Live: Lollapalooza Paris

Chicago has brought a lot to the world: Earth Wind and Fire, deep-dish pizza, that big arty bean thing… it’s also behind the glorious, international, magical brain-child that is Lollapalooza. The festival branched out to Paris in 2017, and for that we are eternally grateful. And so, voilà: class report 2019.

L.E.J.: A
Most likely to…take over the AUX cord.
This is a power trio if I ever saw one. Three girls throwing in the cello to hip-hop beats and harmonised French rap? Oui fucking merci. Not even a heavy downpour could stop them hopping on the bouncers’ shoulders and bringing the mashup party right into the crowd. Living legends. 

Tash Sultana: A+
Most likely to…set off the fire alarm.
Fire in the house: let the record state that the smoke is coming from Tash Sultana’s shit hot guitar which has set the entire stage alight. We’d all go up in flames with her, too entranced in the extended tracks and loop pedals to give a toss. Some might say she goes on for too long. Some people are idiots.

Jain: B+
Most likely to…survive a zombie apocalypse.
Not only would she survive one, she’d probably start it to begin with. Equipped with only an electric blue jumpsuit and a series of dance tunes that could wake the dead, Jain had us in the palm of her hand (even if the majority was just patiently waiting for ‘Makeba’). A big stage for just one person, she held it wonderfully.

Kodaline: D
Most likely to…peak in high school.
In a Perfect World, this set would have felt less like a dress rehearsal and more like they seemed even a little thrilled to be playing Lolla Paris. Alas, not even ‘Love Like This’ could get them up and going. The frontman actually sat down for the collab they did with Kygo… really? DO something, mate. Dull and disappointing.  

Shame: B
Most likely to…disrupt the class in rebellion.
Engaged and engaging, Shame proves British punk is far from dead. It’s physically impossible to ignore them with their crowd surfing and frantic bass player, but behind the madness, these guys are clearly in control. Number one on the agenda is changing the uniform strictly to Doc Martens, cargo pants and no shirt: vote for Shame.

The 1975: A
Most likely to…serenade you at sunset.
Whatever you think of these guys, they know how to put on a show. In a set largely promoting their latest album, The 1975 were still mindful to serve up a few old hits before that iconic rectangle, and generously accompanied it all with projection works that truly reflected the thought-process behind the whole thing. Though up-tempo for the most part, the band slowed down for a gorgeous rendition of ‘Paris’ as the sky turned a soft yellow-pink, keeping us swaying in the moment as we fought back the urge to film every damn second of it. It was, frankly, marvellous.

Skip The Use: B
Most likely to…spike the punch.
Never in my life have I seen a frontman jump with such ferocity. A well-known name in the French rock circle, Skip The Use have returned to the scene after a considerable hiatus, and boy did they come to deliver. Big energy, big noise, really big jumps: a solid performance indeed. 

Caravan Palace: A-
Most likely to…win you back.
Slightly behind schedule due to technical troubles, but the group made up for it in an electro-swing style that blew the crowd away. I don’t think any of us quite expected it, to be honest. Their energy was formidable despite the soaring heat, with two members even bursting into a Charleston halfway through the set. Tardiness most certainly forgiven: we could have danced all night.

Kovacs: B+
Most likely to…prove you wrong.
As the opening act on the last day, you might presume Kovacs was a slot-filler worth missing; you would be sorely mistaken. Charming and unique, with a new spin on 1930s soul and a set of pipes that could blow the roof, the Dutch singer-songwriter quickly attracted the attention of anyone passing by. Above anything else, she was clearly having a blast, which is exactly what we like to see.

The Strokes: A
Most likely to…close a show they weren’t closing.
What more could we possibly have to say on The Strokes? Well, this one was particularly special. It being their first appearance in France in almost a decade meant the crowd was enormous, but the weight of anticipation showed no effect on this epic performance that none of us will forget in a hurry. Casablancas was ice-cool without a hint of arrogance, and the music was – needless to say – entirely fantastic. They weren’t the last act, but (as illustrated by the immediate swarms of people leaving) they might as well have been. How the hell do you follow The Strokes?

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