We probably had laughed if somebody has told us three years ago that we would drive more than 800 kilometers for a band, also that the band would play in a festival where most of the other artists presented undefinable "Noise". Now, we are on the way to the second "Festival Des Musiques Ultimes" in Nevers/France, idyllically situated at the Loire, 200 km south of Paris and the band of our interest is called "Current 93". Jörn has arrived with his companions in Nevers after a long drive through France's most beautiful landscapes on small roads through vineyards, picturesque country villages and small towns. Jan and his girlfriend had already arrived by train on Thursday, to combine the event with a short holiday. The campsite was situated on the riverside and it took a bit persuasion by the guests to open its gates, but after some searching the area hotels turned out to be quite affordable. The concert event took place in the Municipal Theater of Nevers, a beautiful gem from the time of the "rococo" style, with only 285 seats which gave it an atmosphere of intimacy. The time between the gigs was spent in the balcony talking and soon we had established many new contacts. There were even visitors from the USA (greetings to Greg and friends!), but most patrons were either French or German.
The festival featured an elderly gentleman from Berlin who made noise with his self made kitchen utensils and an American artist with greasy hair who calls moving a microphone around in a bowl of sand music. We're possibly missing the audience's shared appreciation for this "art". But, lets start at the beginning of the festival with the appearance of "The Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus". Wonderful folk sounds paired with weird arrangements and a floating female voice, put into harmony with a extravagant video projection. A good beginning. After that grand prelude nothing came up to our expectations. Most of the gigs could be described as "unstructured sounds meet unmotivated video or slide shows" and that's why several guests fell asleep when the headliner of the first evening "Schloss Tegal" played.
A big surprise was "O Yuki Conjugate" who played together with the "Sons Of Silence", the project "Spoke" and they did an unusual show. The curtain was raised and surprised the audience with three boys in fashionable suits who created atmospheric sounds from bicycles and a few tools. After a while they presented a good ambient-dub interlude including happy singing and danced over the stage to the bass rhythms of their own music. A wonderful contrast to the mostly highbrowed program.
David Tibet turned out to be a very nice and no guest's request was too much. Even at the first gig he (along with Michael Cashmore and Karl Blake) mixed with the audience who shared interest in this person, he excelled in his knowledge of languages and answered all questions. Of course some of the press (e.g. Sigill) tried to persuade him to do an interview, but luckily he made no exceptions.
When the curtain lifted for the last gig on Sunday the hall was lit up by camera flashes and it was obvious that we were not the only ones who made a long trip too see Current 93. David Tibet gave the crowd what they wanted. He opened with "In The Heart Of The Wood" followed by about an hour of material from all of their releases since "Thunder Perfect Mind". While Michael Cashmore pulled the musical sounds from the background with his brilliant guitar work, Joolie Woods delighted us by playing violin and flute but Karl Blake seemed to be very overtaxed with playing bass several times. Most of the whole audience's attention was on David Tibet. You could not escape his charismatic, expressive nature and gestureful appearance. In the end the band showed a lot of humor, David Tibet fetched Joolie Woods little son to the stage and the gig ended with a loud and weird version of "Lucifer over London".
A great festival in a beautiful area. Until next year!