Third and final day as a grand finale of fireworks for the 2022 edition of Levitation France : this Sunday, June 5, under a glorious sun made it possible to witness the return of Brian Jonestown Massacre (in stratospheric form for a set consisting almost entirely of unreleased titles) and to enjoy the electrifying performances of groups with a vicious desire to fight on stage: Cloud Crack, Frankie and the witch’s fingers, inform, Schooling, bdrmm etc
Perfectly organized (almost no waste of time in bars, food stalls and toilets), the Angevin Festival offers the ideal format and size for fans of indie rock and psyche who do not want to travel miles between each concert. The artists follow each other on two (relatively) small stages, which react to each other without overlapping each other, and since the prog is sharp and outside the mainstream, the festival’s goals are on a human scale (5,200 people in three days). At the end of the weekend, we think of only one thing: making sure to be available for the next meeting given at the Chabada d’Angers in the “open air” version!
After a good night’s sleep (very necessary to recover from the night before with Kikagaku Moyo etc.), we tumble fresh like a skull on Chabada, after first freshening up with a good 50 cl can of Punk IPA from Brewdog on the 20-minute walk between the hotel and the square (and yes, it’s important to get hydrated , when you train!). The young group from Angevin is on stage from 5.30 pm Gondhawa makes a really good impression with a power trio guitar / vocal – bass – drums formula, where he alternates between desert blues, psychedelia and stoner rock. The three styles are sometimes mixed over the same piece, and what we also notice is that all of this is super well put, sent as it should be and filled with trippy moments. Good game !
The four Englishmen based in Hull from bdrmm follow to perfection with a shoegaze punk noise set that they have the secret about: guitar wall, huge bass lines, vocals drowned in the echo … It’s pretty infernal and will probably whet the urge to put your head on its head. Those who present themselves as self-ironic at their bandcamp (“a collection of northern idiots”) fire any tree in a brilliant way to blow everything up in the air. Needless to say, it succeeded. To celebrate it, the conductor, singer and guitarist with a gorgeous Lumer t-shirt had to shut in a few pints as we will find him on stage very drunk late at night with his friends mentioned at the beginning of this sentence.
Unknown to the battalion, the Ricans from Ghost woman perform well on the Elevation stage with a show between muscular psych rock and steamy blues rock or vice versa. The guys do not claim to revolutionize the music, but they do manage to patiently raise the sauce, even sending the mashed potatoes rock and roll. It’s the ideal kind of thing to see at a festival while drinking a little mousse. And yes, it’s perfect for relaxing while knocking on your feet and waiting to throw yourself all over the place a little later. As a surprise, a small excerpt of the text sampled by Fat boy slim on his huge “Rockafeller Skank”: “Just around now / The funk soul brother / Check it out now / The funk soul brother”.
Seen in good shape, but a bit tense at La Coopé in February, the Norman group Schooling comes to Levitation with a great desire to blow everything up, hence a postpunk set that is both dry and effective. Sharp riffs, breaks in rhythms and cleverly constructed grooves to give your legs thumping sequences one after the other at a hectic pace and send a welcome energy to the audience. Who has all the air for us to take his foot.
Then it’s time for the world trade made in Japan to break down before the big dive into the festival’s last roller coaster rock … The female trio performing on stage in traditional costumes comes from Tokyo, Japan, called Kuunatic, and despite some good moments of tribal punk from the wild ages, turns out to be somewhat hermetic in the long run. It is without a doubt a project that must be understood in a more intimate setting …
We kept a good memory of the passage of Cloud Crack at the end of the evening at La Route du Rock 2019, the mysterious and productive Canadian collective confirms its excellent stage events in Angers with a great show, stretched like a strap, and crammed with powerful titles that have the special thing about making you silly. It’s crazy, and it goes everywhere, between furious postpunk, euphoric pop and ingenious tote, all of which cause uncontrolled outbursts of joy.
The vocals are provided by an unstoppable drummer and by his acolytes of various genres, often with bare upper body, giving fans of young ephebes a chance to spot. In short, that’s not the main thing, what we remember above all is this epic breath that runs through the show, leaving no respite for an audience that is seriously starting to rise in temperature. It will be a real pleasure to see this ultra-gifted combo again in Binics Super Cathedral on July 21st and to dive deeper into a new album – called “Tough Baby” – which will be released on September 16th, 2022 by Meat Machine and should make a box.
Frankie and the witch’s fingers
The time to grab a beer at the bar and with amazement note that we are in the presence of a believable look-alike ofHunter S. Thompson (bob, sunglasses, etc., the cigarette holder is missing, but they are still strong these Dutch and / or these English!), which already Frankie and the witch’s fingers begins its demonic work of undermining the over-excited festival-goers: it is a full-blown attack on the Eustachian tubes, an interrupted series of punk and roll hits served hysterically. Already seen here in Angers during the 2019 edition of the festival, the Los Angeles-based combo is a kind of little brother to Osees of John Dwyer : he triggers a series of songs as fast as they are violent and exciting, and focuses his live battle plan on vocals that shout like a relentless sub-product and completely crazy guitars. It’s clearly entertaining and very suitable for getting a whole crowd going for pogos and other slams. So that’s what’s happening!
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Just out of an epic American tour of more than 30 dates with Mercury Revthe main name of the day and the festival, Brian Jonestown Massacre approaching the reverberation stage … In a playful mood, Anton Newcombe arrives by filming the public (video available on his twitter account) before embarking on his combo in one of his best sets since the start of BJM in France at the Trans Musicales in 2005. The formation of 7 musicians is controlled of the many dates in the United States, Newcombe is still just as productive (“Fire does not grow on trees”, the 19th studio album recorded in Berlin in 2020 and 2021, arrives on June 24 and is followed by another disc in October), the audience at Levitation France is warm and welcoming: all the lights are green, so the start is to do it in due form . And it will happen with a concert that consists predominantly of new titles, a rare thing for a combo that started in the 90s!
To top it all off, Joel Gion, who seems well placed, connects the poses with his indescribable trut mouth while responding with a smile to those who shout his name. And when he accidentally releases his magical tambourine, the audience immediately gives it back, under the mocking gaze of his comrade Anton. Which in turn concentrates on his lyrics (recorded on a desk, many titles are fresh) and on his scratching, always enchanting. Performed numbers sound like pure BJM, 100% psychedelic and with masterful intervention from the leader of the troupe on the twelve-string Vox guitar, which sounds divine. Unpublished (“The real” …) or cult (“Anemone”) the effect is the same: moments in weightlessness, in the middle of an audience at full speed and in a state of levitation (that was the goal of this weekend, right?) .
At 1:15 p.m., everyone remains glued to the Brian Jonestown massacre, which knows how to admirably distill atmospheres that are haunting, airy or threatening. And when the allotted time is over, we tell ourselves that we’ve got another good piece of psyche rock: the show was short but ultra intense. But oh miracle, Anton insists on leaving one last track, the ingenious and still unreleased “Abandon ship”, and swings all guitars out with Anton’s roadie beyond the six strings, making 8 musicians on stage, of which no less than five scratches (with, among other things, the unbreakable and still huge Ricky Maymi and the Mellotron assistant, who changed instrument). The number begins with an evil riff with strong distortion and quickly turns into a satanic ride that blows the skulls of all fans. Newcombe goes after his guitar and comes out with extraterrestrial sounds, that’s total happiness!
Needless to say, we already have our account, but as inform direct attack on the second scene, we do not spit on the series of postpunk slaps inflicted on this gang of sonic barbarians from England. The four guys are so angry and in place that they would almost pass Shame for kids in shorts!
The mixture, which is made live, is violent and sharp, so it drives everyone crazy. The public, of course, but not only … The leader of the group bdrmm, who played earlier in the day, comes twice to hug his friend guitarist and forgets that he plays in front of people. He is therefore expelled from the place, openly intoxicated. So let’s sum it up: Lumer is a scenic war machine that kills boredom and apathy. The show ends in an indescribable mess with one last slap from the singer surfing on a melted pit. We will be seeing this combo again with joy in Binic in July!
An agreement has been made for the 2023 edition of Levitation France, which is totally inevitable given the 3 days we have just experienced!
Pictures: Sam Mauger and Mickael Liblin
Links: levitation-france.com, www.facebook.com/levitationfrance, twitter.com/levitationeninstagram.com/levitationfrance
Videos: Sandra Gaillardon (except Frankie and The Witch Fingers # 2: indiegilles)