Sunday – 1PM
Arrival of yours truly on location.
Tons of festival folks are already taking place on the buses so efficiently put in place by the organizers and bring us to the entry like little tins of tiny, smelly and excited fishes. At the entry the music is already calling us in, like a snake enchanter, and a feeling of festivity is in the air.
In spite of the (first of the season!) super boiling hot day in Paris and the lack of spots in the shadow, people showed up in masses and are eager to start partying. Everything is in place to properly celebrate in style the 15 years (yes, already!) of this cool Parisian festival that is Solidays. Even though the main and most well-known attractions are the 5 stages of the festival that host a variety of artists and performances, we should not forget the true purpose of why this event was created in the first place, which is the fight against AIDS and the reason why a number of super-motivated charity workers are spread around the festival to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.
The party has officially started; everyone is in a super great mood. There are all kind of attractions set up for this edition of the festival: food and drinks from all over the world obviously but also special animation for kids, a few green-corners full of palm trees where you can relax and get a massage (yes! A massage!) and also a place where you can bungee-jump and last but not least a big favorite of festivals in the past few years – the silent disco!
8 PM – the moment I was waiting for: Beady Eye!
Yes, the mood stays high in spite of the arrival of Mr. Moody himself AKA Mr. Liam Gallagher who –and this is VERY RARE trust me – decides to grace the crowds by getting off stage and stepping in the middle of the audience to say hi and receive a teddy bear from an adoring fan. Wait!! Mr. Gallagher what happened? Was it the heat that made him go crazy?? Or was it some kind of collective mirage where we were all dreaming? ( No no I refuse to think I was dreaming…especially because I think I saw him blowing me a kiss from far away…YES! It was addressed to me, I swear!!).
Aaaaanyway if one thing is sure is that the only appropriate way to celebrate this first real day of Parisian summer was by being at Solidays with its variety of animations and musical ecstasy (among my favorites Gogol Bordello and Django-Django that I really recommend in case you don’t know them yet!). Another concert that was definitely long awaited by fans was the one of Asaf Avidan who managed to attract crowds from all over the festival location with his signature voice.
This edition of Solidays will culminate on David Guetta’s explosive electrical performance (it’s much easier to dance now that the evening breeze has set in) which concludes this experience on high notes of general euphoria. Again, happy 15th birthday Solidays and see you next year for your sweet sixteen!
Thanks to Mahe’ for her help!
Yayy ! Joy !! I have to say that I had a hard time hiding my happiness when i received my invite to the Crystal Castles gig. For at least two reasons. First: their latest album is DA bomb and has a bunch of tracks that will be instant classics (like “Plague”). Secondly: my first time with this band was like…the first time, if you know what I mean! That’s why I was really curious to see another time these two strange human beings – Alice Glass and Ethan Kath – in action.
Once I arrive in the mythical Parisian venue L’Olympia, I have fun checking out the audience and see what kinds of characters are populating the place. There’s a bit of everything: some well-dressed hipsters with really ugly hairstyles, some super dark goths, some drunken Australians (a permanent feature at almost every gig) and lots of feminine looking guys and masculine looking chicks. What is this gonna look like once the concert begins, you ask? Like a crazy and chaotic pogo-fest that perfectly fits with the band spirit! Because this gig tonight will be dark and violent, just like the stage décor showing the picture taken by Samuel Aranda that was used for the band’s album cover.
Being that the musical genre here is pretty rough – in a good way – I have to admit that the atmosphere is quite brutal –also in a good way – and it’s fun to hear some blonde princess scream that “people need to calm down, it’s just a concert after all”. Ahahah poor chick. She did not expect two of their most excellent tracks ,”Plague” and “Baptism”, being played directly at the beginning of the gig.
Even though the sound is still slightly rough, Alice is in excellent shape and spirit and starts slamming into the public. What the blonde princess from before needs to understand is that this is not a normal concert but rather a communion between the audience and its goddess. Alice knows that all eyes are on her but she manages to look detached and casual while still offering an awesome performance. Ethan is the opposite since he basically spends most of his time on top of his machines but he does take some time to address the audience…and, you won’t believe it, but I can testify that I saw him smile!
Anyway – new album, new excellent tracks and a gig full of good moments. The song “Alice Practice” puts the audience on fire but the real peak of the night will be on the ferocious “Insulin”. The addition of a drummer on this track makes total sense and the song is the perfect example of how this band can merge some rock and some electronics and give birth to the perfect union. People dance their asses off but dark and violent remain the two key words for tonight’s atmosphere. No silly speeches between the songs, no raise your hands all together now – just some wild lights, strobes and sheer energy.
There is definitely a disturbing element in Crystal Castles’ music and something incredible going on during their concerts. It’s only with the tracks “Sad Eyes” and “Not in Love” that the atmosphere slightly cools down, just so we can try to sing a bit over Alice’s faked voice. And by the way, I have just learned while writing this report that Alice is only 24 years old. Wow.
Even though the end of the show is not as good as the beginning, I cannot say enough how much I am impressed by this band and their performance. Crystal Castles is definitely a unique kind of band, talented, mysterious and slightly dangerous! You’ll never know how you’ll personally be impacted by it but I can guarantee you that the energy is there and it looks unstoppable! FIGHT!
Thanks to Léa for her help!