31
Aug 2011
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Rock En Seine 2011

I’m back in Vienna, Paris was great (even though another attempt to finally quit smoking has gone wrong) and I probably spent a month’s income on booze in just one week – but first things first. I’ve been to quite a few music festivals in the past years, but Rock en Seine was definitely one of the most mature yet laid-back festivals I’ve ever been to. A mini-festival for children with special concerts and workshops, open-air exhibitions showcasing music-related artwork and of course the impressive line-up didn’t fail to attract young people from all over to world to gather at a beautiful park in an outlying district of Paris, right next to the river Seine, celebrating their common love for music.

Ranging from typical festival bands like Interpol, Arctic Monkey or Foo Fighters and indie artists such as Nneka and CSS right through to big names of electronic dance music, including Trentemøller, Yuksek, Etienne de Crécy and Kalkbrenner, the diversified selection of artists had something to offer for everyone. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it for the first of three days, but the rest of the festival was nothing short of amazing (except for a quick shower of rain forcing me back to the hotel to get rid of my soaking clothes) and already made me start checking flights for next year – thanks so much Rock en Seine for inviting me!

[photos + a few band spotlights after the jump]

Having never seen them live before, The Streets were the biggest surprise for me – and over the course of an intense hour grew to be my secret headliners of the festival. There are not a lot of musicians who are capable of handling several tens of thousands of people and constantly interacting with them in such a way as Mike Skinner did during the entire concert. Silencing a festival audience by dedicating a song to Amy Winehouse, seriocomic jokes aimed at Interpol (who were performing after them), a spontaneous live cover of I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll or even making the whole crowd sit down (quote: “Everyone who’s still standing is a c*nt!“) just to command them to jump up right to the drop of a song – The Streets had it all.

 

Another highlight were Canada’s number one synth punks Death From Above 1979, with Sebastian Grainger opening up the show by rhetorically asking the heated-up crowd “Do you like Lady Gaga?“, just to answer the question a second later with an ear-shattering drum hit, followed by the gloating remark “We don’t. Let’s do this shit!“. With the tone being set for the rest of the show and JFK of MSTRKRFT heavily abusing his Roland Juno60 synth, it wasn’t long until the first huge mosh pit right in front of the stage was shown on the video walls…

 

As beer in France is ridiculously expensive,  there also happen to be a few blurry memories (and pictures) left of French electro pioneer Etienne de Crécy, who had the honour of closing one of the four stages on day two. Throning high up in the air on an illuminated cube, working his computers to make people dance, he rather gave the impression of warming up the crowd for the after party in some packed club in the city rather than letting a beautiful festival day fade away.