A Blog-u-mentary
about one family's experience moving from a
tropical Caribbean paradise
to another type of paradise in the
heart of Provence.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Knocking 'em out with her American thighs

Leave it to the Americans to get the joint jumping
AIX en PROVENCE - A fun night out at a strangely out-of-place restaurant/club setup just outside Aix. Red Peppers is located just off the highway, in true roadhouse fashion, and has kind of a funky Southwestern US/Tex-Mex theme going on. Random American sports paraphenelia, requisite US license plates, and a sampling of other classic Americana from the Elvis Presley and Route 66 eras adorn the walls.

Was Deion ever in the house?
We arrived relatively early (8:15) on a Friday night. Our French friends, Stephanie and Eric, thought this would be an appropriate spot to take their four American friends (our US pals Audrey and Dave also join us). The Cadillac on the roof was an interesting welcome as we entered the otherwise empty restaurant, with just the band, who would take the stage later, sitting at the bar.The menus are printed on old albums, which is a pretty cool touch and the selection features mainly hamburgers, Mexican food (Gallic style) and crazy cocktails. Decidedly un-French.  Corona and Bud are surprisingly available (a rarity in France) and they even have Mexican wine(?).
Straight off Route 66
The meal was uneventful, and my Jack Daniels-flavored Burger was the highlight.

The band quietly took the stage - two guitarists and a drummer - as we ordered up a second bottle of wine and more beer. A mixed bag of a crowd slowly files in and by the time the music starts it's a fairly full house, made up of young, double-dating couples, a few older folks (including an interesting family consisting of a guy in a 38 Special T Shirt, his wife sporting a matching black AC/DC model, and their young daughter fetching them beers from the bar), and, definitely out of context, Savannah's French teacher.

The band, called Who's Next, rips through some OK covers of various UK and American rocks songs, most dating back into the 70s and 60s (we have to Google on the iPhone to figure out who the original artists are on a few of them - Free did "All Right Now," in case you are wondering, and Nat King Cole did the original 'Route 66"). Renditions of The Stones, The Who, AC/DC (older wife lady in the black T likes this) and others are performed in perfect English, although I get the sneaking suspicion the band really doesn't speak English. They occasionally work in a classic French sing-song number, and everyone happily joins is (except us). The height of European multi-culturalism occurs when they cover Santana's "Oye Como Va": Latin Rock in a American bar performed by French musicians in the heart of Provence. The mostly French audience seems to enjoy, and even somewhat recognize, most of the tunes, but other than the French classics (I think there were 2?), don't really sing along or get up and dance.

That's left to the ugly Americans who eventually create an ad hoc dance floor near the stage, to the somewhat perplexed reaction of the band. The three girls in our group shake their groove thing and get amused glances from the audience. Toni then insists on the band playing Bruce Springsteen, which they politely decline (three times) each time she yells up to them. They finally offer up a half-hearted attempt at the Black Eye Peas as a consolation.

All in all, a nice little American night out and not a bad hamburger...and Toni assures us Savannah is a shoo-in for an A in French after working her French teacher for a good part of the night.


  1. FUN! Might have to find this place and drag my husband to it :-)

  2. It's fun in a throw back American way. It looks like they have a lot of live music, though.