Friday, 19 December 2014

Report: Bars en Trans, Rennes 2014

The Bars en Trans event held in Rennes in early December is a separate event to the Trans Musicales, but like he Edinburgh Festival and the Festival Fringe, they compliment each other well.

Bars en Trans features more local and French acts, in venues across the city from night clubs to bars, over the course of three nights.

And what's not to like about an event  promising  everything from 'pop/Paris' to  'Doo-Wop/Haute Savoie' and 'Hard-Folk/Ardeche'?

Obviously one problem is that there's so much going on that it's not possible to catch everything, and with the Trans Musicales on at the same time, there are even more clashes between acts I wanted to see.

Rennes is in Brittany, an area of France where bars are more common that Parisian style cafés, and it has the kind of young population  that thrives on events like les Bars en Trans.

Hardy young souls could be seen hitting the city's old town, see some of the bands and then catch the shuttle bus out to the Parc Expo for some of the headliners at the Trans Musicales

Last year I managed to catch a show by Sudden Death of Stars and Orval Carlos Sibelius, one of the highlight of my time in Rennes, so I was keen to make the most of the Bars en Trans.

The show that fitted best with my packed schedule was at the 1988 Live Club and was due to feature Kid Francescoli, H-Burns and Camp Claude, but a late-minute substitution saw Animali perform instead of Camp Claude.

Kid Francescoli presented a very stylish electropop, a male/female due with a drummer, and they made the kind of sound that inspires confidence in French music. Effortlessly modern with the kind of electronics that French artists have always done so well, and a live dynamic that was as much Gainsbourg and Birkin as it was Ellie and Jacno.

Animali may have been the late additions  to the bill, but the quintet from Lyon were no simple fillers, producing the kind of indie rock that fans of 70s progressive acts would have instantly recognised. An act with hidden depth of musicianship wrapped in approachable and crafted songs.

The headline act was H-Burns, who I featured here before, bringing a French take on US indie rock of the 90s. His outlook might be more far west that western France, with a flavour reminiscent of Howe Gelb of Giant Sand but his style is his own. He's got a new album due in January entitled Night Moves, and it will certainly bring in 2015 in style.

Three very different acts, each in their own way superbly illustrating some of the present strengths of French music.

While I certainly did well by attending that particular show, I've been left with the feeling that Bars en Trans is the kind of event that pretty much every show would have been worth going to, and I've now got a massive list of acts to investigate further.

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