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Gang Gang Dance, Hold Your Horses, Patriotic Sunday : Route du Rock Off #3

People often say that the Route du Rock is a “human-sized” festival, because it consists of just one stage, as opposed to a number of European behemoths who mount up to eight. But the Fort St. Pere has satellite stages that offer concerts in between while the main stage sets up, and the quality of what you see and hear there is excellent. The concerts at Grand Palais or at the beach offer their fair share of surprises, while the mainstage Fort doesn’t always fulfill its promises. Today’s three bands come from the fringes.

The Hold Your Horses were selected by the Route du Rock team for the “young talents” stage. One young and funny outfit, upholding the image of their rambunctious and carefree songs. In the outskirts of the villa, on haystacks, in the just-shifting tide, then in a cornfield, they jumped, joked around, banged and tapped on everything, and restored energy to an exhausted crew (who later found out that Nat is allergic to corn. Ouch…)

The Nantes-ians of Patriotic Sunday, comprised in part of members of Papier Tigre, played on the Bon Secours beach. We met up with them around a sausage-cake. They had taken three cars to get to the villa, and settled into our kitchen; though they were physically there, they were still wrapped in the fog of last night. Circled around the counter, they performed a tender “Jonas”, honest and sharp, with a precise rhythm.

Then the atmosphere became totally different. Arriving at the Palais du Grand Large two-and-a-half minutes after Gang Gang Dance’s concert started, we just barely had the time to slip in front of the stage to film one of the most surprising and captivating concerts of the festival. Bathed in pure lights, they yelled, banged, banged, yelled over a background of synthetic drones. A good number of spectators left before the end, but those who stayed were hypnotised, and gathered in front of the stage for an exceptionally powerful encore. Just stunning.