Among the enchanting forest in which takes place For Noise Festival there are three stages: the Grande Scène which still has a human size and is not as huge as at other festivals, and then there are Demovie Salon and Scène Abraxas, both cozy venues in a big house. So let’s see who made these stages tremble…
Day 1, Thursday August 20
Labrador City, Demovie Salon, 6:15pm-7:15pm
The three guys of Labrador City, a Swiss band from Bern, are accompanied by two girls, one on the bass guitar the other one on keyboards. They play a chill music and the singer has a sort of hypnotic metallic voice. Their sounds are colourful as well as beautiful. Their instrumental bits make you drift with your mind into places unknown. And after their concert I also I had a nice chat with singer Niklas Stettler!
Ought, Grande Scène, 7:15pm-8:15pm
Ought’s music is powerful right from the start, taking you in a loop over the Russian mountains of old school rock. They truly seem to come out from the New York underground rock scene of the ’80s. Scathing sounds and riffs, the voice of the singer is powerful and a bit cheeky as well which gives to them a sort of rebellious air. I really enjoyed them and had an improvised interview with them after the concert!
Mini Mansions, Grande Scène, 8:45pm-9:45pm
I had one interview after the other first with Ought than with Labrador City and heard Mini Mansions‘ hard bass from backstage. I got out just about when they started “Vertigo” the song they recorded with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, pitch perfect but well Alex wasn’t there of course so the singer of Mini Mansions Michael Shuman, who wait a moment also happens to be the bassist of Queens Of The Stone Age, had to sing his part. He did pretty well, his low voice suits the song perfectly. They are only three on stage but the sound they produce are definitely multiple. They mix rock sounds with some high pitched choruses like the one in “Vertigo”. Live they seem perfect like on the album, perhaps even too perfect?
MarK Berube, Demovie Salon, 9:50pm-10:40pm
MarK Berube, also Canadian, replaces Patrick Watson who had to cancel his gig due to illness. At the beginning of the gig he jokes and says “My name is Patrick Watson” imitating his accent and all. The songs he plays have a specific history to them. Like the song which was inspired by an anecdote which happened to his grandpa, who when he was on a small cinema in an anglophone Canadian village started screaming in Japanese as on the screen he saw the Japanese man who held him prisoner during the war. MarK Berube plays the piano really beautifully with the notes gently unfolding at times and at others chasing each others. He also plays the guitar and dedicates a song to his kids who are there to see him.
F.F.S. (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks), Grande Scène, 10:45pm-00am
Take an amazing Scottish indie-rock band called Franz Ferdinand and add to it some electronic and old-style rock by Sparks and you’ve got a supergroup called F.F.S. (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks), which by the way has nothing to do with the Italian acronym for the Swiss railways. The crowd is all in front of the big stage waiting to see this supergroup. Franz Ferdinand’s singer Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael, one of the two brothers composing Sparks and the singer of the band, are at the centre of the stage, the other members are surrounding them. They unveil straight away their powerful and explosive mix with the song “Johnny Delusional” mixing the indie-rock mark of Franz Ferdinand‘s music together with the ‘80s electronic rock music of Sparks. The combination of Alex Kapranos’s voice and that of Russell Mael is quite a thing, they seem to be born to sing together as they complete each other. They also play the ironic reflective song “Collaborations Don’t Work”. Well I must say that collaborations do work in this case! At one point Ron Mael (keyboards) of Sparks, yes the one with an authentic thin mustache, jumps up from his comfy seat and gets to the centre of the stage where he performs a sort of dance resembling to a run. They also play a few songs by Franz Ferdinand like “Do You Want To” and the indie rock anthem “Take Me Out” to which all the people jump and sing along to. A super concert for a supergroup and a super festival 🙂