Festival Balélec, held on the EPFL campus in Lausanne is supposed to be the first festival opening the Summer festival season but the weather still a bit crazy these days doesn’t really make it feel like Summer… With a line up which looks like a tasty menu with different flavours from the indie pop of Kid Wise to the punk covers of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes passing through some hip hop and groove with Smokey Joe and The Kid, and well why won’t we all dance to Fritz Kalbrenner after that?
Balélec is arranged as last year with the three concert’ stages (Grande Scène, Scène Azimuts and Scène Squatt) and the two clubbing tents (RedOx Club and The Garden Club) spread out like in a real big music festival. A giant inflatable zebra, which is on the logo of this year’s Balélec, welcomes the festival goers. Let’s see what the zebra chose to offer.
Kid Wise, Grande Scène, 8pm-9:15pm
I had the chance to see Kid Wise already last year at Montreux Jazz Festival. The six guys from Toulouse have an amazing indie pop sound mixed with electronic sounds. From sad melodies passing through happier ones with sounds that make you dance and groove. They also add some rock to their music with the electric guitar riffs. The singer has a keyboard/synth in front of him that he plays while singing.
They try also some songs of their upcoming second album live which sound very promising! They put the audience in a great mood, entertaining them making them dance and jump. The singer even comes down the stage and runs in a circle back to the stage giving high five to some people in the audience.
Rocket Van, Scène Squatt, 8:45pm-9:45pm
Rocket Van are a young alternative rock band from Neuchatel. Who said that the best bands play on bigger stages? I absolutely loved their energy and their sound, at times underground ’60s at other times more modern indie-rock their music brings a certain freshness! The voice of the singer definitely has something special and suits perfectly to the songs. A great new discovery!
The Skatalites, Scène Azimuts, 10:30pm-12pm
There is something for reggae fans as well with The Skatalites, one of the pioneer bands of reggae music. They have a great presence live, with lots of musicians and instruments like trumpets and such. An elderly woman sings, she has a remarkable stage presence involving the audience and she sings well. They play some of their most famous songs like the “Simmer Down”.
Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, Grande Scène, 11:30pm-1am
Californian band Me First & The Gimme Gimmes revisits famous songs under a punk key. Their sound is definitely good but the singer speaks too much during the concert which instead of making entertaining renders the gig a bit boring. Despite that, they seem to create a great atmosphere mainly up front where people are jumping and kind of doing a mosh pit!
A great 36th edition of Balélec (except for the chilly weather)!