Day 4, Thursday July 23
Today is the day where guitars are queens. Yes because the Thursday artists have pretty much all a guitar and they know really well how to make those chords vibrate and get straight to the heart of the audience.
Duck Duck Grey Duck, Club Tent, 5pm-6pm
Their garage-music blues brings you far away into some secret place in Louisiana. Despite being just three guys playing guitar, bass and drums they truly have a great energy. Their sound is sometimes a dirty rock n’ roll other times more surf soul like in “Mama Don’t Mind”. Singer Robin Girod (who is also in Mama Rosin) announces that they’re going to play a song to make love to, its lyrics say “I’d make love to you any time”. Their blues sound is often compared to the earlier Black Keys, although Duck Duck Grey Duck don’t necessarily inspire themselves from this band. They play a funny cover song in French at the end.
I had the chance to interview bassist Pierre-Henri Beyrière (PH) and drummer Nelson Schaer of Duck Duck Grey Duck after their concert, the interview will be available soon!
A Moving Sound, Le Dôme, 5:30pm-6:45pm
This band from Taiwan mixes traditional music with something more modern. The soft voice of the singer as well as the traditional instrument take you in a trip at the discovery of Asian traditional music.
Gary Clark jr., Grande Scène, 6:45-7:45pm
Gary Clark Jr. is a truly guitar master, the cool blues rock sounds which he produces remind the biggest guitar players of the past. Lots of instrumental bits and a voice that takes you back in time and doesn’t make you want to leave the past ever.
Hell’s Kitchen, Club Tent, 8pm-9pm
Hell’s Kitchen is a band from Geneva which plays a cool blues-rock taking the audience back to the 70s. The singer throws some of copies of their last album in the audience and so on. Besides guitar and drums there’s also a cello which gives their music that touch of rockabilly.
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Grande Scène, 9pm-10:30pm
Ben Harper plays together with his past band The Innocent Criminals, with whom he recently rejoined. The band is formed by something like 10 people between musicians and vocalist. Their songs are multi-instrumental and well thought.
Ben Harper often sits down to play his guitar horizontally, gently picking the chords and at this moment there’s a sort of special fusion between him and his guitar. There’s reggae and also a bit of African music influence. The lights on stage turn red, green and yellow which reflects Ben Harper’s colourful music.
This French band plays an entertaining electro-pop music. They are adored by the public and they are great to dance along to. The charismatic singer does some crowd-surfing while singing, he even manages to stand and sit on the audience!
Johnny Hallyday, Grande Scène, 11:45pm-1:35am
Despite what his name may suggest, Johnny Hallyday is not an Hollywood star, neither is he American. He is French and is 72 years old, no kidding! I must admit I am not familiar with any of his songs but his rock ‘n’ roll sound is cool and reminds Chuck Berry and the 60s. One of his songs, “Les Portes du Penitentiaire”, has the same melody as The Doors’ “House Of The Rising Sun”, which I’m singing because I have no idea of the words he sings.
Towards the end he plays “Allumez Le Feu” (Start the fire) and there’s fire coming out from the cannons in front of the stage! The abundance of special effects doesn’t keep the listener from dancing and singing along. He doesn’t seem to want to leave the stage and the audience and he adds 25 minutes to his concert! Well I guess I found out that Johnny Hallyday actually rocks!