Live Review

La Route Du Rock 2013

Parquet Courts steal the show at one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.

Photo: La Route du Rock
La Route du Rock festival, set against the backdrop of the picturesque French seaside town of Saint-Malo, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Who knew, after 23 years of quietly tucking away acts like Sonic Youth, Portishead, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, The National and more into a fort in the middle of nowhere, that such a festival even existed?

Local Natives are a highlight of the first evening on Thursday; with tracks from their Aaron Dessner-produced latest ‘Hummingbird’ sounding magnificently graceful on the Scène Du Fort. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds headline, and affirm the best way to see them live is with a bunch of stoned French 50-somethings dropping MDMA. Cave prowls the audience; The Bad Seeds theatrically bring to life his (and their) nightmarish visions. Playing a mix of classic tracks as well as new favourites from ‘Push the Sky Away’, Cave and gang put on a performance that is utterly otherworldly whilst coming across effortlessly cool.

On Friday, Woods get things going with a gentle stroll through their back catalogue that pleases the small-ish crowd of diehards that sang along to every word. Later, Godspeed You! Black Emperor completely contrast the previous night’s showbiz qualities with an extraordinarily haunting and powerful performance. With their huge ensemble draped in darkness, captivating projections almost hypnotise the audience with the way that they repeatedly flash and develop like propaganda. Live they’re a whole ‘nother beast that can’t be tamed.

Tame Impala headline with a fairly disappointing set plagued with sound issues on Saturday night, so it’s up to Parquet Courts to steal the evening, proving themselves the most entertaining act of the festival as they pump up a packed out crowd over on the smaller Scène Des Remparts. The reaction to their set is incredible, with French kids as far back as the eye could see fist-pumping in joyous momentum as well as crowdsurfing at every opportunity. A bewildered Sean Yeaton looks completely dazzled as he approaches a crowd of adoring fans at the end of the set, and it’s quite clear in that moment that his band are set for stardom.

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