Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Eurockeennes 2010 - Day One

Day errr Zero?
The four of us, Amanda, Grant, Liz and myself, arrive at the Eurockeennes campgrounds before most campervans. Five minutes later through the gates walks Rhys. Thirty minutes later we've caught up with Matt and Jenny who've arrived by bike… the gang's all here.

We fire up the BBQ and a pop champagne bottle sized Leffe Blondes we picked up on our way through Belgium's Ardennes. Musically, the long weekend opens with the pre-festival skittish rumblings of dubstep's Gaslamp Killer. Warped by name and record label the Killer jilts and jolts behind the decks. He's followed by some tropical group not as impressive.

Day One
The first act on stage, under the big top, was the aging thrash-punk godfathers Suicidal Tendencies with Pyscho Mike-O out front. Catching only their last song, the entire stage was full of die-hard fans in blue bandanas and Suicidal shirts chanting 'S.T' over and over again. Most would avoid Jay Z later that night for the band's hard funk alter-egos, Infectious Grooves a show that reportedly carried high energy jams.

A friend had suggested we see Baroness who are on the small but powerful Laggia Scene. Powerful yes, but I honestly can't remember them now… other than they were pretty bad.

The jagged and off-kilter rock of The Dead Weather holds the agitated tension of RATM and the scorched soul of the blues wrapped up in greasy garage rock. Allison stalks the stage in her leopard print shirt, slick black jeans and a mane of hair like a predatory cat. Cigarette and tamborine shake through her hand. She occasionally slinks on to an amp allowing Jack pride and place off the kit and on the mic - they're a savage pairing. The best cuts come from 'Treat Me Like Your Mother', 'Cut Like A Buffalo', and 'So Far From Your Weapon' and 'Gasoline'.
In the big top the Black Keys duo, Dan and Patrick fail to disappoint and keep me engaged even after seeing them just three days before at Amsterdam's Paradiso. Heavy soul and swaggering blues builds the audience into a hot fever.

On the Plage or beach stage, with sand under our feet yet sadly the lake cordoned off from swimming despite the heat, Two Door Cinema Club have their fellow Frenchmen and women enjoying the indie-pop. It's not particularly challenging or innovative, in fact it's all pretty derivative but offers harmless fun in the sun with crowd participation.

Kasabian, I thought might hold my interest but their ballsy Brit rock can't do it like it has in the past. Nevertheless them shouting 'Merci-Fucken-Beaucoup!' as English as possible is worth the visit anyway.

Afterwards we head for Foals back at the Plage as they fling into their set. Standouts for me come more from the mathiness of Antidotes rather than this year's mellower Total Life Forever. Sand flies from my thongs (flip flops, people) for 'Cassius' and 'Balloons' but the heat is heavy and I've gotta re-hydrate for Jigga, so I take a seat on the cooling sand.

To use Jay Z's quote from 'Izzo (H.O.V.A)' back at the man himself, 'You could have been anywhere in the world tonight and you're are here with me - I appreciate that.' A filled amphitheatre in front of the main stage and a sea of Diamonds (terribly confusing if that's your sign in a crowd to find your friends like it is ours') shows appreciation for the 'greatest rapper alive'. His 'Naïve' (Evian) T shirt nods to his French audience with a playfulness. He seems genuine, having a great time and appreciating us too without a sense of egotism. With a big band and fellow MC Memphis Bleek behind him he swings through modern classics 'Hard Knock Life', '99 Problems,' 'Izzo,' 'Numb/Encore', 'Dirt off Your Shoulder' as well as the recent Blueprint 3 'Death of Autotune' and 'New York State of Mind.' Hell, the whole thing is amazing. The Roc is most definitely in the building tonight and conscious of how to work a crowd.
Hot Chip are the first real dance act for the festival and is our leap from hip hop to electro… Crowd favourite 'Over and Over' along with 'One Pure Thought' and the epic rave of new track 'I Feel Better' gets the big top firing on all lazers. Love that kettle-drum too. Similarly to the Black Keys, I've see Hot Chip recently but it only heightens the fun, knowing how great these new songs are live.

Missy Elliott, unlike Jay Z, is not in the building - or so it seems. Delays of some sort hamper her appearance on stage for a 2am timeslot, making a tired audience grow further weary. When she appears with black light dancers there's definite promise however a quick medley skims over a couple of her best songs including 'Gossip Folks'. Will she return to them in full? She's wanting everything turned up but the speakers are crackling. She sings a song, but fuck me, is she miming? She spends nearly ten minutes without music trying to hype a crowd who want hip hop to energise them rather than forced 'wassup' diatribe and a barrage of diva posturing. Then she walks off stage leaving the DJ to play Black Eyed Peas' 'I Got A Feeling'. Seriously. However, the young audience eager for MTV are stoked - finally some music at least. That's it for Liz and I though. We turn and walk. BEP is mixed into Nelly or something which gives way for a Missy track eventually, but she's not on stage. Her dude MC is rapping her parts. Where is she? Fuck knows. From a distance, leaving for bed, we note she's returned. Meh.

Read Day Two

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