It’s always pleasant to see that alternative rock music is being slowly but surely making its way towards general acceptance especially in countries like France, where it’s not always easy for artists, just as for other industry professionals, to make a living out of this music. But would it be the case if these people didn’t work harder than you could think and make real sacrifices throughout the process? Not so sure… This is why events such as Longlive Rockfest, which was held in Lyon last month need to be acknowledged for their considerable scale and success, because as amazing as it looks, it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The weather isn’t that bad and it’s a bank holiday. We’re getting there, in a huge venue, split in two stages and an open air sort of market, where merch is set, people are hanging out and even organizations such as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are being represented. The atmosphere is friendly and people can hang out in between the set, meet their favorite artists and have a few beers.
By the time we got inside the (busy) venue, Promethee were about to play on the front stage and there are several people attending. This band from Switzerland can’t be overlooked in the metal scene, as they have quickly developed strong artistic and technical skills, making their performances always memorable. The crowd still seemed shy at this point, however, people turned up and seemed to appreciate what the band had to give. Promethee obviously know their craft and the relentless touring they do is visible, as they have shaped up a forthright performance. We only wish the conditions offered a better sound.
What was great about Longlive Rockfest is that it brought together several tours and extra bands who don’t belong necessarily to the same genre without making it too odd. The fest somehow looked like a mini Groezrock kind of event, which felt great.
Several bands distinguished themselves fairly well; Devil Sold His Soul, for instance, did a great impression and did gather a lot of people around their dramatically stunning performance. These britons don’t leave anyone unmoved and their shows are always overwhelming, but sometimes we kind of forget it, time passes by and then we see them again and get immediately reminded of how impressing this band is. Which is what happened in Lyon. Devil Sold His Soul have recently released ‘Belong =|= Betray’, and it confirms their position as one of the best UK metal bands at the moment.
Being As An Ocean also delivered a memorable performance. There’s something about this band in this city of Lyon that has always caught our attention and it was there, once again, putting hundreds of people in complete harmony with the stage performers. No barricades meant relentless stage dives, while vocalist Joel Quartuccio even climbed to the (high) balcony in order to jump in the crowd, who firmly caught him. So although Being As An Ocean are a band that we get to see a lot here, we will have to say that this one particular performance was memorable and full of love.
In a complete other register, Trash Talk gave a solid impression. Disordered, following up short, lively songs, the Americans clearly have no time to waste. They’re here to provide chaos, and they know how to do it. What’s more appreciable than a total immersion amogst the crowd? Frontman Lee Spielman knows where the heart of a show is and will spend most of his time inside the crowd, either moshing or “crowd-walking”.
Playing a muscular set with “aggressive”’ music doesn’t mean one can’t be kind and loving, in fact, a young kid made his way to the stage and ended up holding Garrett Stevenson’s guitar for a few minutes, while every other band member looked after him carefully. Proof that not only hardcore music is for everyone but it’s also holding an important message of love, positivity and caring.
Speaking of these community values, it’s now common knowledge that Stick To Your Guns are a lot into this and their whole purpose as a band probably resides here. They’re here, filling up a whole 1,500 capacity room and tearing it up. Presenting mostly their recent album ‘Disobedient’, Stick To Your Guns have this same energy and motivation everyone knows about them, their show fitting perfectly well with the bigger stages. We were having a great time and things got even cooler when Architects’ singer Sam Carter made an appearance during a classic and fan favorite, Against Them All, by the end of the set.
The community of artists in presence was quite enjoyable to witness, with many friends reunited all together for such an event. Deez Nuts were also here and are known to be longtime friends with the British in Architects. If they did open the mainstage on that day, several people showed up to see them, although staying relatively calm. However, The Australians did their job and shared some new tunes with us, from the surprising new album ‘Word Is Bond’. Deez Nuts therefore performed songs such as What’s Good, The Message and What You Gotta Do, the latter being particularly efficient live, especially with the lines “Everything you did you did for yourself and nobody else no matter the cost.” And here comes Band of Brothers, the infamous anthem for all the ‘mates’ out there. As the intro kicked in, we felt genuinely disappointed not seeing Sam Carter coming along to sing his lines in the song, but he then appeared before anyone could even complain. Fair enough!
Things overall went smoothly speaking of organizational aspects, however stage clashes ended up occurring. Rushing between the two rooms without any break, eventually made us purposely miss some bits of every set in order to go outside and breath fresh air (that was before it started raining, obviously.)
In between all of this, we managed to catch the return of local heroes The Slugz, a pop punk group, whose fun and entertaining stage presence will thrill the most nostalgic audience members. The Slugz hadn’t played a show for ages and Lyon knew how to welcome them back. We heard they are currently working on new material, so keep an eye on them!
Also French (and semi french) nationals The Algorithm, Betraying The Martyrs and later Not Scientists in different genres did make their fellows proud showing that even their country has abundant resources and great talent. Not Scientists especially caught our attention with their signature punk rock, and obvious experience, which can seem disconcerting for such a young act. Well, truth is, Not Scientists were born from the ashes of Uncommonmenfrommars and No Guts Not Glory, so yes, it’s kind of a super group, who has indeed firm experience under their belts. If you don’t know about them, we strongly recommend you to give Not Scientists a spin.
Of course what would have been Longlive Rockfest without Frank Iero performing? Slightly different from what we listened to all day, it was consequently refreshing to watch Frnk Iero & The Cellabration on the smaller stage for a few songs, just as it’s refreshing to see this artist in this new project. Facing a relatively calm, but passionate crowd, Iero performed songs from his solo debut ‘Stomachaches’, which tend to sound particularly creepy and set a whole creepily adorable Tim Burtonesque atmosphere, which was absolutely pleasing to us. Furthermore, the whole group of musicians truly played with their hearts and it made us smile. Put simply, Frank Iero and The Cellabration did a brilliant first impression on us, as a humble and simple band of talented artists. Unfortunately, the end of their set clashed with the begning of Architects’, causing several members of the crowd leaving the room. Overall, Frank Iero is starting over the best way possible and we can’t wait to see him again soon in our shores.
It’s now time for the awaited headliners Architects we would lie if we said it isn’t strange for us to see how big they are getting. Architects are currently enjoying a well-deserved, unprecedented success after the release of ‘Lost Forever//Lost Together’ last year. This resulted in a busy year for the band, taking them on massive tours pretty much everywhere in the world. In only one year, they have grown in a way we weren’t expecting at all, doubling the volumes of the venues they play in and even selling them out (remember that London show earlier this year). Lyon was no exception. Less than a year before, they were playing the very small and sweaty Marché Gare (was it even sold out?) and 13 months later they are facing close to 1,500 souls, who’d give up everything for them. The performance was top notch and fitting to its welcome. The band, on top form and seemingly enjoying themselves, played mostly songs from the latest record, from successful singles like Naysayer and Broken Cross to the likes of The Devil Is Near or the older Early Grave and Numbers Count For Nothing. Architects‘ stronger lyrical engagement is an occasion for them to speak about causes they do care about especially during shows and so, lead singer Sam Carter reminded us how we’re all responsible for our planet, while the latter is being destroyed, before introducing Colony Collapse. We could also enjoy an appearance from Murray MacLeod (from The Xcerts, who’s originally featured on the song) for Youth is Wasted on the Young, which was for us a highlight; his voice suiting well the atmosphere conveyed in this track. A little over an hour later, Gravedigger formed an occasion for the people to give their last bits of energy, and rounding off in style one (long) and beautiful day of music that we would love to enjoy more often here.
In sum, we’re having here the perfect conclusion to an excellent day. Proof that even France can be ambitious and motivated enough to build cool events! However, this was also the occasion for us to notice the constant lack of representation of women in this ‘music scene’. We are not going to do a feminist rant here, but it is clear that out of the 14 bands on the bill, there was 0 female artist/performer, which is sort of dreadful if you think about it. We ran into some of the rare (and most amazing) women who made a name for themselves out there; Cara Shaw, who was running Frank Iero’s merch and Lauren West (go follow Filmed By Lauren West!), who was working and filming for Being As An Ocean. It’s always delectable seeing such girls on the road, working and being respected just like anyone else there, but it would be even more awesome if there were more of them. The festival crew, however, counted many kick ass girls and they did amazing work, so mad props to them!
Longlive Rockfest, we’ll be firmly waiting for you next year!
FULL Photo album available here : Longlive Rockfest #1 – Photos