This summer, the fortune was handed for us to discover 3 different festivals around Europe, Madcool in Spain, Truck in England and Rock En Seine in Paris. With their own heritage, set of bands lined up and locations, it was a fantastic experience to see the differences in organization, musical taste as well as the local’s approach to these events. Thanks to the welcoming locals, playful environments as well as festival goers for showing me new things and helping me grow!
During mid-summer’s sun and heat, just on the outskirts of Madrid took place one of this year’s hottest music gathering, with a mix of rock veterans to up and coming electro/pop music. Amongst the many beautiful music festivals Spain offers, Madcool’s fourth year featured Pearl Jam, Franz Ferdinand, Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, MGMT and the list goes on!
Anticipating thousands of listeners, the festival’s layout offered different stages with plenty of rising artists such as rapper and producer Mick Jenkins (US), who fantastically warmed up everyone for the weekend ahead, reminding us to drink more water. With his debut album ‘The Water’ and his third release ‘The Healing Component’, Mick had plenty to keep people entertained with even some new songs!
With flashy-green fake grass, the setting reminded me of a fantasy Californian-styled fair, which in one evening hosts the likes of Tame Impala, Fleet Foxes, Kasabian and MGMT. What can be said when faced with Kevin Parker’s mind-blowing psychedelic pop-rock with screen visuals, Fleet Foxes’ harmonies and folk-rock ballads, Kasabian’s killer indie-rock galore as well as MGMT’s many classics like “Kids” or “Electric Feel”.
The fantastic Arctic Monkeys showed up following the release of their 6th album ‘Tranquility Base H&C’, an attentive crowd gladly sang along to what was a set full of classics as well as newer tunes. With the day occupied by the melodic Kevin Morby and rock’s almighty Jack White banging out “Seven Nation Army” to new tracks from his recent wild ‘Boarding House Reach’; what more could you ask for!
The final day offered another stellar day of acts, with Jack Johnson’s soothing acoustic ballads as well as his bright smile, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s badass blues rock that continues to live on and Future Islands’ roaring as well as smooth synth-rock. To top it all off was Queens of the Stone Age appearing with their heavy sound to obliterate us to hell with tunes like “No One Knows”, “The Way You Used to Do” or “I Sat By the Ocean”; they bloody rock.
Renown for being the godfather of small music festivals in England, this event held in Oxfordshire invites locals of all ages to gather around for some indie/rock music as well as other genres for the whole family. With welcoming small stages from The Barn to the Apple Tree Tent, Truck offers something for everyone, this has to be said for the food/drinks available– it’s rare to get a lovely warm cup of tea when being freezing cold. Talking about rain, this didn’t stop iconic hip-hop duo De La Soul from doing their thing, helping warm the hearts with tracks like “Pain”, “Memory of…” and “All Good”. With the first night filled with pop-electro music from Friendly Fires, luckily the tent wasn’t too far away from the plaza of stages.
The sunshine then returned, welcoming attendees to enjoy the outdoors environment of Truck, with people sparking with life to the day’s summer feel. Acts like Drenge caused chaos with their punk/grunge-blues music, mosh pits forming to the size of the tent whilst the evening invited people to sing-along with Jake Bugg and George Ezra making appearances. Their sweet acoustic pop-rock ballads didn’t disappoint those who knew radio-tracks such as “Budapest” or Bugg’s “Two Fingers”.
For the last day, we were provided with great indie-rock music such as The Amazons, Magic Gang and the young Ratboy, offering us with talent and musical know-how which made for great acts. These are all fast-growing artists which are on the frontline of guiding England’s music scene, spending my last hours in the Apple Tree tent with the Amazons spinning some tunes made me realize how supportive and into-it the locals are.
Last Year’s aftermovie
Rock En Seine
Taking place in the Parc Saint-Cloud, cozy in the south-west outskirts of Paris amongst beautiful buildings and statues, the renown and legendary city festival has always retained some of the biggest names in rock. This is what has always attracted locals to come back year after year, even with some diversification in its headline for the 2018 edition, Rock En Seine offered plenty of fun to go around.
The first day offered the smooth and fuzzy Yellow Days who enchants us with his screaming and tangy guitar, the young man is on his way to making big things happen so check out his album ‘Is Everything Okay In Your World?’. Attending on a smaller stage was the energetic The Orielles with their post-disco punk from Liverpool, tracks like “Sugar Tastes Like Salt”, “Old Stuff, New Glass” and “Let Your Dogtooth Grow” caught everyone’s attention. Rock-duo The Liminanas provided gritty blues rock with its large essemble whilst Parcels finished the night off beautifully with their funk-pop that garnished production talents like Daft Punk to help them. Their good vibes, careful vocals and funky as hell tracks makes these sort of new age Beatles one to look out for in the upcoming future.
The second offered already a bit more rock’n’roll with Australia’s finest musicians King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard taking us on an epic rock trip through their massive collection of tunes, creatively setting the bar at its highest especially with their two-drummers. Cigarettes After Sex relaxed us all with soothing, melancholic and nostalgic tunes, bringing a calming feeling amongst the many attendees on the main stage. Young French band The Psychotic Monks tipped to me by a local friend performed their psych-rock on another stage and blew my head off with their energy and feeling, it’s clear the future is bright for national talents. To finish it all off was rock’n’roll man himself Liam Gallagher bringing tunes from his solo debut album as well as the Oasis classics, right at the spot where the brothers had split years ago.
To close off the event, Rock En Seine had killer rock bands who are making moves across the UK Idles, Wolf Alice and Confidence Man, all which I highly recommend checking out. With big names such as Post Malone, Macklemore and Justice, we opted to catch the monstrous Black Angels who bring blues rock to another level with their large repertoire and expertise. Tracks like “Black Grease”, “Entrance Song” and “You On The Run” really had the French crowd in awe at the grandiosity of their sound, the festival delivered very much so on gathering around rock’s brightest.
Article by Augustin Eude through JMS llc