The Best French Techno Festival Is in Saint-Étienne
December 4, 2017 - tonton
A chronicle of this essay creatively seemed on Noisey France.
In new years, during a off-peak, illegitimate festival deteriorate of November, Saint-Étienne’s Positive Education has forged out a special niche for itself. Boasting an model and enchanting lineup that doesn’t get too many from Techno Factory (an instance many French festivals would do good to emulate), this third book of a festival (if we count Edition 0) unequivocally done us wish to see it live. All a some-more so given a lineup featured a likes of Regis, Front 242, and Varg.
After hours, forward of their time
Soon after Positive Education kicks off, we comprehend what an peculiar atmosphere surrounds you. It’s a bit out of place, out of time—an sense usually reinforced by a near-deserted production area where a festival takes place, and by a hotel halls embellished with AS Saint-Étienne banners (take note: this is usually soccer anxiety I’ll make here). On a initial dusk of a fest, a half-empty dance building of La Galerie is home to a sounds of Marius Georgescu. You have a prodigy it’s already dawn, even nonetheless a festivities have usually usually started.
The ambiance is a friendly one, a belligerent already adhering to people’s feet. People dance unabashedly while a Romanian rolls out a good set, unaffected and cushy all during once. The prodigy of it all occurring outward of genuine time is serve accentuated following when we head, late Friday (or early Saturday if we like), to a after-party. It’s in a pub called Le Clapier, that looks like an picture we competence have of a Golden Pudel if we had ever been to Hamburg, or maybe of an Alsace roadside grill dark among a mountains—only we’re in a center of St. Étienne, as we keep carrying to remind myself. Such are my “impressionistic ” memories of Black Merlin’s 7 AM set.
The significance of a sourroundings during a techno festival
At Positive Education, any venue offers a opposite “musical landscape.” The biggest one (Lot 242) is dedicated to live shows and sets that straight-up wallop you. These embody Regis—whose set packs a punch that creates me brief my beer—then Vatican Shadow, so many improved than during Visions (proving a man is truly matched to tiny spaces). At a entryway is a Canteen, which, many as a name indicates. offers adult snacks and chill, ambient sets. The other venues are separate between industrial music/techno, acid/hardcore, and world/industrial/house. Chances are you’ll never feel too homesick, saying as many of a festival-goers are from Paris.
What competence have been a flattering foolish celebration turns out to be not so bad during all. The cafeteria proves a required apparatus for resting and refueling, and a random ambience of venues creates we feel as if you’re among insinuate friends. All a some-more so during IUEKE’s Saturday performance, featuring Phuong Dan, Tolouse Low Trax and Vladimir Ivkovic, and led skilfully by Gwen Jamois with his tonton flingueur looks. It’s all so good-natured, nobody even budges during a sound interruptions.
Trisomie 21’s live uncover will substantially go down as a usually genuine black mark on a festival, interjection to a sincerely inauspicious sound system. And what can we contend about Varg? This big, Swedish, hoodie-wearing teddy bear’s music—together with his vaguely post-internet aesthetic—make for a vague, uninvested and honestly diseased potpourri. Seeing as he was during his laptop via his show, we wondered if he was unequivocally usually browsing Facebook.
We also need to speak about Vatican Shadow. Coming onstage all alone underneath a sleet of stroboscopes, Dominick Fernow punched a atmosphere with his fist, angry a assembly and screamed bloody murder during a ceiling. He didn’t moment even one grin during his performance, that was in a form of a techno 4/4 hovel and equivocal nazi (his backdrop was ornate with anti-Israel slogans and other “shock phrases”). Surely this guy, whose idea is to startle everyone, contingency even get ill of himself sometimes. On a other hand, in a approach these same qualities can save a live show, saying as a punitive side of hangar techno can be unequivocally fast exhausting. And though this component (whether or not it was intentional), I’d have sworn someone had stranded me forcefully before a Haneke film.
A small after that day, a twin of Fixmer/McCarthy brought nonetheless another sip of snub and excess. With feign Corey-Feldman-in-his-dark-period airs, Douglas McCarthy launched into an EBM delivery of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette.” Normally, this would be flattering unsure stuff, though during 4:30 AM, in St. Étienne, after liters on liters of Kriek, it goes off though a hitch. Sometimes accidents have some good in them.
A Pikachu during Ancient Methods
We’ve pronounced it before and we’ll contend it again: this festival has a audience, and they come off sincerely homogenous (overheard from one Positive Education festival-goer: “Yeah, seriously, we go to approach too many drum’n’bass parties”). Even when we eventuality on a niche of a niche (and let’s face it, an industrial techno fest is one), you’ll always find some-more revolutionary partiers who’ve come to bond than nerds who’ve come to see how Regis’ set has altered given his final Boiler Room entrance (for those curious: it’s always flattering many a same).
Among a society of Parisians and people in drab clothing, we stumble, pound in a center of an Ancient Methods set, on a man dressed as Pikachu. He literally lights adult a crowd, saying as their tones flattering many operation from gray to black—except for one man with a fiery red Neubauten T-shirt, though he doesn’t unequivocally count. Make no mistake: this walking animation is one of a final bulwarks opposite a ever-looming homogenization of monochrome Berlin techno and a enlightenment bar in general. Make of it what we will, though I’m flattering certain you’ll never see a man dressed like that during Atonal.
At a commencement of many festivals, we pointer a wildlife a bit though adventurous to dive in too fully. You demeanour around a little, we drop your toes in by going from venue to venue. And inevitably, after carrying pushed your boundary via a fest, a final night turns out to be a loyal ordeal. Saturday night during Positive Education is no exception. Copious amounts of drink and vivid insomnia wreak their havoc, and all starts to seem like a outrageous fog. The guards are on edge, pacing behind and onward with a tad too many concern. This lends a eventuality a “state of urgency” ambience that we competence call… interesting.
Plenty of people around me are entrance out of their shells, while for my partial we start to feel like a maggot huddled in a corner—no doubt heading many to take me for a dealer. Fortunately, Ed Isar’s cheerful, jackin’-house set during La Galerie has all it takes to comfortable hearts and butts. A small after on in a same venue, Manu Le Malin wears out his still strength, nailing a dance building with a jackhammer of hardcore drumming. One lady tells me that some guys there unequivocally don’t take no for an answer; shortly after, a man with dual black eyes tells me he “looooooves” my jacket. we start to feel a small afraid, that we take as a pointer that we should finally conduct for home.
When some parties in Paris opt for names like Possession (or, during a other finish of a spectrum, Fusion Mes Couilles [Melting My Balls]), a “quiet” Positive Education retains a peaceful tedium that won’t give anyone a cold sweats. It competence seem bland, though a festival’s pleasing, no-frills atmosphere is indeed unequivocally important. Despite a frozen cold we battled from a initial night (it gets easier any night after), there’s always something comfortable emanating from within a Cité du Design, where Positive Education takes place.
These days, plcae is roughly as critical (if not some-more so) than a song itself during a techno festival—and during an industrial techno festival, greaten that by ten. Positive Education, with a dilapidated-but-not-too-dilapidated aesthetic, a ageing industrial windows, is clearly a distant cry from Techno Factory or a unbiased hangars we so mostly encounter—something nobody’s going to protest about. On a whole, a festival is immediately calming (“on a tellurian scale,” we competence say) and pretty priced, with a “Canteen” that’s not disgusting, a many Krieks furnishing a required doses of sugarine for a final night. It’s good to go there and not automatically feel like an asshole or a walking beer-opener—a rather singular experience, these days.
Marc-Aurèle Baly is on Noisey.
Julio Ificada too.