Le Raymond Bar

Auvergne’s very own CBGB

Watch out as you enter this place, as every nook, every chair, every regular has an insane rock’n’roll story to tell. The Raymond Bar is to Clermont-Ferrand as the CBGB is to New York. It’s a place filled with madness and rage. Even audacity. They state it loud and clear on their website: “We’re not a bar, nor a corporate gig venue. We want to support independent music and a DIY culture.” And that do-it-yourself spirit can be felt as soon you walk in. The Raymond is a tad eccentric and no bobby dazzler – quite the opposite. Yet the queue at the door speaks volumes. Make sure you have plenty of cash on you, as they don’t accept credit cards. There’s no cloakroom either, so each association or organiser must sort themselves out as they wish – or as they can. But once you’re inside, the magic truly shines! The walls plastered with stickers that are no longer readable are slightly worn thanks to decades of sweat and smoke.

The armchairs look like they’ve been disembowelled in places, there’s a packed crowd, the bands play on the same level as the audience, and the sound is a little rusty… It’s just as mad on stage: don’t be surprised to find crowds moshing on a Sunday night to a feverish set from Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O., a noisy Japanese psychedelic rock band formed in 1995. The Raymond Bar is just that: a joke for a name, a way of being, a fierce desire to remain ever young, independent and wild… It’s a club filled to the brim with fans of all things rock’n’roll, psychedelica, and unwholesome blues, who come together several times a month (take a look at their programme updated on their website) to discover local talent (the up-and-coming Super Sympa were caught playing there) and international names passing through. It may look like a dive, but it’s rock’n’roll down to the core.

Nico Prat

I want more!