In September this year I got to see my favourite Aussie band play in a grungy cellar in Paris.

The band was Bad//Dreems – or the Baddies as their Aussie fans call them – and it was the first time I’d seen them live.

When people ask me why I live in London, this is one of the reasons I give. The rest of the world, right on your doorstep, and only an inconveniently-timed budget airline flight away.

Of course, if I lived in Oz, I’d be able to see the Baddies whenever they passed through town. But you get my point.

Anyway, I got a cheap return to Orly with Vueling and a cheap hotel in the less salubrious part of Montmartre.

If I turned right leaving the hotel, I found myself in the heart of Paris’s Red Light District.

Left, and I got swept up by the crowds of tourists swarming out of the Anvers Metro station and heading up to Sacré-Cœur.

Paris Red Light District (Peter Moore)
Merch from the Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)

The Baddies were playing in L’International, a pub on rue Maret in Paris’s Popincourt district. 

A Parisian I met in Texas has since told me that the kind of area Popincourt is depends on what day you visit and what time. 

On an unseasonably warm Friday night in September it was buzzy and exciting, with stylishly dressed-down locals spilling out onto the street in front of pubs and cafes and restaurants laughing, drinking and vaping.

The guy on the door checked my ticket and clocked it was No. 000001 with what I perceived as an impressed Gallic shrug. I’d bought the ticket as soon as the band put the link to the show on their Bandcamp page. So sue me.

Ben Marwe, the lead singer, was manning the merch table so I mooched over and bought a T-shirt.

There were only large and extra-large sizes left. The band had just toured Germany and they’d sold all the smaller sizes.  

“They’re all skinny cunts,” he said with a laugh.

My ticket to see the Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)

A set of stairs led down to a dark cellar with a low ceiling and a tiny stage. 

It was already filling up and people were jostling for position. 

I managed to push my way most of the way to the front, but my progress was thwarted at the last by a huge French man and his wife. 

A farmer from Brittany, I surmised, with a penchant for Aussie Post Punk Pub Rock.

The Baddies started the show with ‘Gutful’ and kept notching it up from there. They played the best songs off their best albums and were as tight as fuck. 

Ben Marwe was something else too.

He prowled the stage snarling and growling like an evil bogan demon, poking the lights with his mic stand and pushing out against the tight confines of the stage.

For an hour or so in a subterranean corner of Paris I was transported back to my youth.

I was lank-haired and flannel-shirted again, listening to The Radiators, The Angels, The Sunnyboys, Chisel, Aussie Crawl in sweaty pubs across Sydney. 

When Marwe came into the crowd during ‘Dumb Ideas’ and led a chant of ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’ it was as close to heaven as an Aussie can get.

Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)
Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)

There wasn’t an encore. The crowd wanted one. The band was about to play one.

The nervous manager of L’International had other ideas. He jumped up on stage waving his arms yelling ‘No! No! No!’ before shutting them down.

The noise curfew laws are strict in this part of Paris, it seems.

I ended up seeing the Baddies two more times on their European tour. Once in London and then in Brighton the very next night. 

My wife called me an embarrassment. The Baddies christened me ‘Elite Pete.’

They were both great shows, but nothing beats your first time. 

Especially when it’s in a dark sweaty cellar in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

Cheers from the Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)

Main image: Baddies in Paris (Peter Moore)