Combining my two interests of running from uni work and trying to explore a city in an inordinately short amount of time, last Friday I spent the night in Lyon for Day Three of the annual Nuits Sonores Festival. Nuits Sonores is an urban festival, taking place all over the City of Lyon during the Ascension weekend.
Knowing I’d be staying up all night (the event was running from 9pm-5am, so I decided to save on hotels and just get a commuter train back to Basel in the morning), coffee was in order.
When I arrived in Lyon it was drizzling, but luckily the nighttime events were taking place in the Ancien Marché du gros, a collection of disused industrial buildings which were lit up for the occasion. Despite being fairly central, they weren’t that easy to find, so the lava lamp visuals projected onto the side of the main hall were not only snazzy but practical too.
Having arrived at a time that most would consider devastatingly uncool (before 11pm!) I was there to catch Blue Daisy, who’s electro-rap stylings were going down very well with the crowd. (Though it doesn’t look very full in the photo above, the halls were huge!)
I was also there early enough to get some drinks tokens before the queues built up (and over the course of the night, they really did build up.) and to grab something to eat:
This being France, there wasn’t an abundance of vegetarian options among the impressive line of food trucks. Among them I managed to track down the fantastic Bão Kitchen who were serving up some tasty veggie bão – savoury buns filled with diced vegetables and smothered in sweet chilli sauce. I may or may not have gone back for seconds before the night was out…
Next I headed over to the third and smallest hall for the brilliantly named Jessica93, a post-punk one man band from Paris who was looping and layering some shoegazey noises and getting some interesting results. Hall 3 seemed to be home to the more eclectic acts of the night, as demonstrated by the next band, Future of the Left.
I had barely heard of Future of the Left before Nuits Sonores, and I demand to know why nobody told me about them. This shouty alt-rock band from Cardiff were the unexpected highlight of the night for me, although they weren’t exactly at home among the electro-house pumping out from the other two halls. They might not have drawn the biggest crowd at the festival, but it was certainly the most rowdy. The guitarist brought a number of bananas onto the stage, and one by one fed them to enthusiastic crowd members during the set. In this cut throat music industry it’s great to see a band that takes the time to worry about their fans’ potassium intake.
Next up was the act I had come all this way for – Public Service Broadcasting. Credit to Rosie for taking me and Bill to see them last year and getting me hooked. This was before their new album The Race For Space was released, and I was excited to hear some of the new tracks live. They didn’t disappoint. Along with some favourites from their debut album, they played Gargarin and Go! from the new album, both of which got a great reaction from the crowd and rightly so.
By this time the larger halls were starting to get really full, so I went over to check out Brodinski in hall 2. I loved his solo release, Dance Like Machines, so I had high hopes for his set. I was a little disappointed. This is probably an unpopular opinion but as one of the more sober members of the crowd I felt slightly unimpressed with the repetitive beats and lacklustre mixing, which fell short of being redeemed by the impressive lights, and the visuals dredged up from the depths of the uncanny valley. Some of his set is of course on youtube, so you can listen to it here and draw your own conclusions.
All in all, Nuits Sonores Night 3 was fantastic, and I’ll definitely try and head back for next year!
Were you there? Can you recommend any other festivals in the area? Let me know in the comments!
The Basel music scene doesn’t compare to Birmingham very favourably, so I was super keen when I found out that electro-folk dream boy Patrick Wolf was coming to town! I snapped up a ticket as soon as the posters showed up around town, and was lucky enough to get the last front row seat.
The evening was a benefit for World Aids Day 2014. As such, it started with a speech which appeared to be at once both funny and moving. I say, “appeared to be” because, as regular readers may remember, my German isn’t up to much. Following this we were ushered into the venue where I quickly found my seat at the front. I proceeded to excitedly send pictures of my view of the empty stage to politely interested friends before realising that the place was packed out. Basel may not have a whole lot of live music, but people show up for it when it happens!]
Patrick Wolf took the stage alone to applause from the house; he clearly has a fan base here, and after his first song it was clear why. Those who know his work will be familiar with his distinctive voice. And for those who don’t:
It’s fair to say that live, his performances are on another level. A solo performer, Wolf makes great use of loop pedals to reimagine his studio works using violin, harp, piano, and guitars to build the tracks up piece by piece. However, relying on technology like this comes with risks. After a fantastic arrangement of Wind In The Wires, he started getting some pretty major feedback, and the sound team weren’t able to fix it. The rest of the set was unfortunately plagued with technical problems, but Wolf was more than able to charm his way through with talk of Virginia Woolf, Ghostbusters, and why he would like to be a pigeon for the day. His open and understated presence gave the concert a very intimate feel (following the ballad Enchanted, Wolf mused “I wrote this song at a time when I was drinking two bottles of Baileys a day”) which more than made up for the issues with the tech.
I was told that I couldn’t miss this show by my long suffering bff Drum, who’s seen Patrick Wolf before and likens it to some kind of glittery electro-folk religious experience. I was not disappointed.
It’s been a while!
Sorry for the lack of updates – I’ve just had my last exam for the year (Bio-organic Chemistry, for anyone who’s interested) so here I am, enjoying a cool glass of post-exam freedom. After weeks of revising, I’m finally free to continue writing self important posts about nothing in particular. Good times. This is less a post in itself, more just an update – here’s what I’ve been up to:
- I reviewed Richard Ayoade’s The Double for SofaPotatoes – you can read it here.
- I wrote a guest post for National Vegetarian Week 2014 on The Tofu Diaries, which you can find here. There’s one guest post for each day of the week, so it’s well worth a scroll through!
- I entered my review of Blood Red Shoes into a blogging competition with Ticketmaster. It didn’t get shortlisted…but, the lovely Billy Beale‘s review of the same gig did! Pretty exciting stuff. If you can spare a few seconds to go and vote for his entry (and why wouldn’t you – he’s officially a better reviewer than me. I mean, come on) then lucky you because you can do it right here! It would mean a huge amount if he gets chosen. To vote, just scroll to the bottom of the page and like/tweet/whatever it is you do on google+. Thanks in advance you lovely people!
Coming up, I need to sort out my visa for Shanghai, and put together my presentation. Exciting! I also need to get ready to move out of my lovely flat in Birmingham, which I’ll be sad to leave behind.
So that’s where I am right now. Have you just finished exams right now too? Let me know in the comments!
Next week, someone else is taking over my position as Treasurer for University of Birmingham Film Society.
During the academic year, the group meets twice a week. I’m going to miss it when I’m in Switzerland! People expect us to be fairly academic about it, and though we do try and cover the more eclectic side of cinema, really it’s just a bunch of students watching a film and going to the pub afterwards. In my first year in particular, Film Society was a big part of my university life; I wasn’t really in to clubbing, which seems to account for most of the first year undergraduate social scene, so it was great having something else to get involved with. I think the same thing is true for a lot of students. My advice to anyone starting university this year would be this: Don’t feel like you have to go clubbing every week to make friends or fit in. Most universities have hundreds of societies, so you’re bound to find something that suits you. And if you’re starting at the University of Birmingham, join the film society! You could not find a nicer group of people to argue about Tarantino with on a Tuesday night.
Being on the committee this year has meant I could choose some of the films to be screened. It goes without saying that not everyone appreciates my taste in film – awkward indie comedies made up most of my choices – but it’s been brilliant getting to introduce the group to some of my favourite films. (Included below is a list of my screenings for anyone who’s interested.)
Film society has also introduced me to a lot of new films that I’m so glad to have found; Park Chan-wook’s Thirst, and the stop motion film A Town Called Panic stand out for me. And with an exciting schedule for next semester, I’m looking forward to finding lots more! The new committee has made some great choices, so it looks like the society is in safe hands until my glorious return in 2015.
My film screenings (with fun/obnoxious comments about why you should go and watch them if you haven’t already):
- Bright Star (2009) – I love this film dearly but it did not go down well. I guess Ben Whishaw moping about in a velvet jacket isn’t everyone’s idea of entertainment.
- Clerks (1994) – Needs no introduction. If you haven’t seen it, you should fix that.
- Eagle vs. Shark (2007) – I think people came to see this expecting a “Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus” style CGI fest, and this film couldn’t be further from that. But it does feature Jemaine from Flight of the Concords in a homemade eagle costume.
- Robot & Frank (2012) – This went down really well. Sci-fi heist movie… but not what you’re imagining when I say that.
- Bunny & The Bull (2009) – Possibly my all-time favourite film. Simon Farnaby is perfect.
- Seven Psychopaths (2012) – I thought the marketing for this film was pretty misleading, as it just looked like another action film. Because of this it had passed a lot of people by, but it has a smart story. And Christopher Walken.
- A Film With Me In It (2008) – A darkly self-aware farce. Very Irish.
- The Piano (1993) – Another Jane Campion, but this went down much better than Bright Star. A new take on the gothic genre.
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) – We needed to show some Kubrick. I fought for 2001, but it was just too long..
- The Road (2009) – The most tender yet crushing dystopia you will ever see. Possibly a low one to end on, though.
Seen any of these already? Tell me what you thought in the comments!