The concept of attending a non-summer festival is always weird as they are often associated with outdoors events, when one can enjoy his beer under the sun… or rain clouds. However, let’s start with our first part with Pitchfork Music Festival held in the beautiful site of La Grande Halle de la Villette.
Pitchfork is probably today the worldwide best web music site where one can find five very critical and elaborate records reviews every day, news, articles and videos (on Pichfork.tv) and all this for free. They had started to organize a festival in Chicago a few years ago and since 2011 Paris has been honoured to host the European leg of their festival. This year was the second edition and as I was stuck in Paris during a Bank Holiday for working reasons, here I was attending these great three days in the middle of the hippest audience seen in Paris for a concert. Great festival, mixing lots of artists and bands, mainly from the electro world but from soul, rock and hip-hop as well with a different touch and other options compared to your standard festivals : great food, trendy shops, a Rough Trade music store, people from all countries in the audience, etc… The only difficult thing to cope with was to be in a good enough physical shape to attend all the shows, starting everyday at 5 pm until very late…
Day One (1st of November) :
Very electic day to start with and I must say all ten bands/artists were either interesting to watch or great, even if I still have difficulties to stay focused and passionate about seeing guys on stage in front of machines, even if their music is often enjoyable (I guess I am an old-fashioned guitar-loving guy…). I had been particularly impressed by the beautiful voice of the singer of How To Dress Well and the voice and weirdness of James Blake whom I had the pleasure to see in another atmosphere at Austin City Limits around a year ago. Top three shows of the day were the following ones as far as I am concerned :
Japandroids are a guitar and drums band formed near Vancouver. Their first LP went out in 2011 and it was supposed to be their swan record as they had not succeeded in having a strong follow-up despite good reviews. It looks like their fate was to be different as Pitchfork did an excellent review of this first album and word of mouth started to have a positive impact on the band. Excellent and super-energetic show from Japandroids and I do recommend warmly their new “Celebration Rock” LP for those who like their music with blood, sweat … and humour.
Sébastien Tellier is an old musical acquaintance of your host as I remember having bought very enthusiastically his first LP “L’incroyable vérité” many years ago and having see him on stage opening for Air in Strasbourg @ la Laiterie theatre. The guy is a mix of guilty-pleasure music, kitsch, craziness, very down-to-earth and very funny indeed French jokes but mainly an extraordinary talent, who wrote in particular one of the most beautiful songs ever with “La Ritournelle”. His last LP “My God Is Blue” is based on an invented story around a Blue sect, which gives you an idea about the character… Anyway, very fascinating show, with him onstage playing a V-neck guitar and beautiful piano with the help of his two great musicians (drums and synths).
Last but not least, the first day finished with M83 as headliner, the band led by Anthony Gonzalez, from Antibes, France! I had never been a real fan of his cinematic electro music in the past although I found it very nice to hear. Everything changes with his last LP “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” which is a heavy ambitious (too much sometimes?) 22-track piece of work and holds fantastic hymns, in a Daft-Punk-meets-Cocteau-Twins style. I did not stay until the end as I had something called office work the following day but that was indeed the best band to finish this first marathon of 10 bands…
For amazing photos of Day One, please click to go to the Pitchfork site.
Keep on being posted for Day Two review to come soon!