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Rock In Opposition 2017 Review

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Nogbad_The_Bad View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 19 2017 at 20:50
Rock In Opposition Review

Some thoughts ...

This was my 7th RIO festival and the 10th overall, the line-up had a distinctly familiar feel as Michel had booked many bands who had played before with a few added new attractions. It was also announced that Michel has retired from his job in the Culture department that helps to arrange the festival, so there was a bit of an uncertain feel as to whether this may be the last one. 

This was my daughter Alex's first RIO having previously attended 3 ProgDay's and one NearFest. As usual we were regularly asked whether she was there of her own choice. She's actually been begging me for years to take her. We flew in Thursday morning and drove up to Monsempron-Libos where my friends live. They'd organized to have a few friends over so we had a very nice dinner with red wine and whiskey. The following morning we went out for a light lunch before driving to Carmaux. We were lucky to have a room at the Auberge as storm damage had closed the second floor. It looked like only one other guest was there as the rest were taken by bands, organizers and the like.

Friday - First up were Aranis who had a new violinist due to Liesbeth's maternity break and no Stijn on guitar. The set mainly focused on the recent Smells Like Aranis album featuring reworks of Nirvana songs. There was also tracks from Made In Belgium 2. They were their usual entertaining selves though I preferred the Joris composed material over the Cobain. Second up were Cheer-Accident, they played a set made up of material from the recent Putting Off Death and No Ifs Ands Or Dogs. They had a new keyboardist since the last time I saw them who is apparently good at yoga, she did a 3 minute headstand at the start of the gig with the rest of the band off stage to the bafflement of many in the audience & then did yoga exercises during the first track. Another addition was Ross Feller on saxophone. There was a number of experimental pieces including extended standing silently and a trumpet squark piece. The actual music was wonderful and it was a very strong performance, one of my favorites of the festival. Third up was Faust at midnight. They played a grooving driving set with lots of strong tracks. Lots of squealing guitar and spacey keys. There were also a number experimental pieces such as Zappi playing to a drawn track appearing on the back screen while Jean-Hervé Peron tried to unsuccessfully get the audience to sing along and the keyboard player painted a sign. I personally didn't think those bits worked as well as Cheer-Accidents but that might of just me being too tired with the band coming on at midnight. We left after 90 minutes to get some sleep.

Saturday - First up were Le Silo playing in the small room, they'd got to the festival early and done some educational work with local students. Their set was high energy fusion and lots of fun with lots of chat between tracks. For the finale they brought out some of the local students to play with them. Very good start to the day. Second up were Miriodor, they played a lot of the recent Signal 9 & Cobra Fakir, a good mix of complex but melodic and the heavier tracks, the set got heavier towards the end with the crowd really getting into it, excellent stuff, as good as any performance I've seen from them. Third was the enigmatic Trans-Aeolian Transmission, they were playing along a documentary they made about the Chinese province of Xinjiang, they had taken a lot of regional music and adapted it to make a soundtrack. The two performers played standing next to the screen in total darkness so I have no idea if they played at all or what instruments were used. They also weren't helped by being set up in front of the stage in the small room which dramatically reduced the number of people who could get in. Personally I didn't find it very interesting so left after 20 minutes. Next were the revitalized Gong, they are now fronted by Kavus Torabi of Cardiacs, Knifeworld & Guapo following Daevid leaving this plane of existence. I was a little worried that they wouldn't sound like Gong but given the blessing of Daevid and the positive reviews from other gigs I was cautiously optimistic. In truth there was a bit of a Knifeworld vibe on the new material but the older PHP era songs were performed wonderfully. The light show and back projection really captured the Gong style and were by far the best of the weekend. I really enjoyed the set and would enthusiastically recommend any Gong fans to go and see them. Top stuff. Last up , coming on at midnight, were Acid Mothers Temple, they played Spacey krautrock that grooved and grooved, it was extremely loud and most tracks seemed to be extended a lot. I had trouble telling the tracks apart as the rhythm section seemed to play very similar grooves with screaming guitars added on top. I lasted 50 minutes before exhaustion took over and I decided to go to bed before I fell asleep in my seat. 

Sunday - First up were a.P.A.t.T. an experimental band from Liverpool featuring a rotating cast of characters, they had 7 people on stage playing guitars, keys, tuba, trumpet, clarinet, xylophone & drums. Everyone played multiple instruments and they swapped between tracks. They played a selection of wonky pop/cabaret/rock tracks that reminded me most of Chrome Hoof and Mirthkon. Loads of fun and very entertaining, one of my favorite bands of the weekend. Second were In Love With, a minimalist brutal jazz trio featuring violin, cello & drums, extremely tight, high energy bonkers jazz. Wonderful stuff, I really enjoyed their set and was pretty breathless afterwards. Next was Guapo, they were they usual ambient metal groovy extremely loud selves, the sound was significantly better than the last time they played RIO when they blew the speakers. One hour long track and one 20 minute track completed their set. I love these guys so it was great to my tastes. Lastly was the big draw for a lot of the crowd, Slapp Happy playing with Faust (Jean & Zappi), they seemed a bit under rehearsed with Peter Blegvad having to remind himself the tempo of each track, not sure if that was just his style. The track were mainly 60's style pop songs with Dagmar's distinct vocals taking them to a higher level, there was a much more easy relaxed atmosphere for the set than any other band. Very enjoyable. 

Overall - The weather wasn't great with it pretty cool and a fair amount of rain they that didn't seem to dampen spirits. The food was again the Atomic Omelette with a selection of Toulouse sausage or duck sandwiches, fish & chips, omelettes and crepes, very good. Beer and wine was plentiful. Crowds looked as if they were down in the halls between sets but pretty full in the actual concerts. Particularly full for Gong & Acid Mothers Temple having separate tickets with lots of younger people coming in and dancing at the front (or on stage in the case of one Gong fan). Most of the usual RIO family members were there with lots of time between gigs spent chatting to friends. Biggest miss was probably Piniol not being invited despite playing Freakshow next week. Would have loved to have seen them. Alex seemed to have a great time and everyone was very welcoming. A very good festival.
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote siLLy puPPy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 19 2017 at 21:12
That sounds utterly divine! Me wanna go~
Probably costs a fortune to make it happen i would bet
As for the new Gong. It's on my review list
I don't like it nearly as much as the last of Daevid's divine spirit
Some of those bands i've not yet heard
Must change that
THANKS for the report!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2017 at 14:30
No time for me to read it right now, but thanks for the detail report. I always get slightly wistful when this comes around and I';m still here in Neurotica. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flight123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 26 2017 at 11:53
Thanks for the report!  'When a man is tired of Faust, he is tired of life'

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 26 2017 at 12:51
Originally posted by Flight123 Flight123 wrote:

Thanks for the report!  'When a man is tired of Faust, he is tired of life'


LOL
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 27 2017 at 10:46
Great review! Definitely makes me jealous, especially for Faust, Guapo, and Miriodor. 

Shame if this is indeed the final RIOfest. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 08 2017 at 03:27
I would have loved to see a.P.A.t.T, even just to ask them what the hell this acrostic means. 
A very good band with a lot of good material on bandcamp. Their Nosferatu suite is excellent.
Curiosity killed a cat, Schroedinger only half.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 08 2017 at 03:35
That was a great read, thanks Ian. Been meaning to participate now for a couple of years but the timing seems wrong every year. I hope this wasn't my final chance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 08 2017 at 07:27
Apparently "A positive approach to totality" was written on there first recordings but it is now anything a fan wants it to mean.
Ian



Anyone who thinks Kansas is Prog get out of the room - Adolf Hitler



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