Friday, 23 December 2016

Saez at the Bataclan

The final show of three tonight at the Bataclan in Paris by Damien Saez, and artist who has been a favourite of this blog for a good few years, a unique voice as capable of the finest poetic expression as it is of venting the most righteous anger.

2016 saw him embark on a year long project of new releases, poetry and gigs. The Manifeste tour taking him across the country ahead of the 2017 presidential elections and his new album Le manifeste, l'oiseau liberté - released earlier this month - captures an artist at the height of his powers.

Les enfants paradis, written in tribute to the victims of the Bataclan atrocity is one of the finest songs of last year. An affecting work, avoiding anger, dramatisation or sentimentality, a reflection on humanity in the face of atrocity.

2016 has been a difficult year and there are more clouds on the horizon for 2017. If there's a storm ahead few artists will be able to articulate it better than Saez


Friday, 9 December 2016

Vieilles Charrues 2017

Details of another of this summer's major festivals have emerged, with the first 28 names on the bill
of the 2017 edition of the Vieilles Charrues.

Some of the biggests names in French music are there, with Manu Chao, Justice and Phoenix along with Renaud and Jean-Michel Jarre.

Acid Arab, Kungs and Matmatah are also on the list

Arcade Fire, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Dropkick Murphys and Die Antwoord are the big name international acts so far

Vieilles Charrues takes place over 13, 14,15 and 16 July.

Tickets for Vieilles Charrues 2017 go on sale on December 14

Friday, 2 December 2016

Justice: Fire

 A new clip by Justice, released a week after their much anticipated Woman album.

the new clip features Susan Sarandon, one of the more interesting Hollywood stars, in perhaps a homage to Thelma and Louise.

There's no Geena Davis in this version, Justice sharing the car with her instead, after they've given it a well deserved clean.

There have been mixed reviews of Woman, Pitchfork commenting it was "better suited to soundtrack a car commercial than to actively engage the listener".

Perhaps appropriate then that they have a video that plays a bit like an ironic 80s car commercial.

Hellfest 2017

The line up has been revealed for the 2017 Hellfest festival, an event that is not only France's biggest metal festival, but one of the biggest in Europe.

While headliners like Deep Purple and Aerosmith might be heritage acts, there's such a huge bill that pretty much every genre and sub genre of metal and rock are well represented.

You don't have to look far to see acts that would in other events be headliners in their own right at lesser events. Slayer, Alter Bridge, Opeth, Emperor, Prophets of rage... the list goes on.

The return of Trust to a massive festival audience is sure to be one of the highlights.

Meanwhile, the small print reveals Hawkwind, a legendary act who are no stranger to festivals and who continue to make interesting music almost half a century after they first took to the stage.

And favourites of this blog, Breton punks Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs, are there as well.

There are more than 160 acts in total. With so  much on, the challenge will be to be at the right stage at the right time to see the acts you want. But if you don't make it, don't worry, there's probably something you'll like coming up.

Hellfest 2017 is held at Clisson on June 16, 17 and 18.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bars en Trans 2016

It's Jour J today for the Bars en Trans 2016 festival, bringing acts to the pubs and clubs of Rennes for
a busy weekene of music.

It's the 20th anniversary of the event, which this year runs across 16 different venues.

The event runs parallel to the Rencontres Trans Musicale de Rennes festival, like the Edinburgh Fringe to the Edinburgh International festival. Rather than being in competition, they compliment each other well.

Bars en trans is smaller, the venues are local pubs and clubs as opposed to the Parc Expo, but it's an agile event, with well chosen acts packing venues across Rennes city centre and beyond.

It's spirit is closer to that of Austin SXSW festival, with the opportunity to catch some emerging acts up close. Local acts get the chance to play in front of  friends and fans, as well as journalists and labels who might be in the city for the Trans Musicales.

Those that get it right can catch an act or two in the Bars en trans before heading out to see some of the acts playing the Trans Musicale at the Parc Expo in a late night shuttle bus.

Time permitting (as always!) I'll focus on some of the acts that are playing over the weekend on the blog over the next week or two.

Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes 2017

Today sees the 2017 Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes kick off in full,  the Breton city hosting
acts in both the Parc Expo on the outskirts of the city and at the Ubu and at Le Liberté and other venues in the city centre.

While some acts performed last night, the main event at the Parc Expo opens up, with acts playing into the early hours.

If there's a headliner tonight it's probably Yuksek with a set at the Parc Expo just after midnight.

There are acts from France as well as a well-curated selection of international acts on the bill. Timer permitting I'll take a look at as many of the French acts as I can over the next couple of weeks.

One act getting a significant platform over the weekend is Fishbach, getting a similar showcase enjoyed by  Benjamin Clemintine and  Jeanne Added in recent years.  Fishbach is of course no stranger to this blog, a label mate of Moodoid and Grand Blanc, two other acts whose performances at the Trans Musicales helped establish their reputations.

With free shows and acts touring towns in the area in the run up to the festival, it's a particularly accessible event for what is in essence a festival with a focus on emerging acts.

There is much to see and enjoy. Some of it will emerge on video over the weekend and in coming days, so I'll hopefully post some of it here.

Editorial: December 2016

A busy month for French music last month, with a spectacular number of French acts playing in the UK and some significant new releases hitting the shelves and their digital equivalents.

Much of that is set to continue over this month, with events like the Transmusicales in Rennes kicking off today as a showcasae of some of the finest emerging international and French acts.

In releases, there's a new album by Saez, entitled Le Manifeste, out next week. To these ears he's one of the finest contemporary songwriters in France, and the two tracks that have emerged so far suggest the album will be something quite special.

He plays the Bataclan later this month, a venue that finally opened to the public again last month, almost a year after the tragedy that unfolded there.

Meanwhile, a French act who has become a household name releases a landmark album this month, with Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygène 3, a final part to what became a trilogy started by his 1976 album.

You can get a hold of me at johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be. I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do get in touch.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always to the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K