Von Pariahs, 20h30-21:20
The Montreux Jazz Lab is only half full in this warm 17th of July, most people are still outside enjoying the sun. However, the warmth is present also inside the Lab as soon as Von Pariahs take the stage and make the audience sweat with their powerful riffs and songs. This French band seems to come out directly from the ‘80s grunge and underground rock. That raging sound drags you into their songs straight away, until you are somehow hypnotized. The singer has an incredible (and enviable) energy on stage, he can’t seem to stay still for a second, and who blames him, neither can the audience! He lets his round voice go rather rusty and faking high notes in certain songs and lets it out in all his power in others. In some songs the repeated guitar riffs match with the sound of the drums creating an intriguing unison which will soon become beautifully distorted.
Some of their tunes draw on psychedelic music and so does the tone of the singer’s voice. Their music is characterized by heavy sounds and generally an amazing atmosphere, it is hard to get back to XXIst century reality after this. Their music and their style can remind you of the ‘80s pictures of Sonic Youth and other bands taken by Catherine Ceresole and which were exposed in the Chalet d’en Bas of the Montreux Jazz Festival. Von Pariahs was definitely love at first hearing for me and I believe for all the people who witnessed their performance! Sorry for those who just showed up for Babyshambles, you will soon know what you missed because people are going to talk about Von Pariahs again!
When Pete Doherty is on stage you never really know what to expect because pretty much anything can happen. He walks on stage, a cig in his mouth and an olive green captain hat on his head, accompanied by the three other members of the band Mick Whitnall (lead guitar), Drew McConnell (bass) and Adam Falkner (drums). As soon as Pete Doherty starts talking people kind of guess that he must be pretty drunk or high, but it is no surprise. They start off with a new song taken from their last album Sequel To The Prequel and as soon as they play the first notes the audience is possessed by their music. Their songs have that unmistakable indie-rock guitar sound and those chords perfectly blended with the drums that make them so addictive and beautiful. The second tune “Dr. No” seems to bring you to Jamaica with that Reggie undertone in it, as a response the audience is jamming to it peacefully. Babyshambles bring the audience through newer and older tunes, which are both well received. Still, it’s inevitable that when they play songs like “A Rebours” and “Delivery” the audience goes crazy singing along and jumping. The band goes crazy too, each member playing with all his strengths. Which they do also while playing the very fast song “Side Of The Road”, where the lyrics unfold rapidly following the building up of the guitar riffs in the back. Between a beer and a long drink Pete Doherty starts discussing with the audience and at a certain point he just jumps on the public doing crowdsurfing, which didn’t last very long since it was unexpected. The security guys bring him back on stage where he lies for a moment before standing up on his feet once again, solicited by his fans. He seems to be concerned by a guy in the audience and asks that he would be kicked out of the concert but eventually he says “No, no let him stay”. At which they keep on playing, for the happiness of the audience.
Later on, while holding a beer can, he takes out a Swiss flag and ties it around the microphone pole going on about women votes and so on. He toasts to Swiss women and says “and fuck the men … but use protection!“. These are only some of the pearls and funny bits that you can happen to hear at a Babyshambles show.
At 11pm Pete says to his bandmates “Let’s go out and have a fag and a chat” and then, addressing himself to the crowd he says: “We are going out to have a chat about the setlist!“, leaving the audience wondering about what’s coming up next.
Seven minutes later here they are again. The band offers some drinks to two guys in the first row and off they are playing again. They play “Fireman” a great rock anthem taken from their new album, which starts off with guitar riffs and powerful drums beats. They end the concert in great style with “Fuck Forever“, a tune the audience loves to intonate and scream loud especially its refrain. After the end of the song, Pete Doherty exchanges his hat with a fan’s hat and bidding goodbye he leaves the stage leaving the audience with the feeling that they certainly witnessed a unique show.