We’d expected a dry, industry shindig; a chance for music biz types from different countries to come together, quietly applaud over-hyped
bands and weep in the corner for the days when people still bought records.
We were very wrong! Except for a handful of in-the-know music heads, no one seems to have heard about it in England, but Trans Musicales is a sprawling winter behemoth of live music that’s been going
strong since 1979.
It’s home for those thirty-one years has been Rennes, Brittany’s cultural
epicentre and something of a cool younger brother of lame, old Paris.
Setting can be just as central to the identity of a festival as the bands that play (just take a look at Berlin’s Melt that goes off on the site of
an old quarry),
and the setting of Trans Musicales has a charming and disorientating
personality disorder. The action is split between the old town – all beautifully warped medieval buildings and cobbled streets – where bands
play in the early evening,
and the ‘Park Expo’ – a monolithic industrial estate with an
internment camp vibe – where the bigger Revolution
hitting bands go on playing past bedtime.
funk bass lines and North African-sounding scales.Revolution
into a rabidly appreciative, heaving mass.
finish with ‘Rad Pitt’, their slightly vacuous-ifmemorable lead single, reworked and given a killer five-minute outro that’s held together by a
filter-abused sequence from their frontman’s
It’s a neat move and calls to mind Talking Heads’ ‘Stop Making Sense’, which can
Also in the shit pile is another band who shy away from playing shows, not just in our capital but anywhere.
Salem have garnered a reputation for being astronomically bad live and they don’t disappoint. That’s to say they are, as expected,
very disappointing. Every time the guy raps (imagine Lil Wayne voiced by the rapist in Deliverance),
the audience halves. It improves when the girl deadpans her simple,
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