Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Review: Vieilles Charrues


A couple of weeks ago, medications I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, pilule lazing around Shoreditch Park, case catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.


Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.


Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.


Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.


Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Categories ,Brittany, ,Brittany Ferries, ,Carhaix, ,Chapelier Fou, ,Charlotte Gainsbourg, ,Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, ,Etienne De Crecy, ,fanfarlo, ,Fefe, ,festival, ,france, ,Francoise Hardy, ,julian casablancas, ,Midlake, ,phoenix, ,Pony Pony Run Run, ,Sexy Sushi, ,The Raveonettes, ,Vieilles Charrues

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Review: Vieilles Charrues


A couple of weeks ago, medications I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, pilule lazing around Shoreditch Park, case catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.


Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.


Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.


Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.


Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Categories ,Brittany, ,Brittany Ferries, ,Carhaix, ,Chapelier Fou, ,Charlotte Gainsbourg, ,Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, ,Etienne De Crecy, ,fanfarlo, ,Fefe, ,festival, ,france, ,Francoise Hardy, ,julian casablancas, ,Midlake, ,phoenix, ,Pony Pony Run Run, ,Sexy Sushi, ,The Raveonettes, ,Vieilles Charrues

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Amelia’s Magazine | Julian Casablancas – Phrazes For The Young – An Album Review

julian casablancas

Julian Casablancas needs no introduction, yet journalistic values insist I give him one. This kind of contradiction is an apt paradigm for this album and review. In Phrazes For The Young, the front man from The Strokes has produced a body of work that I would hate (if I were not a Strokes fan), but I don’t (because I am). I can’t shake the teenage self that was instantly infatuated by the vacuously cool Manhattan socialites upon the release of Is This It. So much so that I refused to dislike the two subsequent albums, even though they were clearly inferior. They lacked the impact of the debut, but they had a debonair personality of their own. I relay this as a warning of the rose-tinted glasses that I approach listening this album wearing.

The Strokes’ legacy is a funny one. Having set the style agenda for TopMan for the last ten years, their other achievement can only be having been beaten to death by their own hype stick. The Strokes will always be the band that didn’t realise the potential that the critics attached to them. We hear a possible an introspection of which in the opening lyrics, “Somewhere along the way my hopeness turned to sadness.” I say, so what if Casablancas’ offering plays as a sub-par tribute to The Strokes, that is his schtick. Indeed, a schtick that has so far earned him and his band members a ton of money and adoration. Predictably, Phrazes For The Young doesn’t stray too far from the schtick, but does coat it with a veneer of synthpop. It certainly does feel like the continuation of a dialogue that was started in a Lower East Side coffee with his band members. The trademark nonchalant Casablancas vocals are present, as are The Strokes’ interpretation of 70s CBGB guitar riffs but so are drum pads, and cheesy keyboard sequences that ebbed their way into First Impressions. It seems that what Casablancas does do without the presence of his bandmates is produce longer songs. Most songs here hover around the 5-minute mark, which is a full two minutes longer than anything in The Strokes repertoire. If Strokes branded releases now only please their avid fans like me, an extra two minutes to each song is greatly appreciated.

This album will certainly divide parties, he certainly won’t be winning over any music listeners that refused to digest previous Strokes offerings, but for the completists out there, the continued dialogue of Mr Julian Casablancas is welcome.

In the new fangled world of the web – providing you have the appropriate technology – Amelia’s Magazine are in the position to offer you live streaming of Phrazes For Young below. How modern we are.

Julian Casablancas is venturing to these shores in December to tour the album. Get your fingers ready to jump on the announcement of these tickets going on sale some time in the near future. The dates are:

11th Dec – Manchester – Ritz
12th Dec – Glasgow – ABC
14th Dec – Dublin – Academy
16th Dec – London – Forum

Categories ,album, ,Indie, ,julian casablancas, ,synths, ,the strokes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Vieilles Charrues

Fanfarlo pic

Today we are going to be popping over the channel in our search for the finest music festivals of the summer. In our bid to find an eclectic, look inspired and enticing line-up we find ourselves at the doorstep of what is regarded as Glastonbury’s Gallic cousin. A worthy title for sure, mind but deservedly so; having gone from being a tiny local get-together – when it was first held in 1992, les Vieilles Charrues was more village fete then international music hub- it has become France’s most frequented music festival, with over 200,000 expected to attend this year.

Held every year in the town of Carhaix in western Brittany, the festival also serves as a convenient base to explore the spectacular coastline (think harbours, fishing ports and islands dotted around the peninsula) although if you are just here for the music, we won’t hold that against you. Vieilles Charrues has been steadily achieving the kind of dream line-up that leaves many other festivals in the shade; in the past it has played host to a savvy and diversified combination of big name acts (Massive Attack, Beck, Death In Vegas, Kings Of Leon), and upcoming talent. This years festival has headlining performances by Phoenix, Julian Casablancas, Muse, Fanfarlo, The Raveonettes, Dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip and Midlake, as well as plenty of French bands to discover, such as Chapelier Fou, Revolver and Fefe.

Visiting happy campers have a myriad of ways to arrive at Vieilles Charrues; TGV Rail has a service into Carhaix, and for ticket holders arriving by road, car sharing is encouraged (the organisation of Vieilles Charrues aims to make the festival as sustainable as possible, and this includes the transport) but the ideal way to travel has been worked into the 3 day ticket offer; crossing the channel by ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, with coach transfers to Carhaix. (Check the website for prices). Without transport, a 3 day pass works out at a very reasonable 84 Euros, this gives you full access to the camping site, and day tickets are available for 35 Euros.

Categories ,Chapelier Fou, ,Dan le Sac, ,fanfarlo, ,festival preview, ,france, ,julian casablancas, ,Midlake, ,phoenix, ,The Raveonettes

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