Saturday May 18th, rainy day in Paris, but we’re headed to Issy-Les-Moulineaux (nearby Paris) for the Icarus Festival : tonight’s particularity is that the line up is 100% French. We’d already seen some of the bands and knew the others only by name and reputation, so this was a great occasion to shape our own opinion about them. Unfortunately, we run late and missed the first two bands, apologize to them (Fight From Silence and Our Theory, check them out, they sound pretty good).
Anyway, we got into the sold-out venue (pretty nice one by the way, called ‘Espace Icare’), mid-set for This Deafening Whisper (hardcore/metal from Paris), who unfortunately had to struggle with some microphone issues, which was a shame because I was looking forward to seeing them live, having heard only good critics about them. Also, the music sounded excellent, with some hard-hitting riffs and flowing melodies, suggesting a whole interesting universe. However, this hasn’t destabilized the band who dealt with it like pros, especially lead singer Alban and even in the end, that mic seemed to cooperate a little bit more, as we could actually hear the voice. Even though it was only for the last song (or so?), I can say that This Deafening Whisper are definitely a safe bet of french metal/hardcore scene and I’m sure they will go far.
Next up are the young Merge, a post-hardcore band that I’ve been keeping an eye on for quite a long time now, because they’re pretty convincing on the paper. I wasn’t discovering them live since I’d already done before, however, I was curious about seeing them again in a different context and the least I can say is that they tore it up! Very clean and well-shaped set, with a stellar instrumental performance. Not only the sound was great, but the ability to hear and feel all of the instruments involved was a pure delight, not to mention the intense vocal performance, which was once again impressive. I thought I knew what to expect but Merge‘s performance was way above the said expectations. The band played most of the songs of their E.P “Trasmission”, but special mention to the song Ecclesiast, it has given me the chills, until the very last note. This was hands down my favorite performance of the evening!
Next up, As They Burn don’t need an introduction anymore. Newly signed with Victory Records (Comeback Kid, A Day To Remember, Between The Buried And Me…), the Nu-metal outfit hit the stage with full force with the opening track Medicine 2.0 of their brand new release. The tone is set, no more kidding, you’re here to sweat. The performance is outstanding, it’s like As They Burn had entered the place as conquerors, taking total control of the whole place. Indeed, the guys are all muscles, with an impressive stage presence, crazy shit. They alternate with verve newly released songs, with older ones that many of the people in the audience seem to be familiar with. This is very powerful metal music. Aggressive enough to wake up all those who were still wondering what was going on there and to take it to the next level for the others. The response is quite nice to witness as well. Huge moshpits, circle pits, jumping crowd, sing-alongs, that’s an A+ for As They Burn, hats off!
After such a sick parade of openers, tonight’s crowd is ready to welcome the headliners in Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
This is their first show back home in two years, even the first in the motherland. In fact, they didn’t get to play much in their own country, especially since they’ve been on a deal with Fearless Records (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong). And it looks like everyone missed them heaps here, as the response to their entrance on stage is one of the most lively I’ve witnessed in a while. People litterally going crazy and screaming as if gladiators were fighting in an arena. The band opens the party with the famous single Captain Blood and they look happy, judging by the smiles on their face. Furthermore, they give the best they have with a lot of energy, which is pleasure to see, knowing they’ve been touring almost full time for months before that. The set consists in a nearly perfect match between songs from “Something For Nothing” and newest ones from the recently released “Pardon My French” and everyone seems to appreciate it. From Born To Adversity to Restart, there’s not a minute in which people cooled down or stopped singing (and screaming). C!N,CC! even played their cover song for Kesha’s hit We R Who We R (featured on “Punk Goes Pop 4“), which made up a high point to the party. Indeed, watching everyone dancing and having fun, regardless of their age or style was very enjoyable to see and got along well with the upbeat melodies the band is known for. The show wraps up with the much awaited In Friends We Trust, during which the stage got invaded by, let’s say 1/3 of the audience singing, dancing, jumping, headbanging and even crowdsurfing.
Welcome back home, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
It’s a shame this band doesn’t get to play more in France and it seems like gig promoters give the cold shoulder to the genre there; lead singer Bert openly highlighted this point between two songs. But with that said, let’s finish on a positive note, saying that Icarus Festival was a massive success, especially when we know it was its first edition. Looking forward to the next one already, bravo!
Le mot de SweetnSour (writer, FR) (en français, s’il-vous-plait!) :
Nous ne savions pas vraiment à quoi nous attendre avec cette première édition de l’Icarus Festival. D’abord, la salle en elle-même est vraiment sympa. Il fait chaud, mais c’est clean et bien organisé, nous sentons tout de suite cette ambiance familiale. C’est donc de bonne humeur qu’on entame cette soirée en compagnie de ces très bons groupes français. La France n’est pas le pays idéal pour les groupes de ce genre, comme l’a souligné Bert, le chanteur de Chunk…, les concerts ce font de plus en plus rares, les conditions ne sont pas toujours optimales, le genre n’attire toujours pas les foules. Mais ce soir ça affiche complet et tout le monde est sur-motivé. Les problèmes de micro n’ont pas eu d’impact sur l’ambiance général. On peut enfin voir This Deafening Whisper, Merge et As They Burn dans de bonnes conditions, traités comme des groupes internationaux. Et puis le grand retour de Chunk, No Captain Chunk! à Paris, après 2 ans d’absence se fait en grande pompe. Si Issy-C’est-Paris, c’est aussi la famille, il faut bien l’avouer, toute la salle se retrouve avec des sourires jusqu’aux oreilles. Nous retrouvons enfin le groupe du genre qui nous rend le plus fier. Le message est clair “Foutez le bordel! Retournez toute la salle!” et nous nous sommes exécutés. Nous souhaiterions seulement que tous les concerts parisiens aient cette même ambiance qui parfois semble nous avoir été enlevée, que l’enthousiasme revienne et que la France accueille de nouveau les groupes comme il se doit.