Thursday 27 June 2019

Moody Notes : The Cracked Bell

It had been pretty violent. 

Light depression had nicely sprung up during the previous months : huge familial constraints, couples’ usual frustrations, calls for a idealized independent life, political disillusionments linked to that Weimar’s-period-like French atmosphere and that little Cracked Bell side… Ok, let’s say it ! Midlife crisis… Ten years ago, I found the lyrics of the Frustration’s song (x) a bit of a cliché, I laughed a lot with Joe Ollmann’s Mid-Life comics, but I was finally in scope. 

The long summer heat finally blew me out. One of those typical Camus/Meursault heats that made you lost control. After five nights of full insomnia, all the dikes of rationality collapsed, gave way to an impressive torrent of emotions and feelings that drove me nuts and ended up in a beautiful, emotionally violent, familial burn-out…Boys don’t cry, my ass...

My dear girlfriend took quickly action and saved me from drowning… A cure of running, psychosomatics’ methods, sophrology’s « letting go » and talks with close friends helped me finally for recovery. I even suspected my Cuban Santeria’s High Priestess neighbour to have sacrificed a poor chicken on the altar of my temporary mental disorder… Special thanx to all of those people for the help and sincere apologizes to the ones I disturbed.

All that to say that this one-week working course in South Africa was fully appropriate and timely. A good opportunity to leave all that mud aside. So, let’s stop with those emotional little talks and inappropriate egocentricity and let’s move on to some more positive ideas. I’ll bring you very soon to one of the most beautiful place in the world : Cape Town.

Saturday 1 June 2019

Gigs' Reviews : Rock à la Buse 2019. Pluto Crevé, Kilkil, the Medicine Dolls, Usé, the Ex, Louder Than Death.

Festivals aren't my cup of tea.  But there are a few exceptions : one of them is the Reunion Island Rock à la Buse x 2-days festival.
Because of the nice organizing independant team with its jovial bunch of volunteers and the faithful, restless audience of punks, rockers and modern pirates. A XXIst century version of Libertalia ?
Because of the firmly punk-rock-oriented programme which allows the novice to touch on all the facets of this musical movement (garage, gothic, electropunk, hardcore, noise, rock'n'roll, experimental, math rock...), federates all those rock tribes and always offers nice discoveries of awesome bands... 
Because of the place itself : La Cité des Arts, which is an airy, pleasant, urban designed place, with specific Art exhibitions, a small outdoor stage and of course, the medium-size concert hall Le Palaxa...
Because Le Palaxa is a not-too-crowded place, fully equipped with a vital-in-March air-conditioning system (let's quickly move on the too-clean sound in this standard, quite aseptic place and the over-motivated security guards)...
Because of the meeting between local punk bands and the French or international headliners which can experiment the lively, local punk scene and have a little taste of the life on this beautiful island...
On the top of that, because of the contribution of the gifted crew of the comics' magazine Le Cri du Margouillat x which gives a hand on the live shows with their real-time, projected-on-a-large-screen performance...

All this explain the success of this small, open-minded punk festival.

The Opening Bands

Pluto Crevé x was one of the opening band. The guys in this local punk band aren't unknown people. They backed up our local English punk-girl singer in the crazy anarco-punk band the Circle A a few years ago. Nice people who answered the call during Mark Sultan's 2013 Reunion tour and provided a nice, funny opening show for him.
A wild bunch of restless punks and authentic pirates have always followed them and contributed to their vivid shows. No exceptions that night. Despite the sparse audience around for this earliest show, the followers moshes widely while the band launched a dozen of punk-hardcore missiles. It sounds loud and primitive. A little taste of Mass Murderers or early-Tagada Jones Brittany's shows... GBH and Poison Idea aren't far too. Check the Pluto Crevé's releases on Maudit Tangue x , the local label. Anna Vitry and Laurent Bostrale took care of the projected drawings. 

A few other Reunion opening bands played during these two days. The Uncool gothic-punkers, the EZ and the Mango Acid 70's rockers and the powered-up garage/punk of Mr Occhio One-man-band played on the outdoor stage on the Saturday afternoon. Let's also mention some local bands which opened on the main stage : the neo-Psychobilly Mothra Slapping Orchestra, reviewed around here a few monthes ago (the show was drawn by the famous, skilled illustrator Hippolyte), thee noisy-indie-punk Orlando's (with Emma Cezerac and Salwa Aabid as a drawing crew) or the Kilkil x electro-synth-punk band which introduced its freshly released In Vain album. A great Deutch-punk atmosphere in some of the new songs and an awesome visual show with Conrad Botes himself as a drawing performer !

The Supporting Bands

Two supporting bands played on stage after the opening local bands. The Medecine Dolls (the first night) and Usé (the last night) were tremendous discoveries.

The Medecine Dolls x was a Capetown trio. A city with a lively, vibrant, uprising garage/punk scene. An impressive visual aspect for these stylish musicians in their mid-twenties : a grungy looking-like guitarist/singer, a Courntey Love's clone playing the bass and a naked to the waist long-hair drummer. Waiting for some grungy music ? Well, fully wrong expectation ! The main part of the set was a stunning mix between wild Cramps-like garage/rock'n'roll tunes and catchy Jay Reatard-like post-punk songs (Matador's period ). Quite the same voice as the deceased artist, appropriate girly choirs, desperate and nihilist lyrics... A rock'n'roll show ! The tension fell back a little bit at the end with a couple of less punchy songs and a dispensable Beattles' cover. The show was covered by the uprising, female Maca Rosee Gigi drawer.
The global impression was checked back two days after during a more confidential gig of the band in Le Zinc bar in St Leu. Note that the Medecine Dolls released two 7inches. Very limited editions and high prices as usual for South African releases...

I didn't react when Born Bad Records released the two maxi-LP of the band Usé x a few years ago... Lack of time, tiredness of electro-punk tones, main tastes changing or coming back to classical punk beats... I didn't even try the digital listening... A pity ! The One-Man-Band from Amiens, France, provides a very specific electro-punk sound : a violent drums' play, repetitive electronic memorized gimmicks, side-effects and a screaming voice. 
Tribalism, rave-party, sexual provocation and neo-burlesque romantism could have been the key words to define his musical world, his attitude and his shows. While hyptonic trance was played on his machines, he was literally jumping on his drums to hammer them on a full strengh beat. A few minutes later, he was in the middle of the audience singing a Northern-France-Cabaret-like song with a funny touch of outrage. The songs would have made for sure a marvelous soundtrack for Mathieu Almaric's movie Tournée. A great showman with the drawing back-up of Edwina Leclerc and Maja Maaj ! 
The Ravine des Roques association managed to organise a 4-dates Reunion tour for him. So, we also had the opportunity to check his performance in local bars : le Zincla Cerise and le Namasté. The small scale of these places, the good beers, the proximity with the band, the electric atmosphere in the audience, the confidentiality of the shows : of course, those three other gigs were just perfect gigs !

The Headliners

The Ex x was the headliner on the first day of the festival. The band came from Amsterdam to support its new 27 Passeports album (the 27th?). A compulsory punk band formed in the early 80's, with a strong anarchist political approach, a specific experimental sound with undeniable world music influences and tribal rhythms, and an obvious delight to play in such a faraway place. A legend for some people... 
Although I tried many times their sound and already checked some of their shows, I have never managed to get into it. Too much weirdness, too many experimental gimmicks, much too long tracks and a little lack of a rock'n'roll attitude for me... Never mind, the public enjoyed the show and Moniri M'Bae sketched during their show.

Louder Than Death x closed the second night of the festival. This long-awaited show was a damned good one! A review of their first Lp (with the Spits' collaboration) was made around here a few monthes ago. So, not so many things to add... King Khan still sang with his distinctive, scratchy voice and was still a impressive showman, Agnès Magnetix beat the drums heavily and the two guys (Looch Magnetix and Fredovitch the Shrine) kept on going with the Spits' dumb attitude and appearance (Is the guitarist the twin brother of Daryl, the Walking Dead crossbow man?) and their crazy garage/punk sound (I also thought about the Black Lips, etc...). 
They played a few identifiable songs from their Lp (ABC'sGesichter Der Jesus Liebe,  Play Safe...), covered some Black Jaspers tunes (Born in 77 is by the way the soundtrack of the Netflix Sex Education serie !) and introduced many songs of their forthcoming Lp on In The Red Records (the new Lp was released a few weeks ago x ).
A stunning show with a wild bunch of dancing rockers and the French Christophe Gaultier drawer's sketches (the guy is famous, among other things, for his Donjon comics partnership with Sfar and Trondheim).

So, that's it. I'm looking forward to discovering the next Rock à la Buse programme. Keep on rocking guys !