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Rock-en-Seine 2008 Follow-Up

Aside from Amy Winehouse’s no-show on Friday (which, really, wasn’t much of a shock to anyone), the rest of the festival was quite fun, and — most important — dry! Here I am (on the left) with fellow journalist Kinneret, sporting our badges. You’ll notice the jackets. It may have been dry, but it was still chilly for August.

On Thursday the big headliner was REM, who played all of the old classics and some songs from their new album, and ranted a bit about the US government’s foreign policy. Tricky had his first concert in France in over five years, promoting Knowle West Boy and was in top form.

During an earlier press conference, one of the journalists asked what he’d been up to during the break. “Nothing,” he replied with refrenshing candor. In person, Tricky is a very friendly, humble, almost shy person. He mentioned his grandmother as the biggest influence in his life, and said that he thought the name “trip hop” was stupid. “It’s just music.” When asked what music he listens to these days, he said that he listens to whatever his 13-year-old daughter wants to listen to. “She thinks her dad is a dork like every other girl her age, so we don’t listen to my music.” (For the record, his favorite French musician is the rapper Sefyu). Tricky will actually be moving to Paris in December to work with disenfranchised suburban youth.

Another great act on Thursday was the French hiphop musician Wax Tailor (aka JC Le Saout). His music mixes hiphop with samplings of old American films, flute and violin, some haunting melodies à la Portishead along with vocals by rappers and jazz singers, and some instrumental tracks. Although he’s French, all of the music in in English. Interesting for you international music geeks out there, French musicians receive subsidies from their Ministry of Culture…but not if they sing in English. So a French band singing in English is really taking a huge risk, and I applaud it.

There was a little “food court” and the best smell was coming from the wood fired pizza truck. Unfortunately, they could only cook two pizzas at a time, so it was a good 30 minutes before we go ours. But biy was it worth the wait. Other popular stands were the fruit bar and the Ethiopan cuisine stand (looked good, actually).

On Friday, the Roots, from my home town of Philadelphia, had the crowd hopping. I’ve never seen a marching tuba played so energetically, lol! The Raconteurs were back for a second time at the festival, but I didn’t think their heart was in it this time; they seemed low on energy.

No matter, it was a beautiful day and the crowd was in a good mood. When the sun set and the electronica band Justice came onto the stage above their glowing cross logo, everyone began dancing. Their set started late and lasted longer since they didn’t have to free up the stage for The Streets, who happily replaced Ms Wino on the main stage and brought the house down.

At the Heinekin Lounge.

At the Ile-de-France anti-drunk-driving stand, someone tries to “drive” with beer goggles on.

Safety Red Cross crew on duty.

These bacon cheese burgers were really, really good.

 Fruit smoothie stand.

Hanging out on the lawn between concerts.

Moi on the left, with friends, waiting for the Roots to begin.

The Rock-en-Seine Kids Camp entrance (far from the loud music, they had their own circus tent).

One of the beer lounges up on the hill.

Tricky on stage.

Wax Tailor, with cellist and flute player.

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