Rock en Seine 2015 – A Festival Review

As the open air festivals season is gently coming to an end you may have noticed over the years a few rules, a few unexplainable phenomenons that constantly repeat themselves during summer festivals. I will share with you my observations so far, those profound and metaphysical thoughts about the meaning of life, at least the life of a festival goer !

(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir

But first I must warn you that I have a love hate relationship with festivals, I’m not always convinced it’s the best way for me to really enjoy the music of my favorite bands, and sometimes, on the contrary it’s just awesome even better than regular gigs, it’s not an exact science you know… So when my editor told me I was going to Rock en Seine to make a review and said « Michael you’re gonna have so much fun » I didn’t really know what to expect first but you know what ? He was bloody right !! « You will reconnect with nature and elements. Eventually you will either burn in the sun or  get drowned in pools of mud. Sometimes if you are lucky, a subtle combination of both preferably within the same day »

(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir

The festival didn’t take place in fields in a very far away country side or some wild places it was held in a royal park near Paris which gives to the whole thing a very distinct identity, you’d stand next to colossal statues or beautiful monuments. This year’s theme was « The jungle » which was pretty well chosen knowing that the weather was nearly tropical I just wonder how the performing artists could stand this heat I mean seriously, RESPECT. So to set the general atmosphere, the place was really picturesque, people seemed quite nice and above all things: the food was good ! Very ethnic and veggie friendly what else more can I say ?! That important thing said, I can now tell you more about the music.

(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir

« Your favorites bands are very likely to perform the same day almost at the same moment at very distant stages »

That’s the murphy rule you have to accept about festivals you can very rarely see everything and to be honest Rock en Seine had an incredible program and it’s almost heart breaking to make choices, It’s like a chocolate box you just want them all !

So here’s my fav pick for this year’s edition:

The first day I discovered two new artists that are I think very promising the first was Jeanne Added she has a deep low voice that really enchanted us, her music sounds a bit like Florence and the Machine and Annie Lennox.

Jeanne Added-©Nicolas Joubard
Jeanne Added-©Nicolas Joubard
Jeanne Added-©Nicolas Joubard
Jeanne Added-©Nicolas Joubard

There are tons of bands and some stages are dedicated to new comers which is really cool, I mean to discover new artists is always exciting and there comes my second new comer choice : she’s called Clea Vincent. Her music is a sort of naive electro pop with 80’s reminiscence.

It was her first big concert ever and she was really sweet, really cool. She sings in french but I talked with English tourists in the audience and they were like « oh my god I have no idea what she is actually saying but I just can’t stop dancing ! » The concert was excellent I wish you were there with me cause seeing her is loving her and thanks to her catchy songwriting her live music was so addictive.

(c)VICTOR_PICON
(c)VICTOR_PICON

Obviously open air festivals are also about big bands playing in front of thousands of people.
« You will realize right in the middle of a 20 000 people crowd that there is a slight chance that you actually are agoraphobic »
The Offspring gig was no exception ! The singer told us many time how impressed he was to have such an immense audience in front of him : « There are people as far as the eye can see !! » They set the crowd on fire with their punk rock songs, you should have seen the huge pogo dance in front of the stage up until the middle of the crowd it was quite intense I have to say !! It’s pretty cool when you think about it, I mean they are almost 50 now and they keep rocking it like mad !

(c)OLIVIER_HOFFSCHIR
(c)OLIVIER_HOFFSCHIR

That’s the very progressive and good side of rock music, it’s so open. While Hip Hop or Pop music are dealing with agism or the lack of women empowerment, rock has always been way ahead of its time I mean, Patti Smith is 68, Mick Jagger 72, Shirley Manson 49 and none gives a flying fuck about it. When you see them performing you feel like anything is possible in rock music there’s no rules.

(c)OLIVIER_HOFFSCHIR
(c)OLIVIER_HOFFSCHIR

We were really spoiled on the second day so many good things. I started with the super fresh Marina and the Diamonds who was in great shape and delivered a great performance.

(c)VictorPicon
(c)VictorPicon

But the highest peak of the day was probably reached during the Years and Years show. If you are looking for the meaning of the word « hysterical » just go to of one their concert, it’s hardly believable, I bet half of the people at the gig (who are around 18/20 yo) were directionners not so long ago. You had dozens of girls and boys constantly yelling « Marry Me Olly!! » Honestly I don’t know which performance was the best, the stage one or the crowd one, it was so much fun !

(c)OlivierHoffschif
(c)OlivierHoffschif

Anyways the Britannic trio might or might not be your proverbial cup of English Synth-Pop but you have to admit one thing ; as live performers, they’re good, REALLY GOOD ! Probably one of the best performance of the whole festival by far.

(c)OlivierHoffschif
(c)OlivierHoffschif

I ended the saturday night with Jamie XX. I could talk about Jamie and the XX forever I just love them. Jamie is so talented, I really respect his work, I remember when I first saw him in 2009 with his band in a small town of Switzerland playing in a tiny club in front of 200 people, we even talked with them at the end of the show, and now you see him solding out huge venues that’s so cool, so well deserved !

(c)OlivierHoffschif
(c)OlivierHoffschif

On the last day I would keep two very good shows the first was Alt-J, I saw them a year ago at the Olympia and I was really disappointed, the hiatus between the album and the live show was so big, it was very confusing plus the live sound wasn’t that good, but I gave them another chance last Sunday and honestly they improved so much it was very pleasant to see them ! Hard work seems to pay and they are slowly becoming a major band.

(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir

I ended up my journey with this festival with the amazing and triumphant « Chemical Brothers ». I haven’t much to say about them a part that they absolutely rock ! The show was way beyond my hopes, you have to see them at least once if you have the opportunity ! So if I had to sum up the whole thing in one simple sentence, it would be something like: Rock en Seine your ruined my shoes but it was so much worth it, see you next year !

(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c) Olivier Hoffschir
(c)VICTOR_PICON
(c)VICTOR_PICON
(c)VICTOR_PICON
(c)VICTOR_PICON

Review by Michaël Dupré

Contact:

www.rockenseine.com

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