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Emily Cohen Headshot

Je T'aime Sir Gainsbourg

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I like covers. Maybe it's just me, but when a band plays a song from another artist, I get really excited (those who know me best know that that means lots and lots of hand movements. As per Das Racist...a little two hand wave if you will...). There are so many great songs that have been rediscovered or even improved upon when performed by someone else -- for example: Katy Perry makes The Outfield's Use Your Love more desperate and dirty than the original falsetto let on, Bon Iver's cover of Tom Petty's Crawling Back to You casts more of a Wisconsin grim fairytale spell on the listener, and even Lera Lynn's bluegrass rendition of TV on the Radio's Wolf Like Me maintains the spookiness of the original while the banjo continues to pluck away at heartstrings.

Imagine my delight when I heard about Noise Pop and graffEats' Serge Gainbourg Covers night -- a culinary tribute to the world's greatest chefs, alongside a musical tribute to one of the world's greatest music icons, Serge Gainsbourg. Gainsbourg, a revered pop juggernaut since the late 60s, might be best known for bedding Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot and sexually propositioning Whitney Houston on television but it was his 1971 sonic masterpiece Histoire de Melody Nelson that paved the way for symphonic acts like Air and really any other band that uses vast string arrangements or tries to even begin to tackle a "concept" album. Gainsbourg has had a bit of a resurgence as of late, with his seminal record reissued for the first time on U.S. soil (see Light In The Attic Records), a biographical film in theaters (Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life), and tribute concert performed by music and film industry elite (Serge Gainsbourg tribute with Jean-Calude Vannier at the Hollywood bowl) -- but it is no real surprise why. His records are timeless -- constantly inspiring musicians and filmmakers alike with their ambition, charm, sexuality and wit.

Speaking of ambition, on September 7th and 8th, graffEat's chef Blair Warsham produced a six course gourmet meal that mirrored signature dishes from some of the most well-respected chefs in the world (Eric Ripert and Charlie Trotter just to drop a few names...) while Noise Pop paired the food with Gainbourg songs that best reflected the essence and style of each particular dish. Envision Cappuccino de Foie Gras et Truffles de l'Ete paired with the rich and dense arrangement of Arcade Fire's cover of Pupee de Cire, Poupes de Son -- such a wonderous and decadent play on all five senses. Now imagine such delectable dishes six times over. Completely gratuitous and indulgent -- just how Gainsbourg would have wanted it.

I had a fear that the concept of pairing Serge Gainsbourg's eclectic musical stylings with gourmet dishes would be a daunting and unconquerable task. How could anyone truly encapsulate the King of French pop into one feast? But I had no idea that the unstoppable trio of chef Blair Warsham, Noise Pop and the scenic and incomparable Hands on Gourmet offices and kitchen would elevate the evening to such insurmountable heights. Cause really, that is the only way to conquer the essence of Monsieur Gainsbourg: you have to please the eyes, tantalize the tongue, and envelope the ears with awesome.

Noise Pop's next Covers night will be in honor of the Treasure Island Music Festival on October 15th and 16th, and I highly recommend all food and music lovers attend. The event's location, food, and theme will all be a secret until 24 hours before the dinner-- but I have heard that this time around there might be pirates/a pirate theme involved. Considered yourself nautically scooped!