The sky above the Chabada car park is more than mixed this Saturday, June 4. However, as the evening progresses, the public will be more and more numerous to attend this second series of concerts as part of the Levitation France festival which has been taking place for 9 editions now in the Angevin capital.
The site is not huge, but the two stages are far enough away to allow the public to gather in front of one and quickly turn to the other when the concerts follow one another. Many food trucks, each more attractive than the next, allow you to eat at a very affordable price, and the bar is run by a smiling and pleasant team. The icing on the cake, the organization is really on the small onions, ensuring that both the public and the press are welcomed as well as possible.
That evening, it was the Angevins of Barge who open the ball. The trio plays at home, and, despite a still sparse audience, their post/math-rock instrumental is warmly applauded. Barely the last chord extinguished, the very post-punk sound, a rather cold Servo rises from the stage opposite. The people of Rouen offer a sober show in the image of their music. The ghost of Joy Division hovers over the stage and inhabits the pieces of the group. However, the very cold atmospheres do not fail to hypnotize the public, who alternately put on and take off their rain gear.
The intermittent showers may not allow you to fully appreciate the band’s show, but the titles stuffed with fuzz and reverb stretch and resonate in the festival grounds, Arthur Peter grinds his pedals to bring out more psychedelic tones that intertwine with the monolithic bass of Louis Hébert supported by the beat of Hugo Magontier. We may regret a passage a little early in today’s program which did not bring together a larger audience, but, undeniably, Servo, who signed with Fuzz Club for their latest album Alien which they played in full tonight (and an unreleased one), deserves attention.
The sun returns timidly at first, then frankly darts its rays on the back of the Reverberation stage where You Said Strange. We immediately think, at the entrance of the two brothers Career (respectively Eliot on vocals and guitar and Martin on bass and vocals), to the best of the English pop scene of the 90s/2000s. Knowing very little about the band’s music, I was immediately caught up in their bewitching set, and the rest of the audience was not mistaken. Eliot largely ensures the show and carries around his baby figure on the front of the stage with a certain confidence and charisma.
A word keeps coming back to each piece, class. If the stage play stays static enough (shoegaze when you hold us) to Hector Riggi who provides the guitar on the left side of the stage, or for the saxophonist behind his keyboard on which he sometimes leans, their music between pop and psyche literally captivates the audience. No need to do more. We sometimes think of Stone Roses or at Oasis, the set is perfectly mastered and we feel the pleasure they have to be there. And it’s communicative.
The problem is that when you turn to the other side, of course, in the audience, you have the sun pleasantly warming the back of the t-shirt still slightly wet from the previous shower, but on the other hand, on stage , the group takes full the mirettes. This is the case of Death Valley Girls who succeed YSS. This does not prevent the three girls from wearing a broad smile. On the right side of the stage, on the other hand, stands, hieratic, the guitarist Larry Schemel (brother of Patty Schemelthresher of hole who officiated until 2016 within KVD) dressed all in black, impassive face.
After the intro of the only title that I think I recognize (I admit, I make my mea culpa, I did not know Death Valley Girls) “Tree Camino“, he will swing his very Dr. Feelgood riffs and solos, like a rock and roll Boris Karloff equipped with a telecaster throughout the show, without cheering up or glancing at the audience. At the other end, equipped wisely of sunglasses, the bass player, Rachel Oroscomounted on platform boots that protrude from her long white skirt, lives her interventions with intensity, regularly exchanging songs with the no less smiling Bonnie Bloomgarden.
Visibly dazzled by the public who acclaimed the quartet who did not have to make a lot of effort to conquer an audience in heaven, the singer had to hide the sun several times with her hand. Behind its barrels, Laura Kelsey wears the same infectious smile that is found on the faces of the public well beyond the front row. Californian psychedelic garage rock (The Cramps meets The Lords Of Altamont) is a whiff of good humor and complicity between musicians and spectators. Alternating guitar and farfisa (?), Bonnie Bloomgarden will finish a relentless and exciting set in the crash pit, embracing photographers (including yours truly) and taking selfies with the audience.
Recently signed to Pelagic (we can’t advise you better than to put your nose in the catalog of this excellent label!) for their album The Machine Is Burning And Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again, the musicians of Noise (Theophile Antolinos – guitar, Clement Libes – bass / violin, Luc Blanchot – cello and Julien Aoufi – drums) are preparing on the side of the stage. The shock is violent. The huge slap. Upon entering the stage, the four members of the post-rock combo are impressive. We feel that they are invested in their music and what it conveys. It only gives it more intensity. The sound, whose sub-basses are inflated by Julien’s 19-inch bass drum equipped with an amplifier, invades the body as well as the mind. The work on the sound is moreover one of the — multiple — qualities of the quartet. In the crash-pit, we are repelled by the breath of the subwoofer, these are so powerful!
And the concert is a multidimensional Dantesque experience: intellectual and spiritual, physical, visual and acoustic. Théophile, hidden behind his mass of hair, is sometimes seated on a stool, squatting in front of his pedal-board, or standing in a metal-like attitude. On either side, Luc and Clément manhandle their archers and sweat under the rays of the setting sun. The titles, heavy and atmospheric of their album follow one another, and, between calm passages with heartbreaking melodies, and sound storms, the emotions are strong. While the words of Albert Jacquard which punctuate “Industry” reverberate in the festival grounds, I look at the audience: some have closed their eyes as if to better welcome these intense sounds and melodies, others sway to the rhythm of the drum beats. The set seems very short, we want more and the public, which begins to come in even greater numbers, gives an ovation to the group which concludes their concert with the grandiose “The Machine Is Burning…” which gives its title to the album. I have just taken the first slap of the evening. And it is… wooouuala!
What about Pond ? Yes, it’s a group that no longer has to prove itself. the frontman, Nick Allbrook (who also officiates with his friend from Pond Jay Watson within Tame Impala for live) deploys from the first measures all its energy to make the show. Her filiform androgynous silhouette and her “Mickjaggerian” gestures captivate the attention. The first titles, rather mid-tempo and quite dancing are not unpleasant. The set is clean, the musicians rehearsed and involved.
But after the fourth title, “Tazmania“, the soufflé goes down a little, and the group string together rather syrupy titles which do not seem to displease the public. The atmosphere is set, heads nod. It must be said that the light show is very good, and that it comes into its own at nightfall. Allbrook struggles like hell, leaving the other musicians to provide the musical foundation, he does the show all by himself, until he goes down to look for the audience in the pit. “Take Me Avalon“excerpt from the latest album, is a slow and introspective title, quite hovering which brings me back to the concert which ends with older titles with very 80s sounds.
Do the Japanese Kikagaku Moyo who then pass around 11 p.m. on the Reverberation side would not ultimately be the only real psychedelic group of the evening? The musicians who have decided to part ways after 10 years of existence are weightless on the big stage, a bit as if the stage rose above the audience to reach stratospheric spheres barely permitted for us poor mortals nailed on the parking lot floor.
Fortunately, this “levitation” is largely communicative and the group immediately takes the audience on its astral journey. The osmosis is perfect between the members of the group, the atmospheres settle, last, stop to give way to another, without downtime or really sudden break. The melodies meander, intertwine, the guitars respond to each other, respond to the sitar, the bass lines become more pulsating, or on the contrary more linear. The rhythmic signatures alternate smoothly, the tempo changes without our noticing it. The tension rises, then suddenly we fall again, we don’t really know on what sign from one of the musicians, on the theme that they had abandoned 5 minutes before. No dead time, artists carried by their music, colorful soundscapes illustrated by a V-jaying under psychedelic influence. More jazzy titles follow more rock tracks, but always with these mastered improvisations. The rare singing interventions blend perfectly with the atmosphere. We leave the show delighted and peaceful and we would have liked them to do it even longer!
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Festival Levitation France #9 (2022 edition) – Barge – Servo – You Said Strange – Death Valley Girls – Noise – Pond
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