Rock en Seine Part 2

So hopefully your back for part 2 of our adventure to Rock en Seine

Saturday

So I spent celebrating my 37 birthday at a festival, the great thing about a festival that’s on a metro line is that you get to head into the city and meet a friend for birthday lunch before the festival starts. When we got back we headed to the main stage to see St Paul and The Broken Bones a soul band from Alabama, they were pretty good and a nice way to ease your self in to the second day of a festival.

 

Thee Oh Sees

If you like your music consisted entirely of experimental feedback, then this is the band for you!

Cheveu 

A cross between Gogol Bordello and Aphex Twin, I’m pretty sure as we passed at one point, one of the band members was standing on their equipment possibly in the name of art, possibly because they were just showing off.

Portishead

Last time I saw Portishead was in a bingo hall in Minehead, this time it’s in a park in the suburbs of Paris.

They opened with Silence off the album Third, followed by Mysterions a and The Rip. Wandering Star (one of my favourite tracks) was hauntingly beautiful with Beth’s voice all soft and wistful.

Wandering Star

This was followed up by Machine Gun with bass track set at organ liquidating level, you could feel you’re bones vibrating, this is how Machine Gun is meant to sound, it’s supposed to hit you in the very core. That’s the thing with Portishead live, you hear the songs how they’re really meant to sound whether is it soft and wistful or bone shattering loud! 

They’re songs were accompanied by video art, they played a track I never heard before called Chase The Tear which I was informed was Krautrock. They played an encore of Roads and finished with We Carry One.

Checked out some guy called Flume, he was some sort of DJ, he was jumping around a lot, seemed to hit a few button here and there, lost interest very quickly.

Saw about five minutes of The Horrors

 and then saw about five minutes of the Prodigy, the last time I saw the Prodigy was at Download festival, they are a good band to see live but to be honest I just wasn’t into this time round.

Sunday

Sunday was a bit more sedate, I only really wanted to see three bands which were Brody Dalle, Tinariwen and Queens of The Stone Age, so we spent most of the morning just lazing around in the tent reading and eating junk food!

Brody Dalle

Even though I had seen Brody Dalle a few months ago at the Electric Ballroom, I was keen to see her in a festival setting, some bands thrive in different settings, some are good in small, intimate club settings, others fair better at stadium settings, other at festivals, Dalle seems to fair better in a festival setting.

Photo by Tim Campbell

She open with Rat Race off the new album Diploid Love, followed by a couple of Distillers tracks such as Dismantle Me and Die on a Rope. Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy is probably one of my fave tracks of the new album, also played Parties for Prostitutes, a few more Distillers tracks and ended with Underworld. The problem with smaller stages at festivals means short sets. Still very much enjoyed the set.

Saw about 5 minutes of Thurston Moore on the indie stage which is the smallest stage at the festival and also at this point the most packed so we left in search of food.

Tinariwen

I First discovered Tinariwen on Later with Jools Holland, they are a group of Taureg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali but formed in Algeria in 1979 and returned to Mali in the 1990s after the cease fire, they describe themselves as a Saharan Blues Band. When I heard they were playing the festival I knew this would be a chance to actually get to see them play live.

The stage area was packed so we grabbed some food and chilled out in one of the art zones allowing us to eat and watch the band at the same time. They were really cool and totally enjoying the festival vibe.

Queens of The Stone Age

I’ve seen this band a few times, this will not surprise you as they are my favourite band and they were the main deciding factor in schlepping across the the channel to camp in a field! The stage set was as always quite impressive, they have built themselves a reputation as a festival band, I’ve seen a few live streams of their appearances at Rock am Ring and other European festivals. The set was limited to and hour fifteen minutes because it was Sunday but they ended up playing for an hour and half. Now apparently we were having such a good time between us, The Goth and I didn’t take many pictures and those we did weren’t that great, sorry!

Photo by Tim Campbell

They opened with Millionaire, followed by No One Knows and My God is the Sun to get the crowd going. My favourite rendition of the night was Feel Good Hit of Summer with them slowing the tempo right down in the middle and giving the song a whole new edge, I loved it. I Wanna Make It Witch was played for all the couples in the audience and of course Josh takes to the piano for Vampyre of Time and Memory, followed by the raucous Sick, Sick, Sick which has to be one of my fave QOTSA videos of all time. I had a good sing along to I appear Missing my fave track along with Vampyre of the Like Clockwork album.

They finished with Go With The Flow and Song From The Dead and it was an amazing ride and I’m probably biased but having someone told me recently that they’d sold out/passed it whatever, I have to strongly disagree. They are a band that functions on playing great live music and getting everyone to dance at the party, they want to have a good time and they want you to have a good time and that is always the vibe I’ve got from them when seeing them play live which is why I keep going back for more. It was a great end to a great festival.

Overview of Festival

I like Rock En Seine, it’s a small festival compared to some, they have four stages with only two stages playing at one time mainly due to the limitation of space, the two bigger stages alternate and so do the smaller stages. This means less bands but also means less band clashes and you get to stick around longer for the sets. This is also one of the cleanest festivals I’ve been to, they heavily promote recycling and unlike some festivals I’ve been to people here don’t leave their trash on the floor for someone else to pick up 9well most of them don’t). They also have a return cup scheme, you pay a euro for a reusable plastic cup that you can use for the entire festival (or get it swapped for free for a clean one) and return it at the end to get your deposit back or in our case keep as souvenirs. They also promote hearing safety and were giving out free ear plus, muppet here forgot hers and ended up buying some from a chemist in the train station but that was before I knew about the free ones. It’s also kid friendly, there is a kids activity area for the smaller kids.

I would definitely go back but next time I won’t camp, despite saying to be mindful of other campers when they are sleeping, there is a huge club tent smack bang in the middle of the campsite that runs till 3am! But there are showers and the toilets are emptied and cleaned everyday so yeah it’s swings and roundabouts, if you plan on staying in the campsite I recommend really good earplugs. Besides the metro is still running after the festival finishes so most people could book a hotel for the weekend.

Well that marks the end of festival season for me, what have been to this year?

Natasha  x

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