Rock en Seine 2009 Festival Review

The Rock en Seine festival takes place in Saint-Clouds park just outside of Paris and has seen the likes of Kasabian, Babyshambles, Queens of the Stoneage, Dirty Pretty Things, Bjork & 2Many Dj's.

Kat Warburton

Date published: 7th Sep 2009

The Rock en Seine festival takes place in Saint-Clouds park just outside of Paris and has seen the likes of Kasabian, Babyshambles, Queens of the Stoneage, Dirty Pretty Things, Bjork, Rage Against the Machines, Justice, 2 Many DJ's, Kaiser Chiefs, R.E.M, Lost Prophets (honestly I could go on forever) grace their stages. Now in its 7th year the line-up didn't fail to impress.

I don't want to give too much away early on in my review but seriously, this festival was something else. The Parisians know how to put on a festival, and the clientele were effortlessly cool. The sun beamed down for the full 3 days and the organisation of the festival was second to none.
First day begins and naturally I'm excited to find out what the Rock en Seine entails. I didn't know much about this festival before-hand as there is little promotion in England so I did a touch of research and read some previous reviews and it sounded great, looked amazing, and the line-up consisted of the likes of Oasis, Faith No More, Prodigy, Macy Gray, Noisettes, Calvin Harris, Keane, The Offspring and so many more great acts so as you can imagine I was a little excited.
After a swift 1 hour flight and a delayed 5 hours journey to my hotel we prepped up, freshened up and off we went to the festival just a couple of tram stops away. Our passes were collected and we were ushered into the press area where excitedly we passed the Oasis tour bus. Oh my...this is going to be amazing!

We stayed and looked around whilst supping on some very strong Heineken lager (which by the way you pay for the cup to encourage you to return it for the money to stop litter! Great idea) and luckily we were able to attend the press conference for Passion Pit, a relatively new band from America. We asked some questions and listened to the answers from other journalist (See the Passion Pit Interview in the music news section) and off we went to check out Asher Roth on the main stage. The American rapper wowed the crowd with his energetic performance, even picking some very lucky and rather attractive girls to join him on stage for his penultimate song and singing to them 'She don't wanna man, she just wants to dance'. The girls lapped up the attention until the song finished and he said, 'Now get the fuck off the stage'. Ha.
As we scurried over to the Cascada stage we managed to watch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As usual lead singer Karen O put on a great show, keeping up the energy from start to end. Passion Pit next and considering they have only been a group for a little over a year they played great and the leads singers voice is amazing.
Cascada stage next and Bloc party were on. Kelly's voice was pitch perfect and was almost like listening to the CD. He kept chatting to the jam packed crowd throughout. Just before the end of his set he declared that he had just heard Oasis had cancelled much to the delight of himself as he said by default that made him a headliner - a huge cheer erupted in the crowd. Not settled on giving us the news he then went on to say that Oasis are two inbred brothers much to the crowds delight. I for one was devastated, after seeing their tour bus earlier and spending the evening boasting by text to jealous friends back home. I guess they had the last laugh. Kelly had to remain on stage for a further 40minutes longer than he had expected so they jammed together which went down a storm.
The festival finished and still eager to dance the night away we went to visit the popular venue Paris Social Club just near Montmartre which has seen some of the biggest DJ's in the world play there. A small and intimate venue it didn't take long for it to pack out. A cool and friendly crowd enjoyed the music from Boy 8 Bit and some other great DJ's who played some top tunes. The drinks were over-priced but I guess we are in the centre of Paris. I would definitely recommend people to go visit Paris Social Club, with the likes of Digitalism, Mr Scruff and Major Lazer playing in the next couple of weeks.
First up on day two were indie/rock band the Noisettes who played on the main stage and were one of my favourite performances of the entire festival. The lead singer Shingai Shoniwa must have been feeling quite mischievous, choosing to climb all over the main stage and surrounding fixtures, including climbing up the rig and dangling down by her legs to sing a ballad. The crowd absolutley loved her, especially when she screamed 'Paris, I fucking love you'!
After seeing Jil is Lucky merchandise everywhere we decided to go and check them out on the industrial stage and we were pleasantly surprised. They were mainly Indie with a folk twist and were a welcomed set in the glorious Paris sunshine. A hop skip and jump away we were watching Glasgow band Dananananaykroyd (I'm serious) who were so refreshing to watch. They were bouncing all over the stage and looked amateur but sounded great. It's good to see a band enjoying themselves so much. The crowd went wild for them.
I managed to have a quick chat with Calvin Harris in the conference room and he came out with some quite surprising stories, from his days living in London, to the hand made creation of some sunglasses similar to the ones on the album made from cereal boxes and some other types of material, to how he met Dizzie at Radio Ones' Big Weekender in Preston where they decided to join forces for their chart hit 'Dance With Me'. He also stated that his perfect weekend was to stay in bed and that his big hit 'I Get All the Girls' is entirely fictional! It was also nice to hear how serious he takes his music, opting to not drink and to instead spend all his time in the studio.
The Offspring came next on the main stage and I was blown away. We were quite far back from the stage but that didn't matter. They were amazing, and everybody was dancing, singing and crowd surfing. 5 stars!
Faith No More graced us with their presence and they were my ultimate favourite band that I saw the entire weekend and I recommend anyone to go watch them if they ever tour again. They looked slick in their peach and violet suits, with ultra gelled hair, entering the stage singing Reunited. Sold, I was hooked and couldn't get enough of them. Their set was so varied and there was stuff in there for everyone. They even decided to sing the theme tune to Eastenders, a lot of bewildered faces - I bet it was very easy to see where the English were. Their cover of the Commodore's Easy was amazing, lighters in the air, the lead singers voice was amazing and I must admit he has so much on stage charisma, and he's very good looking. I want to see them again!
Wow, the end of day two and I'm having the best time. The line-up on the Sunday was just as good, if not better. Roll on the next day..
Sunday arrives and off we go to check our superstar Macy Gray on the main stage. What a great performance, her voice is effortlessly amazing, and her support singers were really good too. She sang her classics and also did a few covers too including 'Its Like That' by Run DMC, 'No Woman No Cry', 'Groove Is In The Heart' and 'If You Think I'm Sexy' by Rod Stewart.
After stealing Eagles of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes for a quick picture earlier in the day we decided to go check them out on the main stage. Nothing really stood out for me during this set so we headed off to try some of the delightful food on offer from the plentiful of food outlets.
Next up was a surprise act which rumour had it was going to be Them Crooked Vultures. After thinking they were going to be playing, then thinking they weren't, then thinking they were, we scurried over to the Cascada stage not knowing who we were going to be seeing. They arrived on stage and as we were quite far back it was difficult to tell. They started playing and it was clearly evident that it was the drums from Nirvana, (screaming at this point now) then the sound of Led Zep and the voice and guitars of Queens Of The Stoneage. Most of the crowd stood in silence taking it all in but giving the super band a massive cheer after each song. You can tell that this band is gonna be huge in the rock world.
We caught some of MGMT, not having seeing the band live before I didn't know what to expect. They didn't disappoint, instead sounding better live than they do on the album.
Back and forth we go we headed back to the Cascada stage, right to the front to catch Klaxons. I was expecting to come out of their with a few broken toes (I was wearing flip flops), maybe beer from head to toe, and if it was anything like England, possibly with some added urine for good measure. What a polite mosh pit it was. Not one toe was stood on and everybody was bounding about enjoying the high energy performance. From all our stomping we were bringing up all the dust from the floor and after a while it was getting hard to breathe, and a nice coating of dust was lining my lungs. We remained in the dusty spot enjoying some of their big hits including 'Atlantis to Interzone' and 'Golden Skans' and some new tracks too.
Finally, the piste de resistance. Prodigy were closing the festival on the main stage. I've never seen them before so was excited for the set to start. After necking a rather strong pint of Heineken it was time to rave to 'Poison', 'Smack my Bitch up' and 'Omen'. Everybody was falling all over each other, banging into each other, elbow in the head, a very kind guy gave us a bottle of beer each in the crowd and I loved it. What an end to the festival. I was exhausted.
I think its clear to say the Rock en Seine festival is something else. The line-ups are amazing, the people are friendly and effortlessly cool and there's no bad attitudes. There is such a good vibe from this Paris festival and I had one of the best times ever. A much recommended festival for 2010. Oh, and everybody is getting 15 off their next years ticket thanks to the cancellation of Oasis..not many other festivals would do that now would they!

Kat Warburton