PJ Harvey at la Route du Rock festival (St Malo, 18th August 2017)

Back to the future! Ten years after my last attendance at the Route du Rock festival, here I was again, still young and full of hope in life! Funny also to go back to this indie festival which struggles every year to make both ends meet but succeeds year on year in having a very good line-up. So, how was the festival overall?

  • Pros: very good line-up, smaller crowds as in other festival, having a second stage brings a lot of dynamism, no rain at all this year, eating a saucisse-galette, attending a festival while on holidays and last but not least meeting again prestigious VIP’s from Rennes.
  • Cons: only seven (!) food places, lots of queue for the drinks with the new Cashless system, people smoke a lot, gigs start too late (I could not see Future Islands from 2 to 3 am), plenty of pushing and rushing from the audience… and the pile of manure brought by the local farmer (who name is supposed to be M. Lecoulant!)


So lots of enjoyment from gigs such as the ones from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Angel Olsen, The Arab Strap or Interpol revisiting their “Turn On The Bright Lights” album in all its glory but the real treat for me was the PJ Harvey concert.


It was only my second PJ Harvey concert ever and I must say I had been quite disappointed the first time I saw her at the Eurockéennes festival in 2004. That was probably at an intermediary time for PJ Harvey as she was between her first straight-to-your-face guitar period and the current one, which is brainy, political and multi-instrumental.

PJ Harvey is to me more and more like jazz artists in the sense that one could quite like an album (as I was with her latest opus “The Hope Six Demolition Project“) but feel a totally different experience while attending one of her concert. The show she presented at the Route du Rock is not new as she had been doing it for around a year now…but is really beautiful. The musicianship is amazing and players such as John Parish, Mick Harvey or the legendary Terry Edwards are amongst the best in their respective fields.


I really liked also the beauty and simplicity of the concept: one woman and seven men, all dressed in black, no talk between songs, no “thanks”,…just the purity and strength of the songs. The setlist was quite impacted by the latest two LP’s but there were a few old songs too like the amazing “Down By The Water” for instance.

Overall great show and nice festival which I hope I will attend more regularly now.


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