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Gigs in Paris previews Rock en Seine Festival

Review by Mark Thompson of Gigs in Paris

With only a couple of weeks before the first chords are struck in anger – it’s about time to glance over the i’s and address the t’s of what’s looking like a real Revels box of a weekend.

And what better place to start than, unquestionably, Rock en Seine 2011′s strongest day.

Those foolish enough not to have taken the Friday off work should ready their best ‘gastro voices’ because the festival is definitely stepping forward with its strongest boot.

Alex Ebert, Mr Edward Sharpe, will be orchestrating his stomping and hollering hippy orchestra from 15h in what is bound to be a real highlight – imagine Arcade Fire after winning the lottery the day they fell in love.

Although there are rumours Alex and Jade have broken up which could make for some awkward on stage chemistry.

Sadly, the Smith Westerns on at 15.30h will probably suffer. Those looking for a more relaxing sun-soaked started to their festival may want to catch some of their set.

It’s not a summer unless you’ve seen Seasick Steve (16.15). The former hobo turned Blues legend has been a festival mainstay since his commercial breakthrough in 2007.

When I ran into him that autumn in Dorset he was driving around in a graffiti-laden van (complete with working stove) he had purchased for £200 from Newcastle’s traveling community. The romantic in me hopes this is still the case.

Some will argue Biffy Clyro (on at the same time) will be the bigger draw, and will put on a sweaty, energetic, and entertaining show. Sadly, the band has not been the same since Simon cleaned himself up and I’m content to keep the 2004 ‘mon the Biffy locked in my head.

However, the Scene de la Cascade is likely to be overflowing for every Parisian’s favourite Swedes at 17.35h. Herman Dune have, rightly, been selling out every venue in the city since they started the Pop In open Mic night around a decade ago.

On a day of real clashes CSS (18.25)  v Funeral Party (18.30) maybe one of the more difficult decisions. Either way it signals party o’clock and it’s probably best to choose one, stick to it and try to convince the Parisian next to you to dance.

Let me know how that goes.

There have been a plethora of reformations over the past few years but one that seems to have gone relatively under the radar is Mick Jones’ post-Clash band Big Audio Dynamite (20.15).

After a 14-year hiatus the rock, punk, reggae, dance, troop are back and selling out shows. Sadly, the band may struggle as they will be fighting with The Kills for the limelight.

Although BAD are fronted by a punk legend, The Kills have the long pins, attitude and voice of Alisson Mosshart backed up Jamie Hince’s raw yet inventive pedal-work.

Being realistic it’s unlikely any amount of emailing to the night’s headliners will convince them to solely play songs from Colour and the Shape but I’m not sure it will stop me trying.

That said, in a year which we will celebrate twenty years of Nevermind, White Limo was Dave Grohl back to his mad, bad and dirty best.

To end the night it’s dealer’s choice:  German electro (Paul Kalkbrenner) or Psychedelic Rock (Death in Vegas).  Either way you should make the most of it because you won’t be missing a lot the day after.

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  • I'm not saying that Biffy aren't worth seeing but having watched them before when they were cranking out some real dirty music I can't help but feel I would be disappointed with their new clean cut ways. Seasick Steve on the other hand is always a great performer, story teller, and musician.

  • Miss Biffy at your peril Mark. They were awesome at Milton Keynes supporting the Foo Fighters. They're on the cusp of breaking out from arenas and headlining stadium gigs. Seasick Steve made an appearance with the Foos on the 2nd night at Milton Keynes. Hopefully they'll reprise that as it's going to be the only opportunity to see him on the Friday as I'll be giving it some 'Mon the Biffy'.