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Festival Review: Heineken Open'er // Gdynia, Poland // 5 July 2012 // Day 2: Bon Iver and Justice

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Thursday was a day I had been looking forward too for a long time. I finally got to see what must be one of my top 5 artist my dear old Bonnie Bear.

You all should be aware of my admiration for Bon Iver and Justin Vernon – the only man to beat all my insomnia. There is something so completely indescribably pure, genuine and touching to his music that makes all else stop when I listen to it. And of course with such high expectations it’s difficult to be satisfied by a performance. But more than blown away I was. Bon Iver’s self titled new album is more complex than the first and this means he no longer performance just by himself (as he started off with) or with his 1-3 accomplices (Sean Carey who approached him after a show and volunteered his services, Michael Noyce his old guitar student and Matthew McCaughan who he met on tour with The Rosebuds) as later on but with a full fledge band of about 8-10 people with him.

I think this was very fitting considering he was on the main stage of at least 60k people concert at prime time. The stage was set with cloth falling from the ceiling creating an earthy feel.

But the earth I left when he started singing. I had tears in my eyes during the whole concert and down my cheeks they rolled during the piano intense Wash. (my favourite).  The most striking thing about his voice is his range: he can sing as deep as a bear (Hinnom, TX) and then as high as a 5 year old girl (Holocene) all with perfect pitch and enchanting tone.  It amazes me how he can enter the heart of everyone in the crowd and make you feel like that performance is just for you while you are surrounded by thousands of people. The only thing that confused me is why he decided the perform what can only be a big mistake of a Phil Collins feel Beth/Rest. But hey that’s long forgiven/forgotten.

As he left the stage for the first time the whole crowd went crazy in demand for his most famous single Skinny Love. Not only did he return to play this but he followed it with the almighty build up of Wolves (Act I and II). Before he started he tought the crowd the closing refrain of What might have been lost and encouraged us to sing along. And as the calm song started nice and slow and started to grow we all waited for our time to chip in. Under his guidance we started softly and repeated the refrain louder and louder and louder until the whole sky shook with music and the song broke. And that is how he left us.

The man is my muse. And he will always be. And when I was lifted on shoulders to see the entire crowd, there was no doubt that he had not calmly, beautifully touched the sea of people all around me for as far as I could see.

I cannot wait to go see him in a dedicated concert in Lyon on the 30th of July. I think it’s an understatement to say that I recommend it to all. It’s a crime that there are still tickets.

Then what a contrast as we got ready to rock for Justice. What newspaper reported as the most anticipated act of the festival.

And of course they lived up to it. They jammed the entire stage. We all jumped like maniacs, got caught in numerous marsh pits, and generally destroyed our feet (thank goodness for the Wellies). One word about marsh pits in Poland. Wanna be cool teenagers often create a small circle of space and then push and force it out to a huge size. They then walk around trying to look impressive while we are all squished back and when the music breaks into a big beat everyone (read guys) goes nuts and jumps into it. I don’t know if it’s a Polish thing – but it’s the first that I had seen of it. check it out yourself (you want to pay attention at 1:50 when the whole circle breaks):

Anyways the lighting was incredible – same set up as in Paris. However I must say that although the atmosphere of some odd 60k people jumping to the music could not be beat, musically they were not on the level of Paris.

I think it was their first time in Poland and I guess they did not expect the audience to be at the same electro music pallet level of the Frenchies. Their set in Paris was made for their hard-core fans – that could easily digest two to three of their songs playing on top of each other for the entire set. Here the mixes were more simple and clean, the tunes more digestible. Of course I enjoyed it but it left me wanting more after the stellar of a performance I had experience in Paris a few months back.

Song of the day: Don't need to ask my name to figure out who cool I am

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Goooood Monnday Morning,

So hope you have a lovely little groovy weekend. I went to the Cully Jazz festival this weekend, and for any music fans I would recommend it as a MUST for next year.
The cutest most enchanting medieval-feel little town, amazing views of the lake and the vineyards and lively friendly atmosphere with every restaurant, bookshop, hairdresser, bar opening their doors and having free concerts.
I will def be back there next year.

Now getting back to the build-up to Paleo – only 2 more days till tickets are out.
So back to the RIDIC Wednesday line up. Adding to The Cure and Other lives is JUSTICE.
You may remember I travelled to Paris to catch them live in Feb

So it is a given that I am huge fan. And if I could be even a 10th as successful in DJ skills I would be a happy camper.

So here is one of my favourites: DVNO from their debut and iconic album

Don’t need to ask my name, to figure out how cool I am

MasMusic

Concert Review: M83//Les Docks//Lausanne//18 March 2012

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Sunday night just reconfirmed what I mentioned in the Justice review, the French just do electro better. Now, in no way is M83 the same as Justice in style but it shares a similar French flair, individuality and of course synth. It’s a lot more ambient than hard hitting electric beats of Justice. On style it reminded me a lot of Explosion in the Sky (which I HIGHLY recommend to both listen to and to go watch) with less attention to detail to the instruments as they have two (and now three) complimentary singers. Let me get into the details:

The show started with one of the members on the stage wearing the mask gracing (or grossing) the front of their debut single Midnight City and their latest album Hurry up, We’re dreaming. The title is much more charming than the cover. The lights were low and gloomy and the masked figure raised an arm as the crowd started to cheer.

The set started with one of my favourite tracks, the simple but very effective Intro Ft Zola Jesus. This with the mix of some tangeriny purple misty lights is just the perfect build up to a start of a show. The lighting continued to be very effective throughout the whole show (again something they share with Justice but in a completely different style). There were many different shades, colours and ambiences created which was very effective and added lovely contrast.

It is clear that the band has come a long way since their originally started in 2000. Only Antony Gonzales remains of the original duo after Nicolas Fromageau left after their second album. Anthony has now got the support of the multi-talented Morgan Kibby on vocals and keyboard as well as  Loïc Maurin on the drums.

Antony also posted online open audition to recruit a very versatile musician who can sing, play guitar, keyboards and bass. The auditions were done via youtube where applicants posted videos.

I could not find the results of the auditions anywhere but was automatically charmed by the charismatic curly haired member on the left of the stage. He-who-is-not-Google-search-friendly is definitely overly talented. Not to mention a very good entertained on stage. He ended the show climbing on some platform and clapping and hyping up the audience And his addition melted smoothly into the sounds produced by other members.

Also if you want to have a laugh check the guy that obviously didn’t make it.

So back to the concert. The crowd was very lukewarm at the beginning but as the songs started to flow they loosened up and I was happy that my jumps were met and matched by more and more people around me. I love Les Docks. The room is just the right size, the line-up is always great, the price completely reasonable, but sometimes the crowd there can be a bit boring. I was happy this changed along the way.

It also helped that Anthony announced it was their first proper performance in Switzerland (outside festivals) and that it was their last date on their tour and that they really were going to give it everything they had and hoped we could enjoy a great night together. The crowd really reacted well to this. And every song that passed the cheers became louder and louder.

I thought the sound quality fantastic and the instrumentals really beautifully played out. Even though to be fair there was a large amount of prerecording (such as the iconic saxophone on Midnight City). I really enjoyed Morgan’s dreamy voice on some of her solos such as on We Own The Sky and how it melts into the two male voices so seamlessly. Another highlight was the drum solo on Lower your Eyelids to Die (the second last song they played). It is nice to see Anthony really letting the newest addition having their full chance to shine (while he turns the knob of his massive sound board). All their contributions really painted this Milky Skylines they sing about right in front of your eyes.

The only thing I was surprised was I thought the delivery of Midnight City (their hugely popular hit) could have been stronger. Don’t get me wrong we all loved it, I just thought the band could have brought that performance one notch stronger.

But overall I enjoy and jumped and moved to every minute of their galaxy inspired mystical tunes. Ambient and effective. And I felt like M83 was not just named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83 but because it took me there.

I’ll even forgive them for this sell out. 

CM

First Liberation Night!! February 24th @ Petit Central – Lausanne

Glamorous Indie Rock’n’Roll is finally back in town!!!

Join us for a night of mighty Indie Rock @ Petit Central in Lausanne on Friday February 24th.

On the menu:

The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Oasis, The Libertines, Adam Green, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Razorlight, The View, The White Stripes, The Verve, The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Nirvana, The Subways, Joy Division, Radiohead, The Who, Jamaica, Justice, and many more to discover…

If you like any of the above and you miss a place in town where to free your inner sleeping rocking soul join us @ Petit Central!

Stay Tuned, more info to come

“If it’s illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail!” – Kurt Cobain

Song of the day

Hello music followers,

Want to keep up with the music trends? Want to drop in a cool name here and there? Well what you are looking for is Grimes. Grimes is entirely made up the brilliant and (as blogs are obsessedly calling) WIERDO Claire Boucher. We love someone a little different. Not just in looks but in SOUND.

This young 23 year old singer and keyboardist herself describes her music as “post-internet”.  She says being brought up with everything at her web-browsing fingertips has caused her to have a wide area of influences. I would agree on two folds on this comment. Both with her music upbringing which I can relate to and the fact that her sound has just about everything in it. Just as the new Justice album (or the new Wild Beasts album) this one is a GROWER. Not hard work as the new Radiohead album (which I still owe a couple of plays) but a second, third lesson kind of grower. Totally digestible.

I hear some Washed out, some Toro Y Moi and whole bunch I can’t place. The words retro darkness comes to mind but I’m probably just talking blab. And even in this specific song some influence from a mutual fan Lykke Li  – who she opened for on her tour last year.

Anyways how bout you just listen to it and tell me what you think.

Here is my favourite single: Vanessa.

By the way she is due to release a full album in March – so keep a look out for it.

MasMusic

 

Justice//L'Olympia//Paris//4 February 2012

There are many things that the French are patriotic or even chauvinistic about. Baguettes, cigarettes, cheese, wine, cinema, fashion, the speedy TGV and…….French House/Electro/Euro Disco/ Neu Disco. Whatever you want to call it. And you can play me all the dub step you like, in my opinion the French do it better (with a huge exception going to Bloc Party). The most famous example is Daft Punk. And in second place is the hugely successful Justice.

They are famous for their intense electro tunes mixed with both indie and rock touches. And that for me is just about the perfect recipe for something I want to jam to. And so we the launch of their amazing new Audio, Video, Disco album (people this one is a grower- give it more than one listen) and their new tour dates – off I went to old Paris. Because seeing a band in its home country is always just a fuller experience and this definitely holds true for the French.

So the venue: L’Olympia. What a great concert hall. Well rather strange for a mainly electro party to be honest. We had the marsh pit for us to jam but there were also numerous seated tickets (to be fair no one sat for a second but partied standing in their seats – including a hugely fat man wearing a red wife-beater and power ranger mask who put on a hyperactive show before the set started and got loud cheering from the crowd).

One word of advice though. If you go in winter – go EARLY. The vestiaire is not big enough for a sold out show. And this is not a train smash if you going to go watch theatre there. But jamming with your four layers on can be somewhat prohibiting. If indeed you reach this tragic state I recommend bribing either the merchandising selling people, some small kid in the front of the row, the bartenders or in last resort throwing your jacket on top of any high hanging poles. But in no way should such a jam session like this be disturbed with.

So the show started with two opening DJs. We used this time to warm up with some beers and ease our legs – which were in for a workout. And then a 30 minutes entr’acte. And then the lights went dark and the crowd held their breath. As Gaspard and Xavier appear behind a musical thrown we all are mesmerized. The thrown was made up of one large black rectangular box and on each side a tower of 3×3 Marshall big ass speakers. As the tunes start a dramatic pause and then the middle black box is enlighten with the famous and iconic white bright +.

And now the crowd really goes wild.
And with a stage like that they were right to state:
No need to know ask my name, to figure out how cool I am

I would like to tell you the order of some of the songs they played, at least for the memorable parts. But I would be just making it up. I even checked the brilliant setlist.com and nothing since two entries in 2008 are to be found. And there are perfectly good reasons for that.

They remix EVERYTHING all the time. Not in an annoying average club dj-plays-a-shitty-song-for-30-second-then-skip kind of way. But an amazing of old and new album all beautifully joint and merged and flowed into each other. These people know how to do leveling and build up. At all times there were minimum two songs playing on top of each other. Sometimes three or four.

The music was hugely amplified by the lighting. At first just the cross in bright light. But then the curtains of bulb all around them also lit up. Then huge light rays from behind the curtains. Then later the Marshall speakers lit up all in different order. It all turned red for a song. And all starry and dark for another. Whatever they did with the lighting was just powerful.

The highlight for me was on two occasions the middle box split at the Cross and moved on either side to reveal a keyboard. And this point Gaspard temporarily left his throne to play along to the song. God does the man have great curly hair. Then the stage closes back up and he climbs back up. Xavier does the same towards the end. Making up for the afro with his chic way of smoking a cigarette.

The atmosphere in the pit was great. The ground was literally trembling from all the jumping. I just came here to bounce. And there was some fun pushing and pulling typical marshing but nothing to make you fear for your life. There was a great solidarity that was passing through us as well all jumped, jammed and screamed together. The crowd were real rockers.

As the stage went dark for the first time the entire hall screamed JUSTICE (in a surprisingly English pronunciation) and the duo came back on. At this point all hell breaks loose. They threw everything at us one on top of the other including massive use of the classic We are Your Friends.

And as they end their amazing encore we all finally stand still and cheer and clap loudly. They climb on top of speakers and do victory fist in the air. They had won. They had succeeded. They had experience something magical. But the great thing about music is – so had we.

CM

Song of the day

Hello song of the dayers,

So I spent the weekend in Paris (coughing and sneezing but still) driven by one fabulous reason: to see JUSTICE live at OLYMPIA. And it really was worth the trip (and exorbitant price ticket). Concert review to follow soon.

For now just enjoy the tune.

Audio, Video Disco

What this new album is – is a grower

MasMusic