Break out the bloody snakebite and stick me in a pair of waders – me and MrsShev only went to a festival!
It wasn’t Glastonbury or Woodstock or anything, but it was still a festival nevertheless. We had to wear wellies and everything (though, being Swizzerland they were snowboots with fur linings and zips…). The festival is called Long’i’rock and it’s a one-off deal and the concept is actually pretty cool. Yeah, you heard that right: something in Swizzerland that has some kind of coolness quotient. I know.
Some Swizzer geezer who lives in Longirod (you’re ahead of me: it does sound like a pornstar stage name) who is utterly and deliriously wedged; decided – just for shits and giggles – that he wanted to have his own rock concert. So, he lobbed 2 Million Chuffs into it and tried to book his favourite bands (quite a few of them are whack – but hey! He’s Swiss and it’s his money!) and sort it out. In the end it turned out to be a logisitical and financial nightmare and it was looking like he was going to chalk it down as another cross-rail and chuck the towel in. But the local residents of Longirod and the surrounding villages created a committee and got organised and made it happen (the randomness of this is that some 70yr old retirees are running the lost and found office and the local circus is supplying the tents – I jest not) – they showed a community spirit which is heartwarming, and inspiring and very un-swiss.
They managed to not only get three tents errected for a main stage, food concession stands, beer tents, security and ticketing; they also managed to get Skunk Anansie, BRMC, Julliette Lewis and – wait for it – The Scorpions. For those of you who can’t be bothered to visit the link; The Scorpions are a German heavy metal band. I don’t know about you, but when I put together the words German, band, metal and heavy I’m not feeling the love…I assume The Scorpions are on the mysterious benifactor’s iTunes favourites.
We managed – after getting the kids to sleep – to see some bands (2):
- Ska-P Don’t worry, I haven’t heard of them either. When they came on, there was like 18 of them and they wore a mixture of kilts and hardcore metal wear and I thought: this is not good. Then they started playing and the whole place started jumping up and down and so we thought in for a penny… and started jumping up and down as well. I mouthed: are they singing in German? MrsShev: I dunno…Spanish, maybe? It turned out that these guys are very big in Spain, are from Madrid and sing quite message-led stuff about politics…but rock politics, you know? Dick and Jane, rock politics: Don’t chop down the rain forests it’s wrong, then soon all the atmosphere will be gone… and Don’t make marijuana a crime, man – one day we’ll topple the government, man. That kind of bollocks. But…but…they were good! They put so much heart into it, so much effort, and they really know how to pen a tune that we rather enjoyed Ska-P. Rock, ska, punk thing going on. They seemed to create a really happy atmosphere and only spoiled it somewhat when they did an impromptu striptease at the end. And these guys shouldn’t strip, for the good of mankind.
- Skunk Anansie We’ve all heard of these guys, but I’d never seen them live before. They have been on a break from music (solo projects notwithstanding) and have only just reformed so this is their first live appearance since 2002 or something. They came on, full of angst and Skin (the lead singer) looked utterly demonic and at one point I thought she was going to chuck the mike stand at the audience. Then they went…a bit flat and didn’t seem to enrapt or move the audience; I heard people talking amongst themselves and I thought: It’s Swizzerland, it’s a tough crowd, maybe this is not the right place to do a comeback tour. Skin then stops it with her ropey French and announces (in English) that they’re going to play their newest track, that they’ve only just cut and to see what we think: well, it went down a blinder. A totally belting track (don’t remember the name of it) which shook the cobwebs out of most of the awnings. We were quite close to the stage and I saw the band smiling for the first time and the bass player mouthed to Skin: they fucking love it. And he was not wrong. From then on, they owned Long’i’rock. They could have played Wheels on the Bus and the crowd would have whooped for more. What changed was that they seemed to be enjoying it as well. They were awesome.
What did I make of my first Swiss festival experience? Well, there were less pissed people, and people generally off their tits (though lot’s of weed and hash). There was almost no security and no police as far as I could tell. The busiest place wasn’t the Bar but the crepe stall (they were excellent crepes though) and it was very, very civilised, mad mixture of teens, middle aged people and metal heads.
It wasn’t a patch on Glastonbury or V, though: it was better.