Total Victory Tour Diary Part 4: Lyon to Marseille

From the foothills of the Pennines to the Mediterranean coast and back again. This is Total Victory’s French odyssey as told by the band.

Narrator = Dan (singer)
ML = Matt Leonard (bass)
ME = Matt Evans (guitar)
James = James (drums)
MM = Martin (guitar)

TV MarseilleI used to read the Deerhunter blog regularly. Bradford Cox was (still is, possibly) a funny writer and would often share music that he had recorded in downtime on the road; full songs, not sketches, that would fill sides of lesser bands’ albums. I don’t know how he manages it. There is no real downtime. Talk of the wives and girlfriends of band members coming along for part of the tour was initially floated and eventually rejected. Whilst this has been fun so far, it has not been that kind of fun.

We roll out of town after a pleasant meander around Lyon in search of a cymbal stand, though I stand in dog shit for the first time in 15 years; nostalgically spending 20 minutes outside of a drum shop, attacking the tread of my shoes with a stick and stepping in every available source of standing water.

An incident-free approach to Marseille inadequately prepares us for the byzantine network of thin roads, low tunnels and collective vehicle-based mania. Women on scooters in fashionable heels weave in and out of men unloading washing machines from their car, parked in the centre of the road. Rounding a tight corner with a large kerb, the right hand side of the van is briefly tossed on a concrete wave. Tired from chain-eating Strepsils to soothe a ragged throat, I sleep in the van in Place Jean Jaures whilst everyone else, tired from everything else, finds beer.

Marseille is generally unkempt and appears gritty but ultimately recalls Bristol in its diversity, hills and tendency toward anarchist / squat-type arrangements. La Machine à Coudre (The Sewing Machine) is situated down a slender alley. Cars queue behind us as we unload all of our equipment, instruments and suitcases in record time. It is Tuesday night and we are 1000 miles from home. A Place To Bury Strangers are in town, as well as a well-anticipated punk show, so expectations are minimal. At 9.15pm, there are only a few people in the bar.

La Machine à Coudre

La Machine à Coudre

By the time local group Catalogue take the stage, the venue is bustling. They’re really good. Ticking, nervous rhythms and slicing guitars with moments of pop and noise, they remind me of forgotten Scottish group Motormark, albeit with less nihilism and more melody.

Our performance is greeted with greater rapture than 90% of the shows we have played at home. Roland and Pia from the group NTWIN, our hosts for the evening, have managed to drag out a great audience from somewhere. Disrepair shows; my voice, ME’s guitar and ML’s bass cabinet all go through their own minor wars, but ultimately things ran at least three times as well as our in-van prognostication would have it.

Back at Roland and Pia’s abode, we are introduced to regional liquors and the Italian band Lucertulas (on record, not in person) and finally, after a few days, everyone gets a decent sleep. Our luck holds out.

Part 5: Marseille to Lorient


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