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Soleil Zeuhl Festival, Paris Sept 18th

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Sean Trane View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sean Trane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Soleil Zeuhl Festival, Paris Sept 18th
    Posted: September 24 2013 at 10:32

 

Hi Dudes,

 

The first dedicated Zeuhl festival occurred in Paris on Wednesday Sept 18th at Le Zebre hall, (a sort of Art Deco cabaret) about one mile westbound from the Père Lachaise cemetery. This was organized by the Soleil Zeuhl label boss Alain Lebon, and in some ways, the date was chosen to attract the very international crowd (coming from 13 countries) that was heading to this year’s 7th Rio Festival in Carmaux the following week-end. Indeed, among the illustrious crowd were the giant (by talent at least) Udi Koomran, the label owner Steve Feigelbaum, the local writer Stéphane and Sylvie (from the Traverses magazine) and the well-known Aymerix Leroy (from the Calyx site and numerous books). Among the usual faces, were Ian NogBad, Lutz (the famous German photographer) and yours truly, but sadly our buddy Martin/Alucard could not make it. I’d say the balance was 50/50 between foreigners and locals.

The venue is a small club (around 110 seats, including a balcony) that seems to have a very eclectic programming, including jazz, circus acts and most likely Go Go Dancer (we are in Paris after all). The place comes with an excellent ventilation (I was rather worried the place would be a sauna after the first band) and an excellent sound-proofing. Although warned to be on time because of an extremely tight schedule (because the hall had to be emptied at 23h00 hours, bands included),  the doors opened a half-hour late (under intermittent rain showers), and the check-in was slow, since there were no printed tickets, just a list of names at the “gates”. Each band was allowed a 50-minutes set with no encore, and a short interruption with a minimal sound check for each band. This worked so well that the evening ended right on time, the last could’ve easily played an extra 10-minutes without creating a schedule problem.

The first band of the evening, Unit Wail, gave us a typical dark prog (somewhat similar to the now-defunct NeBeLNeST) with much Zeuhl into it.  The quintet chose to have the drums up front, but sideways (so the crowd could see clearly the skin-banging) on the left side of the stage. It was a choice that three of the four bands scheduled that night would also adopt. Oddly enough the keyboard player chose to set his wares on the floor and play on his knees. I felt sorry for his back. The band featured mostly stuff from their brand-new second album Retort, which was on sale in the hall. (6/10)

Up next was probably the most-awaited band of the evening, the extremely melodic Setna, which for the occasion had invited two members from Neom (singer-guitarist Yannick Duchene and Fender Rhodes player Caroline Suavage), but in the course of their set, a few more guest appeared, including a lap-steel player and two percussionists. At one point, they were eight on stageHug, but were the only band to have the drums at the back, but still on the left side, of the stage. They played all the material from their second album Guérison (out earlier in the year), which did feature Duchene. A very solid and almost-spiritual performanceClap, with some incredibly delicate moments, especially the instrumental and percussion passage.

 Setna’s concert was clearly (IMHO) the highlight of the evening, which meant the event peaked a little too soon, but the trick was that singer Duchene wanted to have a rest between Setna and Neom’s sets, which given his superb but straining vocal performances, was totally understandable. Asked in what language he sang, he told me that it was some borrowings from several languages, but not in the Esperanto style. (9.5/10 >> probably in the top three concerts I've seen in 2013, so far)

 

Sooooo, Scherzoo had the difficult task to follow-up such a fantastic set. And they managed quite well with their energetic Zeuhl that ventures on the harder edges of the style, at times almost going metal. Lead by the ambitious François Thollot (who made a couple of solo albums prior to forming this band), the band ripped through their set that also featured stuff from their up-coming album, which if memory serves is being recorded now. My only small gripe is that their KB player doesn’t have a Fender Rhodes and it sounded like it. But does Zeuhl necessitate the compulsory Rhodes? Space for debateErmm. At the end of their set, I must admit that I was saturating from the bombardment of the same style of music, despite the fairly broad range of sonic palette developed by the three bands. (7/10)

The closing act was Neom, which played a very varied set, from 100 MPH Zeuhl (eardrum-splittingly loud) to extremely quiet (quasi--esoteric) moments. Oddly enough, I preferred Carole Sauvage’s Rhodes playing in Setna then in her own group, but that all forgotten with their incredible set-closer, which made me forget that I had earlier overdosed from shooting Zeuhl intravenouslyLOL. To my knowledge, they were the only band not to feature new or recent music, since their only album dates from ’09. Aymeric tells me that they did play some yet nreleased/still-in-progress suite that isn't on their album (8.5/10) 

In conclusion, Alain’s first festival (and hopefully not last) was quite successful, and the hall was nearly packed (100 tickets sold). It’s too bad that the previously-scheduled overtime session at a restaurant across the street did not include most people I had wished to see (some were there but not most) and discuss the evening’s musical events. Of course, for the foreign part of the crowd, the next day was holiday, but for the locals, tomorrow was just another working day, so they had to leave. BTW, I didn’t buy any CDs (I already had what I needed), but I did buy the brand-new Eskation 4 Visions vinyl reissue (first time in that format) with a cosmic blue-see-trough-vinyl disc.  

Edited by Sean Trane - September 27 2013 at 03:11
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Man With Hat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2013 at 17:10


Good review.

Makes me wish I was there all the more.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 24 2013 at 17:47
Nice review
Ian

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 25 2013 at 00:01
Originally posted by Man With Hat



Good review.

Makes me wish I was there all the more.


I am saving my money for next year already
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sean Trane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 25 2013 at 03:37
Originally posted by Nogbad_The_Bad

Nice review
 
I wish I could've added a few piccies.... But outside Lutz and the odd tablet, I didn't see many cameras...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CPicard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 25 2013 at 12:25
Originally posted by Sean Trane

Originally posted by Nogbad_The_Bad

Nice review
 
I wish I could've added a few piccies.... But outside Lutz and the odd tablet, I didn't see many cameras...


Don't worry: the people from the Traverses fanzine shot a lot of pictures:
http://www.rythmes-croises.org/traversesmag/articles.category.11/concerts-2013.html

You will find one file for each band in the links.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mellotron Storm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 25 2013 at 20:45
Great review Hugues, sounded like an awesome evening of music. Would have loved to have been there.Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sean Trane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 26 2013 at 03:22
Originally posted by CPicard

Originally posted by Sean Trane

Originally posted by Nogbad_The_Bad

Nice review
 
I wish I could've added a few piccies.... But outside Lutz and the odd tablet, I didn't see many cameras...


Don't worry: the people from the Traverses fanzine shot a lot of pictures:
http://www.rythmes-croises.org/traversesmag/articles.category.11/concerts-2013.html

You will find one file for each band in the links.
 
yeah, they had a pretty good view from the balconny... and apprently, the sound was even better up there.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Adrian L. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 26 2013 at 04:16
Glad you liked it and nice review!
Philippe (our drummer) couldn't make it to the restaurant because he had conservatory classes in the morning. Franck lives in Aurillac (Not far from the RIO place), so he had to drive all the way there.
As for myself, I had a rehearsal with another band, so I just left.
Vincent told the dinner was great though!
[Unit Wail - bass player]
-Unit Wail
-Soleil Zeuhl
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Post Options Post Options   Quote calyx_AL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 26 2013 at 11:41
Two comments on Hugues' review :

1) François Thollot is absolutely UNRELATED to Jacques Thollot.

2) Unit Wail's keyboard player/composer didn't exactly "play" sitting on the floor, from what I could see he mostly triggered pre-recorded keyboard parts - I never once saw him actually PLAY his keyboard, although he may have when I wasn't looking, but in any case it wouldn't have been often. Also, there was a *second* "keyboard player", with a MicroKorg type synth, but as far as I could tell, he only used it to generate synth noises/bubbles, not actual melodies or chords.

3) Néom opened with an unrecorded 20-minute suite (still unfinished) which I'd already heard them perform a couple of years ago, and I'm pretty sure the rest of their set also included new music, although some of it was from the (also unfinished, so t.b.c.) suite that makes up their 1st CD.


Edited by calyx_AL - September 26 2013 at 11:44
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sean Trane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 27 2013 at 03:06
Thanks Aymeric... I'll correct ASAP for Thollot and Neom
 
I'll let it slide for UW's kb, because it's not free publicity , knowing that progheads are generally hostile towardst pre-recorded music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote hellogoodbye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 27 2013 at 18:23
I was in Paris and I didn't know  Cry  But thank you for the literary photography Clap
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