Festival Villette Sonique, Paris, 29th and 31st May, 2011: Suuns, Cheveu, OOIOO & The Fall

Villette Sonique is a true original music festival where you will find a sharp line-up, quite different indeed from the regular heavyweight bands seen all summer long in all big festivals. It does take place in the different concert halls of the beautiful la Villette area (North-East of Paris) during six days, indoor or outdoor.

I managed to see four bands which is too little compared to quality of festival and I missed in particular great bands/artists such as Animal Collective, Thurston Moore (cherished leader of Sonic Youth) or Caribou. I will get a better organization next year!

I first saw Suuns play on one of the outdoor stages (“Prairie du cercle sud”) on a beautiful, hot and sunny Sunday. Suuns are a very promising young Canadian band and I clearly recommend their first LP called “Zeroes QC” (2010) if you like original new music mixing Pavement, Radiohead and Krautrock influences. On top of that, they are a very good live band and they really enjoyed being on stage in Paris. On the right side of one of the picture, you will find the photograph Robert Gil. You can not miss the guy if you go to a concert in Paris as he is always dressed in black, with a weird haircut and small sunglasses. I talked to him once and he confirmed me that he was shooting concert pictures every evening of the year, for pleasure only. Go to his site to see “fotos de verdade”!

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Different picture on Tuesday evening in the Grande Halle de la Villette with three unusual bands (and one of my favorite ever!):

– Out of the asylum ! : the first band I saw was the French band Cheveu. One of the most unhype band I ever saw in terms of clothes and style, they consist of a trio (two synths, one guitar) with a singer kind of talking something in an unknown language between songs. However, when they play, they are really good! Recommended for fans of Suicide (not the act of doing it but the NY band) or Krautrock. And we @ “Virginsandphilistines” have always been fans of screaaaaaaaming singers…

Your weird Asian cousins!: OOIOO are four sexy but at the same time old-fashioned dressed Japanese girls playing a kind of tribal African music mixed with psychedelic sounds. I had never heard them before and would like now to discover their records as I really enjoyed the show. Happy to get any reader’s recommendation for a nice LP from OOIOO…

Your embarrassing old uncle! : Yes, I am a happy man; I finally saw The Fall live, one of my favorite bands ever. Coming from Manchester during the punk era, they have been doing records for more than thirty years. They? Well, he as the band is based on the nucleus of Mark E. Smith who regularly sacks the members (even when he is married with one of them…) and reform a new version of the band. And the music? “Always the same, always different” as said by the late great British D.J. John Peel. Difficult to summarize but let us say that the Fall musicians play a kind of psychobilly punk music with very strong rhythmic section (bass and drums) whereas Mark E. Smith mumbles words. I think I have around 30 LP’s, singles or box sets so difficult to choose but I would recommend either the compilation “50,000 Fall fans can’t be wrong” (2004) or probably their best album “This Nation’s Saving Grace” (1985). Musicians were very good live but one must say that Mark E. Smith is really embarrassing and fascinating at the same time to see on stage as he has virtually no contact whatsoever with the audience, spends his time bothering his musicians (making the drums fall or turning off the amplifier’s sound from the guitar player…) or makes funny faces, like Mister Magoo. But stop, no harsh feeling, I saw the Fall and now I can die in peace…

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