ROCK EN SEINE 2016 FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Nicolas Jolly-Chatenier and Camille Moreau.
September, 2016. Special thanks to Fred Porte and the people of Rock En Seine.
Every year, late August remains the same : goodbyes to holidays and back to work... Fortunately, every year, late August means also
« time for Rock en Seine », with a beautiful line-up taking place in the gorgeous park of Saint Cloud, in the Parisian suburbs.
Beers, heat and rock’n’roll, this is how we have lived Rock en Seine.
Friday 26th August :
This is under a 36-degrees temperature that we arrive at the green lung of Saint Cloud. We sadly miss the touareg rock of Bombino and enjoy a little bit the place before going to see Adrien Soleiman, young shoot of an electro-pop sung in French.
Fresh and quiet, the music takes us to a cold cellar, making us forget the unbearable heat. Our steps then takes us to the tiny Ile-de-France tent, where the japanese-french band Einleit was spreading an aerial electro mixed with dancing pop.
As Souleiman before them, the band’s synths pads keep us cool despite the heat under the tent, worst than outside.
But soon is time for The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
The crowd starts to become huge in front of the little Scène de l’Industrie. Are they going to leave the stage in the middle of the set ?
the people is wondering. Not at all, the band gives us a masterpiece, giving us a rock lesson during almost one hour. Garage, psychedelic rock, rock’n’roll, The BJM offers us a time travel through the last 70 years in rock history.
On the way to the Pression Live stage, we enjoy the water shoots while seeing people playing with it like kids. No doubt, there are many ways to forget the temperature at Rock en Seine. And the freshness carries on with Jack Garratt. Taking place in the middle of the trees,
the Pression Live stage is the perfect case for the English songwriter’s synthesizers. Like a crossing between Woodkid and Chet Faker, the young man with the beard gives us indie-pop songs tinted with soul and electro. Beautiful. Then back to the Main Stage, where Two Door Cinema Club are pitching their hopping pop-songs in a classic British style, making the audience dance as one man.
A festival is always a question of choices, and one of the hardest we had to do was between La Mverte and Rendez-Vous. One band, one DJ, both making us dive into deep waters. No choice this time, we’ll see both. Rendez-vous first, who was playing under the Ile-de-France tent, plays a screamed cold-wave with a relish of punk music. Really 80’s, we’ll definitely keep an eye on this band. To carry on with the 80’s, we are going to the new Dancing stage, where La Mverte was making people dance in a dark ambiance.
We forget Paris for a moment, thinking we’re in a cellar in Liverpool at the late 70’s, or in Berlin at the early 90’s. Once again a question of time travel in Rock en Seine. It is a pity that the stage is outside the festival’s main areas and the DJ set not clearly announced on the schedule, the crowd could have been far bigger. The Main Stage takes us back to the 60’s, with the last concert of The Last Shadow Puppets. The duet, reinforced by a string quartet and a rock band, gives us an awesome mix between British pop, garage rock and spaghetti western. We want to enjoy them more but, as festival is a question of choices, we go back to the Pression Live stage where Flavien Berger is about to start the last show of the day. Electro, French songs and crazy interludes, Berger is a perfect way to end this first day.
Saturday 27th August :
It’s still under a crazy heat for Paris that we arrive at Rock en Seine for this second day.
Just the time to catch a beer, and we go to see Grand Blanc and their powerful mix between French songs, grunge music and 80’s cold-wave. The composition works very well on stage, and the band seems to have as much fun as the crowd.
We won’t leave the 80’s flavor and join the Scène de la Cascade where La Femme is spreading their funny electro pop.
Crazy dances and lot of fun, the stage seems to be a beautiful playground for the band, and it’s definitely entertaining to see.
Just the time to grab something to eat, and it’s time for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
The hippie folk band brings us to a big party where only the beach is lacking. Enjoyable, even if it’s not our cup of tea.
Sigur Ròs is more our kind of music. Playing at the end of the day, The Icelandic takes us to a long, long trip through the rugged
terrain of their native country. Passing from long contemplative instrumentation to violent and electric experimentation, Sigur Ròs shows us the best they can do with their instruments, helped by a beautiful and powerful light show.
Undeniably the climax of this second day.
Playing for the third time at the festival (the band was the headliner of the first edition in 2003), Massive Attack makes us stay in the same aerial atmosphere with their trip-hop masterpieces. Escorted by Young Fathers and Tricky, the Bristol natives give a beautiful and politically engaged performance, reinforced by a LED-screen scrolling ethical and political messages. The sound, brilliant, reproduces perfectly the rich diversity of the band’s music, mixing old 90’s songs and new tracks. Sadly, the display is too close to what we have already seen two years ago at the Fête de l’Humanité. At the end of the show, t’s time to leave the park, carried by Massive Attack’s melodies in mind.
Sunday 28th August :
Festivals pass always too fast, and it’s already the last day. We arrive just at the end of Editors and their stadium rock which seems to have been created for hot summer afternoons in big festivals. We go then to have a look on the Scène de la Cascade, to see the jazz of
Gregory Porter. Good idea to invite a crooner at Rock en Seine, the audience seems to enjoy the variety of this line-up.
Nothing else catch our attention before to take again the time machine and see the one and only Iggy Pop.
Contrary to his spring tour, the Iguana is not backed by Matt Helders and Josh Homme. Never mind, the Godfather of punk does the job and shows us than despite his age, he’s still an incredible beast on stage. Starting with the hit « I wanna be your dog », Iggy Pop performs a selection of his well-known tracks, reminding us that he’s one of the biggest rockstar of all time. Only hitch, just one song from his powerful last album Post-pop Depression is played.
After this big slap in the face, we are wondering how we could enjoy the next show. It was without counting on the French touch masters Cassius. Introducing its brand new album Ibifornia, the duet makes the crowd dance with a mix of its most famous hits, supported by an impressive light show. It will be a hard work for Foals to conclude this festival. But the Oxford quintet is one of the best band nowadays, and proves it with a performance swinging constantly between power and restraint.
The quality of the show let us astonished and conclude the festival with the most beautiful way possible. See you next year, Rock en Seine !
Enjoy some of the concerts at the Culturebox Player