say. What I mostly saw was a long, long, very long line of houses directly facing the Ocean and kinda blocking my view!

"Fly away to Malibu"

mardi 22 avril 2014

John The Conqueror

After a well-deserved Easter break, I'm back in town and before my computer screen -that is to say, before the numerous photos I still have to sort out and work on. I'm also taking another break from the photos of California to go back two months ago, when I was lucky enough to see John The Conqueror in concert in Barcelona. Here goes a bit of context.

I was going through a moment of slight musical frustration while seeing that a lot of international artists were excluding Spain from their tours, something that I finally understood not so long ago (thanks, Spanish government, for increasing the taxes and making it so expensive for national and international artists to play in the country). So to try and fight that feeling, I checked the musical programme of one of my favourite concert venues in Barcelona, the Apolo, hoping to find something exciting. Among unknown names, suddenly appeared before my eyes "John The Conqueror - produced by Dan Auerbach". You have to visualize my raised eyebrows at this point. Quid?... Filled with curiosity and expectations, I immediately listened to their first self-titled album. I had hardly finished listening to the record that my concert ticket was bought... Yeah, just like that. This is just one of these records, you know... Some kind of power blues-rock that takes you to the guts and irresistibly makes you want to move your feet at the same time.

So of course, I was pretty impatient to see them live. I rushed to the Apolo on the 15th of February, thinking I was running late. I arrived there just to find the three musicians smoking their cigarettes before the entrance. That just set the tone for the gig that I was about to see. And my... What a fucking great concert! The three of them just looked perfectly at ease and relaxed on stage and played their "soulful amalgam of bluesy rhythm, smooth bass and tight percussion" (as much as I'm trying, I just don't seem to come up with a better description!) for I don't even know how long because I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't see time pass by. This mixture of energy, which sometimes verges on electric rage, and of bitter-sweet melancholy somehow takes you right from the first notes, right from the first guitar riffs and doesn't let you go until long after the last note resonates in your ears. Saying that these three guys are amazing musicians would be an understatement at this point. A guitar, a bass and a drum kit, it's all that it takes them to convey a whole array of emotions. 

Sure as hell: it was one of these raw, soulful concerts that you leave feeling both happy and slightly melancholic. My only hope now is that they come back to continue conquering Europe real soon...

In blue and red
Smokin' drums
Music for the soul, music for the feet
Beers and drums

For once, I managed to make a couple of videos that are not shaky... but of course, as it would have been too easy, the sound is crappy! Guess I was standing too close to the stage and the amps. Anyway, I'm still sharing the links if you're interested in having a glimpse at what the gig looked like: I recorded "Lucille" and "Southern Boy", one of my favourites of the first record.

dimanche 13 avril 2014

Big Sur

Let's retake the course of this road trip! After travelling this first bit down the coast, we arrived in the Big Sur county. A few more stops to admire the landscapes from some of the (numerous) view points settled along Highway 1 and we made it to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Being unable to go to Yosemite for logistical reasons (namely, the snow!), we had thought about making a stop in one of the numerous state parks along the coast. So Pfeiffer Big Sur it was! Not as spectacular as Yosemite must be but we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere and the change of landscapes, not to mention this kind of weird emotion that got over me when I saw these huge trees... Nature really seems to have a different scale on this continent... :-)


mercredi 2 avril 2014

Down Highway 1

I realize that I'm running really late in my publications but I have to say I rather enjoy this feeling of sorting out my photos and my memories. It makes me feel like I was in California two weeks ago! So after the musical break I took when I published my photos of Depeche Mode, I'm back to the Californian road trip.

I left things in San Francisco. After these two amazing days we spent there and in Oakland, we took the road again, heading South on the famous Highway 1, which is said to run along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA. Not hard to believe: the landscapes are truly amazing as the road improbably makes its way between the Pacific Ocean and the inland hills. Time to really enjoy driving a convertible! We reached Half Moon Bay more or less at mid-day and it is really after this stop that the landscapes became spectacularly beautiful, the road turning sharply among the cliffs. Hard to take my eyes off of these sights... We kept driving, making regular stops to get lost in the contemplation of the Pacific and its infinite horizon line until we made it to the Monterey Bay Area, dropped the car to walk through Capitola and reached the piers just in time for sunset.

"I wish I was the moon"