The Music Slut


15.7.08

Les Ardentes Festival (Belgium): Epic Stretches

The following review is courtesy of our delightful & wondrous guest blogger, Megan B. Photo by Kmeron. Parc Astrid near Liege, Belgium, is probably lovely and green at times (as all the web sites claim), but by the time I arrived for Day 3 of Les Ardentes, it was reduced to epic stretches of mud. Ankle deep in the stuff, I feared the Stella Artois/mud combo would eventually cause me and my jeans some major problems. Safely ensconced in my wellies, however, I managed to stay upright, and even got to race around the three different stages for 7 hours. Nothing, certainly not mud, could bring my 25000 fellow festival goers down! To me, Belgium's own Das Pop were over the top, ridiculous and cartoonish performers, but they infused everybody else by the main stage with a manic compulsion to dance and sing. The man has clearly never seen a speaker that he didn't want to jump on, and I did get a smile or two out of their set. Escaping one early afternoon cloudburst, I fell in love with the Belgian trio of electro rock ladies Legoparty; their swagger and joyful energy felt far more natural and inviting to me. Devotchka's early performance marked the third time I've swayed and stamped my foot to their gypsy cabaret indie rock, and although they played with their usual competency and passion, I longed for a different environment to indulge in their melodrama. A smoky bar would have suited them better, and the smoky bar in Baltimore, Maryland where they played to a tiny crowd a few years ago is still one of my favorite show experiences of all time.

I was on a quest and I got there around 5pm: Jason Pierce has plugged in again, and Spiritualized came on in a loud way: the opener 'You Lie You Cheat' is like a wave crashing, 'Shine A Light' is like angels soaring, and 'Sweet Talk' is like your mother swaddling you in comforting blankets. John Coxon isn't playing on this tour, but Doggen and Jason's guitars blazed around each other perfectly, and the rhythm section is at its peak, most notably during 'Sweet Talk'. Two gospel singers added sweet texture, especially to 'Sitting On Fire' and 'Come Together', and the closer, Spacemen 3's 'Take Me To The Other Side', was Immense. Capital I. 50 minutes was not long enough to comprehend what was hitting me, and when it was over, I walked dazedly through the mud. Until I realized I was late for the Kills, that is. Thus I ran clumsily to the other stage. Earlier in the week, I checked out the art exhibition It's Not Only Rock N Roll, Baby! at The Centre For Fine Arts in Brussels. The Kills participated in the exhibit, their work underlining the fact that they are also a compelling band visually. Watching VV & Hotel's chemistry, as they joined & parted in the middle of the stage, the time kept by the tick tick of the drum machine, it's impossible not to dance & let their intensity fill your head. The huge crowd they attracted was obviously intoxicated by their set, a major highlight of this sprawling and diverse festival.

MP3: The Kills - Live On WOXY

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2 Comments:

Blogger Roel said...

Good review, but..
Nothing about the pumping set of Dizzee Rascal who surprised everybody and showed that hiphop does work at festivals?
Nothing about the chaotic sounds of The Mars Volta, who played a smashing 2 hour set like only they can?
And about the revived Mike Skinner, who obviously bounced back from his problems the last years...?
Anyway, good times, splendid music, lots of mud!
Cheers

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I would have LOVED to catch those acts, but I couldn't stay after the kills :( believe me, the entire line-up for the whole festival was amazing and i want to go again!

8:41 AM  

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