Well, readers, I was on vacation in Paris over the weekend. So of course I’m going to review a performance by a fantastic band I saw there!
To my surprise on Friday night, I ended up at a small club in the 11th arrondissement called Supersonic (9 Rue Biscornet, 75012 Paris, Frankreich). There, a set of bands performed prior to a DJ taking over. Stumbling into the space around 11pm, it reminded me a great deal of our own DC9 — it could hold about 200 people, and it was comfortable and unpretentious. Supersonic had taps, however, and it seems to me that all of the “cool places” in France and Switzerland have either a Brewdog or a Brooklyn Brewery on tap. (Supersonic indeed served up Punk IPA.)
To my even greater surprise, I arrived in time to see three well-dressed French lads take to the stage and belt out terrific English-language numbers that take a page perhaps from a young Elvis Costello or The Jam. To my ear, their music also follows occasional cues from the likes of Go West or Nick Heyward. Their style was truly quite mod; their sound, very power pop! They call themselves Okay Monday.
Okay Monday have been releasing a new song per month lately, and their latest single of this report is “Come What May,” an upbeat toast to going along for the ride. It’s a snappy guitar-centric track that leads off a four-song EP of the same name.
“Come What May” is clever enough on its own, but it derives its name from its release date in May — and it was proceeded by “April’s Fuel” in April, “Marching Band Is Coming” in March, “February, The Second Coolest” in February, — and finally “January Jones” in January.
Listen to “January Jones” by Okay Monday on Soundcloud:
Yes, “January Jones” is a tribute to the actress best known for her role in “Mad Men,” and the cover art depicts her as a cartoon ín ’60s style with a cigarette. The song is an ’80s-style kinetic blast with electronic fringes and catchy percussion.
Okay Monday opened their set with the excellent “January” on Friday, and played a 10-song set plus a three-song encore. They kept the light but attentive crowd at Supersonic quite entertained, and most people stuck around to chat with the band afterward.
From their March EP, the band performed “Holiday,” an ode to the time-tested theme of taking a vacation (although with a wry nod to finding someone to feed the fish); and from their April EP, they hit the sensational “I Love You, Keep Driving!” – a metaphor of speeding down the road as moving through life. It’s a lot of fun.
Listen to “I Love You, Keep Driving” on Soundcloud:
In their encore, Okay Monday play the April title track, another car-themed earworm that gets everyone dancing. They also delight with a surprise cover of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” and they cover it quite faithfully, which suits them very well.
In 2013, the MaMa Paris Festival noted that Okay Monday opened for the likes of Tu Fawning, Architecture In Helsinki, Cock Robin, Boogers, Sharko, Black Box Revelation, Anchorless, Bertrand Burgalat, The Virgins, and other appropriate bands in the year of their debut.
At the start, Okay Monday consisted of four chaps, including Aurélien Gainetdinoff, Jérémy Cuvelier, Johnny Boom Golightly, and Antoine Pouilly. They were a trio when I saw them perform, suggesting they may have tightened their lineup to the vocalist/guitarist, bassist, and drummer, dispensing with a permanent keyboardist. (Some cursory research suggests Antoine left for another band — AZUR.)
I can say with certainty that frontman Aurélien is a triple threat — the guy can sing, play guitar, and dance with abandon. Bassist Jérémy is suave and sure, and drummer Johnny was playful and sharp.
Well, maybe opportunity will bring Okay Monday to the United States some day? Meanwhile, if you’re an American (or English!) band touring through France, get these guys to open for you! They are perfect. Find out more about them through Soundcloud or their Facebook page.
Here are some pictures of Okay Monday performing at Supersonic on Friday, June 24. I wasn’t expecting to run into such a great band randomly, so I was equipped only with my trusty iPhone and not a real camera. Too bad as they deserved better! Still, you may well get the idea of the band here.