Smiling Ivy Tour the French Alps: Northern Soul meets va-va-voom

ski a

At the precipice… of the crucible… of the *more epic preamble here*  of early-spring 2013 ( a time still vivid in my mind…) as I was to embark on a ‘no holds barred’ all out chaos, music fest, booze-up and extreme sports weekend with my favourite Funk/Dub Band Smiling Ivy.

My perilous voyage into the deep French heart-land. The home of the croissant (and suspiciously rare-cooked hamburger) .. could only be for one reason…  to spend a few of my days on this mortal plane upside down on ski slope with a bottle of snapps.. All to the sound track of “Ape-O-Calypso” by Smiling Ivy.

To begin my journey at the beginning: Picture a guy.. possibly a bit lost, deshevilled,  hung over and clinging to a foamy Amstel like he’s at the last port before the Storm (the Airport bar in the middle of the day….) know the type? That’s me… departing Easy-Jet for the most extreme combo imaginable: Smiling Ivy (Kings of the debauched  sex, drugs & rock’n’roll lifestyle.. with the gig perched on top of an Alp – Funk me!! (excusing my French)

I sat considering this and pondered if I would get back to old Blighty with all my vital organs intact…  but I also had to think of the party about to ensue….. A band boastful of Northern soul leading the SKA / funk / Reggae fusion scene of the North… And generally salt of the earth party-animals (who I am proud to have known for a number of years) and have been at the epicentre of the best and most debauched encounters of my youthful years.

When I heard they were making the road trip in a Van best described as ‘barely legal’ up the perilous French mountains of Les Deux Alpes.. I couldn’t just stand idly by… I told my boss to open up some emergency time off, booked my flight and fortified my liver. For anyone considering going to Les Duex Alpes, Easy Jet offer a  pleasant (if a little basic) trip to Grenoble for the modest price of £47 return. (Thank you Sky scanner!) It was then a 45 min Bus ride or a 30 min TAXI to the top, when I was stood in the doorway of buzzing Bar, filled with the most energetic and physically fit partiers and dancers I’d ever seen, I knew then, I had made a great call.

ski ski i ski 11 ski iii

Smiling Ivy played 4 funk filled bouncy gigs over 3 hazy nights, the mixed European crowd were a riot and the Ivy boys got a reception way beyond anyones expectations.  I flew to the Alps for 2 reasons: To share the experience of their first international gig, as they’re doing it!! Another reason is to see the reaction of the French or Italian or Dutch as they absorb Ivy’s unique sound in the surroundings, that are so majestic and impressive.

Finally we enjoyed a marked occasion with a feast of a meal joined by the ‘Seasonaires’ Hippy-boarders who would rather go head first down the precipice of a monstrous mountain than face a real job… god bless them.  The next day we took our pounding heads and dragged our weary bones up a mountain to try our hand at snowboarding! Whilst hung over and with little, to no experience between us….. Several concussions later and with a fully inflated sense of pride and ego we disembarked from the frost bitten mountain side to recover in the comforts of another well-earned drink(s), Hot tub, sauna and massage. All capped off by a rum and schnapps chaser, and then another sobering encounter spent face first down the mountain.

Big thanks to all that helped the band: Chis ‘the Arnivore’ Arnold – DJ and eventer @coolbeans  Sam Staton and especially a massive shout out to James kearney “Seasonaire Extroadinaire” for making this happen. You can find James’ latest entrepreneurial exploits in his typically tongue in cheek clothing brand ‘Stupid’  —

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To Check out Smiling Ivy’s latest sounds, golden oldies, Tour Dates and much…. much more please visit . Also they will be back next year in Les Deux Alpes for a Tour bigger and better than last year (If that’s possible) I hope to be illuminated.

Please send any of your pics of crazy gigs in exotic or not-so exotic locations, Do it for London Boy  #LBcrazygigs


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