There was an air of nostalgia floating around the grounds of Paléo Festival for the first evening of the 43rd edition of the festival. The 70s and 80s were massively represented, be it by the bands that actually defined those eras, like the new wave giants of Depeche Mode, or musicians who found their inspiration in music from those years. Altin Gün are one of those. Based in the Netherlands, their project is a celebration of the vibrant underground psychedelic rock scene that shook Turkey in the 70s. (it doesn’t get much nicher than that, does it?) They had the honour of playing the first concert of the festival on the main stage, which is never an easy task. Playing earlier in the day means the crowd is never as big as it gets later on, and a lot of people just watch casually from afar, or sitting down in the grass on the sloping terrain in front of the stage. The uplift beat, oriental touch and trippy guitar riffs were a perfect match for the sun shining over the grounds. The weather treated us yesterday, with a short bout of rain earlier in the day keeping the dust on the ground, and a sunny afternoon and evening.
This is probably due to the Mediterranean vibes coming from this year’s village du monde, the area of the festival devoted to world music. This year highlights the music and culture of southern Europe, a region that despite being our neighbours, holds many musical secrets and treasures. One of these was Imam Baildi, who you can catch again today at 17:15 under the Dome! Their name comes from a tasty Greek dish mixing tomatoes and aubergine, and their music is just as vibrant and tasty. They give a new life to Greek music from the 40’s-60’s (here’s a bit more musical nostalgia for you!). On the menu, you’ll get bouzouki, saxophone and electric guitars, topped with some warm vocals. You can feel the Greek sun and taste the ripe tomatoes coming out of their music!
The Dôme is always a good place to discover new bands and have a good time. This year’s scenography represents the trade-mark arcades that you can find all over the south of Europe, and a big circus tent has been set up with a bar and stage where most of the bands playing on the larger stage of the Dôme all come and play smaller, more intimate acoustic sets. It’s a great way to enjoy their music in a slightly different setting, to get more of a band you love, or simply to discover new music in small samples. You can find the schedule of the stage, called l’Escale, here.
The two other bands playing at the Dome on Tuesday night were unanimous successes. The rowdy and dancy kudurock of Diron Animal – a mix of rock and kuduro, the Portugo-Angolese electronic music fusing lively beats and African sonorities. Dressed in sparkly attire invoking afro-futurist aesthetics, Diron Animal gave a frenzying concert, the air thick with dust rising from under the dancing and jumping crowd. The sides and back of the tent are always calmer, giving everybody the chance to enjoy the concert the way they wanted to, be it in a more casual fashion or letting themselves be possessed by the music.
Later on, the Catalan band Txarango shared their festive songs with a packed-out tent. They delivered their politically and socially engaged message, calling for a Europe of solidarity and hope, against today’s Europe of borders. Their performance was generous and full of light, bringing the first night of the festival to a joyous and dancing end.
One last mention for Living in Nyon’s musical discovery of the day, Swiss-German singer Crimer. With a musical inspiration deeply rooted in all the best that the 80’s new wave and synth-pop legacy has to offer, his music is much more than a simple copy of that periods music but has the potential to spar with the big names of the genre. Playing just before one of his major influences, Depeche Mode, his concert was just that much better. His performance was embodied, gracing the stage with his quirky and irregular dance moves, his deep voice surfing on the very best synth tunes and upbeat tempos. He actually played three times last night: a showcase for the press at four was followed by an improvised concert on the grounds at five before his scheduled concert at nine. Each one of those was given with enthusiasm and energy despite the warm weather. No skimping or posturing for him! His idols, who played later on on the main stage, could definitely have taken a page out of his book when it came to giving an interesting and engaging concert. Crimer might have a foot in the past when it comes to the inspiration for his music, but he clearly has an amazing future ahead of him.
PS: a reminder that if you were thinking of coming to the festival, it is sold out but 1500 tickets have been set aside and are put on sale every morning at 9:00 for that evening on the Paléo website.