Green Day live at Hallenstadion Zurich, 16.01.2017

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The 2017 concert season starts with a bang with Green Day! It is my fourth time seeing them and I’m excited as if it were the first.

Despite the cold I go down to Hallenstadion pretty early and there are already people waiting in front of the doors. Finally, a little after 5pm the doors open. We need to wait in line downstairs for the security to open the doors which lead to the venue and the stage. Once they do so, we push and run towards the stage although we’re told to be careful.

The Interrupters, 7pm-7:30pm

We wait two long hours before the support band The Interrupters take the stage. This band from LA, California is composed by three brothers, two of whom are twins and a girl singer. They have a great energy on stage and their rock-ska music is fun as are the lyrics. Although at times the ska background becomes repetitive they warm up the audience nicely for Green Day!

Green Day, 8pm-10.15pm

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A huge black tile hides the stage. A few minutes before 8pm, the lights darken and the famous pink bunny comes out from the backstage as the notes of The Ramones’ “Hey ho, let’s go” hails in the air. The audience is already excited and sings along to the song, following the orders of the pink bunny which is doing some shenanigans on stage. The song ends, the black tile falls and the rabbit leaves. The screams of the audience accompany the entrance of Green Day. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong, drummer Tré Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt are accompanied by touring members Jason White, Jason Freeze and Jeff Matika.

The stage has a huge tile with the logo of the Revolution Radio album on it. There are no big screens on the back just the tile which drops and changes leaving space to the ones underneath it.

Green Day kick ass straight away by playing “Know Your Enemy” taken from the album 21st Century Breakdown (2009), with singer Billie Joe singing his favourite vocals “eeeh oooh” and making the audience repeat them. He gets a girl from the public on stage to sing but she’s like petrified and can barely sing.

On with two new songs taken from their last album Revolution Radio (2016), “Bang Bang” for which there are actually bangs sounds coming from the stage and “Revolution Radio” with fire flames coming up from the stage. The public is jumping around like crazy and the front rows have already become a mosh pit. There’s a strip of stage which comes off in the middle and where Billie Joe likes to go to to play few songs.

The set list continues with a few songs taken from their biggest success American Idiot (2004) including “Holiday” during which the audience jumps around in all directions and the rock ballad “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” where Billie Joe gets the public singing along and alone, followed by the band clapping the audience for the remarkable performance!

For “Longview”, Billie Joe calls up a guy from the audience to sing the song and he totally nails it, jumping around the stage with the microphone, feeling perfectly comfortable. He ends by jumping off the stage and crowdsurfing.

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Then there comes a time during the gig dedicated to old school Green Day fans. From “2000 light years away” the band bring us back to the good old punk days, with Billie Joe playing is beloved Baby Blue that he got as a present when he was 10 years old! Then it’s the turn of a few songs taken from Nimrod (1997) like “Hitchin’ a ride”, with its rumbling drums, where Billie Joe lets the audience repeat the vocalises he makes. “Minority” is the anthem of a generation and so it is sung by all in chorus, jumping up and down to the rhythm of music.

Billie Joe looks for someone who can come on stage and play the guitar. He chooses an 18 year old boy, he shows him the chords he needs to play for “Knowledge”, an Operation Ivy cover, and then the guy sings while playing. At the end of the great performance, Billie Joe says “You can keep the guitar”. So here’s one more reason to start playing the guitar ^^

For the playful “King for a day” the band members disguise themselves, Billie Joe wears a marine hat, Mike Dirnt enormous glasses, Jason Freeze a Pharaon hat. This song live is always full of shenanigans, from disguising to singing and playing while lying on the floor. And then there’s the Blues Brothers“Shout” followed by a medley of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. With Billie Joe fooling around with a toy trumpet and Jason Freeze showing off his saxophone.

For a politically involved band such as Green Day are, some comments about the newly elected president Donald Trump could not be missing. At a certain point Billie Joe wears a Trump mask with “idiot” written on it. Billie Joe bursts out saying that he is sick of stupid people around the world and the audience agrees. “Revolution is happening now! We are the revolution”, screams of awe raise from the audience as he utters these words.

It’s time for Green Day to play what, in my opinion, is the best song of their new album, “Still Breathing”, a lively song that has something more indie than rock into it and that definitely brings a new wave to the band. The audience happily sings along to it. Billie Joe announces the end of the show with another new song, “Forever now” accompanied by fire flames and fireworks.

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The Hallenstadion remains in the dark and fans know that the band is coming back, also because they haven’t played some of their unmissable songs like “American Idiot”. After a few minutes here they come again playing “American Idiot” and everybody literally goes crazy once again, with mosh pit and all of that.

It’s the turn of the masterpiece “Jesus of Suburbia” a nearly 10 minutes long rock song which live is an absolute treat! The intensity in this song is beyond words, it needs to be lived to be understood. The guitar riffs grow into you as does each new musical element which comes in.

The band leaves and Billie Joe comes back with his acoustic guitar to play the new track “Ordinary World”. He then plays those unmistakable G strings of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. He lets the audience sing the lyric “Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial, for what it’s worth it was worth all the while” on their own.

It all ends with colourful scraps of paper coming down from the ceiling, they fall on the audience. I pick up one and it’s written “Green Day” on it. A souvenir to take back home, but for those who witnessed the concert tonight the music and memories will stay there forever. Because Green Day is for sure one of the best live bands out there, playing huge venues and making you feel as if we were all one big family. That’s the power of live music!

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Setlist:

Know Your Enemy
Bang Bang
Revolution Radio
Holiday
Letterbomb
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Longview
Youngblood
2000 Light Years Away
Hitchin’ a Ride
When I Come Around
Christie Road
Burnout
Scattered
Minority
Are We the Waiting
St. Jimmy
Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
Basket Case
She
King for a Day
Shout / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
Still Breathing
Forever Now

Encore 1:
American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia

Encore 2:
Ordinary World
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

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A Concert-Wise Look Back at 2016

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2016 was filled with lots of amazing concerts, just as the previous years. I shared my time making new discoveries and seeing small bands as well as chase big acts. The interviews I did for The Liberation this year were mostly of Swiss artists and every encounter was precious!

I kicked off my rocking 2016 with some local concerts in January by attending John Dear’s gig at La Cave du Bleau Lézard. This duo from Lausanne rocked the place with such an energy, it was incredible! One week later I was there again to see Alejandro Reyes, a very talented young Swiss-Chilean guy. Alejandro Reyes was born without a hand but this didn’t stop him, he plays the guitar beautifully and has a splendid voice whether he plays his own songs or covers Ed Sheehan and others.

In February I went back once again to the cozy Cave du Bleu to settle in this time with the sentimental folk of The Last Morning Soundtrack, a French band with a folk soul. On February 12th I attended a live radio show of Session Paradiso dedicated to Italian music and featuring Brunori SasIlaria Graziano & Francesco Forni and Dimartino. It was great and I made some nice discoveries!

Bastian Baker live @ Les Docks, 11.03.2016.

Bastian Baker live @ Les Docks, 11.03.2016.

In March, I attended three memorable gigs at Les Docks starting with Simple Plan on the 9th. Simple Plan are one of the bands which marked my adolescence as I grew up listening to them, Green Day and Good Charlotte. It’s always special and nice to see a band that was part of your teenage years, even though I hadn’t listen to them in quite a long time I could still remember all the songs. Needless to say that they brought the audience back in time, offering a great show! A couple of days later, on the 11th, I saw Bastian Baker. The Lausanne singer put on an amazing show for his fans, full of new and older songs, great sing alongs and fun. On March 22nd, I went to see the talented Australian singer Josef Salvat who delivered a nice set leading the audience through pop and electronic notes with his beautiful voice.

In April I went back to the Cave du Bleu Lézard to see the alternative rock band from Bern Pabloplar. They delivered an intimate and colourful show.

May was probably the most intense month concert-wise not really for the number of gigs but for their importance and intensity. On the 13th I attended Balélec, the student festival in Lausanne, which was great music-wise but a bit disappointing because of the crowd. Maybe because I don’t belong to the student group anymore and I didn’t feel at ease among that type of crowd during the gigs.

Mumford and Sons live @ Hallenstadion Zurich, 16.05.2016.

Mumford and Sons live @ Hallenstadion Zurich, 16.05.2016.


A few days later, on the 16th, I headed to Zürich to see Mumford and Sons at Hallenstadion. I couldn’t quite contain my excitement as I was seeing the band for the very first time and I had been waiting to see them for quite a while! Mumford and Sons’ gig was brilliant from beginning to end, they are incredible live and they care a lot about fans interacting with them and such. Marcus Mumford is a great frontman and surprises the audience when during “Ditmas”, he comes down the stage and dances with the crowd. The day after, I’m once again at Hallenstadion Zurich, this time to see none other than Adele. The venue looks different than the night before, with a little stage at the centre and a path which from it leads to the big stage in front. Adele charmed the audience with her outstanding voice making us laugh and cry at the same time. An incredible concert for an amazing performer which I feel blessed to have seen live. And by the way, Adele also attended the Mumford and Sons’ concert the day before ^^

Adele live @ Hallenstadion Zurich, 17.05.2016

Adele live @ Hallenstadion Zurich, 17.05.2016

June marked the real beginning of the Summer festivals season, it started for me at the very beginning of the month with Caribana Festival from the 1st to the 5th. There I saw, among others, The Kooks, Garbage, James Bay and James Morrison. On this occasion I also had the pleasure to interview Yellow Teeth, a young blues-rocker who walks the line of Johnny Cash. On the 20th of June, back to Les Docks to see the American indie-rock band Yeasayer and two days later there I went again to see the post-rock band Explosions In The Sky. On the 24 and 25th I attended Open Air St Gallen with a friend of mine to volunteer, which allowed us to see none other than the huge Radiohead. The band played in occasion of the 40 years of Open Air St Gallen and made an outstanding jubilee show. Radiohead were definitely a must see for me this past Summer. I doubled the bill by seeing Mumford and Sons for the second time in little over a month. The concert was great but not as good as the one in Zürich, you can hardly beat that. I also discovered a great new alternative rock band called Blossoms!

Sigur Rós live @ Montreux Jazz Festival, 5.07.2016.

Sigur Rós live @ Montreux Jazz Festival, 5.07.2016.

July, besides being the month in which I was born, is the month of my beloved Montreux Jazz Festival and Paléo Festival Nyon. On July 5th, I went to see Sigur Rós at Auditorium Stravinsky. Scottish post-rock band Mogwai opened the gig for them with a special set accompanied by the viewing of their documentary “Atomic”. An intense performance coupled with powerful images. The Icelandic of Sigur Rós impressed the audience with an intense and loud performance, presenting their last album, more rock than the previous ones! The day after I headed to Milan to see The Last Shadow Puppets at Alcatraz. When I got the ticket I didn’t know the band would also come to Switzerland so I chose the closest place in which to see them. It was magic to hear live for the first time the songs I had been listening to for so long. The Last Shadow Puppets also presented songs from their new album Everything You’ve Come to Expect.

On July 10th I went back to Montreux Jazz Festival, this time at The Lab to see the alternative rock band from Oklahoma Other Lives, they were supreme and they managed to make the audience travel through their deep and dark melodies. The success of the concert was also assured thanks to Son Lux and Àsgeir.

Paléo Festival Nyon 2016

Paléo Festival Nyon 2016

From the 19th to the 24th of July it was time for the 40+1 Paléo Festival Nyon to take place. What I particularly liked this year was the theme of the Village du monde: The Celtic lands. Being a fan of both Celtic music and culture I had the chance to deepen myself in this world during Paléo! This year the highly anticipated event of Paléo was Muses concert on the opening day of the festival. I love Muse and they put on an amazing show as usual. Using less special effects than at their own concerts but still gathering together everybody in huge sing alongs and such. Magnificent! Muse were preceded on the big stage by Colorado indie-folk band The Lumineers. At Paléo I saw Red Hot Chilli Pipers (no peppers but kilts and bagpipes instead!) twice cause I enjoyed them so much the first time that I went back and saw them also during their other intimate gig. I also had a blast seeing Bastille, the band came to Paléo for the first time to present their new album. The lads put on an amazing show! There were also some great Swiss bands like the blues-rock duo The Two, which is a Swiss-Mauritian duo, with whom I had the chance to have an interview! I felt that this edition of Paléo put a bit too much weight on French singers and songwriters, and I hope it’ll be less so in 2017.

Me interviewing The Two live for "Les Iles", La Première, July 2016.

Me interviewing The Two live for “Les Iles”, La Première, July 2016.

With my work for RTS, the Swiss national radio in the French language, I had the chance to take part in a radio-project called “Les Iles” (The Islands) which took the team on the road around French-speaking Switzerland for a week! On the last day of the radio show The Two were invited as guests to play on the Island of Ogoz. I had the pleasure to interview them once again, this time live on the radio. I really enjoyed it!

On August 23rd Les Docks reopened after the Summer break hosting the Aussies of Wolfmother. The band offered an incredibly intense rock concert, full of heavy riffs and beats, they presented their new album Victorious.

The Last Shadow Puppets live @ Zurich Openair 2016.

The Last Shadow Puppets live @ Zurich Openair 2016.

The day after I was off to Zurich for four days full of indie-rock music at Zürich Openair. Like last year, it was very hot and sunny most of the time. The first day was also one of the most exciting with The Last Shadow Puppets, Foals and M83. It was great to catch once again The Last Shadow Puppets and the magic complicity between Alex Turner and his pal Miles Kane. Foals also put on a great show but I would have rather put them on the big stage, as the tent stage was too crowded. The night ended dancing on the electronic sounds of M83. On day #2 I saw Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros which was great fun, the talented Jack Garratt and entered once again the magical world of Sigur Rós. Day #3 was very indie-rock with Jake Bugg presenting his new album, the darker sounds of Editors and the energy of Bloc Party. The festival ended on August 27th with the joyous performance of The Strumbellas and the complete riot with Kaiser Chiefs. An amazing few days and a great end to the Summer festival season.

In September I needed a break after the Summer festival marathon. But on the 15th I attended the Swiss Music Prize Ceremony in Lausanne, the prize was won by Sophie Hunger. On October 16th I went back to Les Docks to see The Baseballs. It was, as last time, crazy and everybody danced and sang along to their rockabilly cover and to their own catchy songs. On October 28th I ventured to Zürich for Zermatt Unplugged Kaufleuten, a beautiful acoustic festival. There I saw the very talented Andrea Bignasca, who played in a small and cozy room full of people. He nailed it! I also had the chance to have a chat with him. Then I saw Asaf Avidan, his beautiful and special voice struck me live and the way he plays the guitar is sublime.

Andrea Bignasca and his band at Zermatt Unplugged.

Andrea Bignasca and his band at Zermatt Unplugged.

November is the month of Metropop Festival in Lausanne, so on Friday 11th I attended the rock night featuring White Lies and The Kills. Both shows were memorable! On November 23rd I saw Billy Talent at Les Docks, it was awesome seeing them again after 9 years (!). I had so much fun and liked their new stuff as well!

So this is how 2016 went concert-wise. I’m still working as a free-lance journalist for The Liberation – Indie Nation and I love it! 2017 is already full of planned concert, with Green Day on the 16th of January and a series of concerts in February among which Sum 41, Patty Smith at Festival Antigel and Band of Horses in Zürich. Which means I already have quite a few gigs to look forward too 🙂 Keep it up 2017!

ADELE live at Hallenstadion Zurich, 17.05.2016

8:05pm-10:05pm Adele, Hallenstadion, Zürich

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The Hallenstadion stage is set up pretty differently than usual, it has a triangular shape and from it’s edge a path stretches out to a smaller stage on the middle of the venue. First of all, it is kind of difficult to choose where to stand because since there are two stages it’s a bit confusing. But half way between the two stages seems like a good idea! On the stage there’s a huge screen with an image of Adele’s closed eyes.

At 8:05pm the lights of the Hallenstadion darken and people start screaming and a few moments after Adele rises from the smaller stage and starts singing “Hello”, there’s no better song to start with to welcome the audience to her gig. At the same time on the big stage Adele’s eyes on the screen open! Straight away her powerful and brilliant voice sets in. She wears a long sparkly dark dress and she looks delightful.

She comes walking down the path to get to the big stage, touching fans’ hands and smiling. Smiling to the audience she involves them by saying, “How are you Zürich?” the answer are screams of excitement. The concert is sold out so you can only imagine how loud the audience is. She sings “Hometown Glory” and a video of Zürich is shown on the screen as the song goes on, the audience in awe.


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Adele
talks a lot through the show, introducing the songs and also chatting very spontaneously about herself and approaching the audience. She’s impressively down to earth and really friendly. She asks the audience who among them was at the Mumford & Sons’ gig the day before (16.05.2016). My hand and a few others raise as she says that she was there as well and really enjoyed it!

After one of the first songs she makes a guy on the audience come up on stage because it is his birthday, also a friend of his comes up. They talk for a moment and then proposes to take a selfie. This is just one of many examples of what make Adele so special and loved! She has a ton of humour and self-irony.

Throughout the concert she presents many songs from her new album 25. But she leaves space for old songs like the beautiful “Chasing Pavements” which makes the audience a bit nostalgic.

At a certain point she invites on stage an American guy, Kyle, who proposes to his Swiss German boyfriend live. Kyle is hardly able to speak when he proposes to his boyfriend and Adele dries her tears. What a lovely and touching moment!

Adele says that there are only two songs that are danceable this evening and one is “Rumour Has It” so she says the audience should take the chance to dance now because the next songs are pretty sad and then we’ll have to cry. Her self-irony is really funny! So we all get to dance for the lively “Rumour Has It”! Adele is not on stage on her own, her band is there as well, sometimes hidden behind the curtains. She has a mini orchestra playing arches, and a band playing piano, guitars and drums as well as three female vocalists. 

She repeats lots of times the phrase “the next song I’m gonna play” to present the songs and promises that if she says it again drinks are on her… well she does say it but no one reacts, funny moment.

When she says that the touching “Sweetest Devotion”, taken from her last album 25, is a song which talks about her son the audience is in awe, when she sings it the effect is heightened, the emotions she manages to convey are strikingly strong.

She bends when she’s on the small stage so that people can take a selfie with her. She provokes tears to come down her fans’ faces when she announces the song “Someone Like You” is up next. And the emotions are not retained when she starts singing. Then she asks the audience to sing the refrain, she’s completely silent when a choir of 13’000 voices raises. It is truly beautiful!

Always from the small stage she sings “Set Fire to the Rain”, a song taken from her second album 21. Suddenly rain starts coming down the square over the stage and Adele looks like she’s literally standing in the rain. She leaves the stage and the audience screams for her to come back and does the wave to call her back screaming “ooooooooh”, when she comes back she makes the audience do it again because she loved it!

She sings “All I ask” and then her amazing new song “When We Were Young”, a touching retrospective reflection on the past. On the screen there’s a video showing pictures of her when she was younger from baby up to a few years ago! The vocals in this song are truly beautiful and Adele‘s voice is more stunning than ever (good thing she quit smoking)! The last song Adele plays is “Rolling in the Deep” another mind-blowing song which when performed live gives you the chills. Towards the end of the song thousands of white paper bits come down from the ceiling, I pick up some and they are bits of Adele’s songs written with her calligraphy! A really lovely idea.

Adele is a star but definitely different than the others, she’s truly unique and her concerts prove that she is down to earth and cares about her fans. An outstanding performance which I feel very privileged to have witnessed. This world definitely needs more artists like her, 2 hours of concert with hardly any break. Magic.

Setlist:

Hello
Hometown Glory
One and Only
Rumour Has It
Water Under The Bridge
I Miss You
Skyfall
Million Years Ago
Don’t You Remember
Send My Love (to Your New Lover)
Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
Sweetest Devotion
Chasing Pavements (encore)
Someone Like You (encore)
Set Fire To The Rain (encore)
All I ask (encore 2)
When We Were Young (encore 2)
Rolling In The Deep (encore 2)

CONCERT REVIEW // MUMFORD & SONS // HALLENSTADION ZURICH, 16.05.2016 – IT’S IN THE EYES. I CAN TELL, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DANGER — The Liberation

The huge Hallenstadion (capacity 13’000 people) is pretty crowded, standing tickets are sold out whereas there are still a few free seated spots. The stage hides Mumford & Sons’ instruments behind a huge black sheet with the Gentlemen of the Road symbol, the label to which Mumford & Sons are signed and which organizes the […]

via CONCERT REVIEW // MUMFORD & SONS // HALLENSTADION ZURICH, 16.05.2016 – IT’S IN THE EYES. I CAN TELL, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DANGER — The Liberation

A Concert-Wise Look Back at 2015

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2015 is over, concert-wise it’s been an amazing year filled with many emotions, new bands, new gigs and interviews! Where should I start? Well I guess from the beginning… I am still working as a free-lance journalist for The Liberation-Indie Nation and most of the concerts I attended, and the interviews I did in 2015, were through them.

At the end of January 2015 I attended Antigel Festival for the first time, I just went one day but it was a great one, there I saw Scottish post rock band Mogwai. Their gig was mindblowing! At The end of February the cold winter nights were filled yet again with another warming up festival: Les Hivernales de Nyon. I had never really experienced the town of Nyon if it weren’t as a pit stop to get to Paléo or Caribana Festival. I discovered its bars transformed in cozy venues, there I saw a Swiss blues band which was probably my best discovery of 2015: The Two. At the Usine à gaz in Nyon I also saw indie rock band Peace and The Family Rain, both great live. At La Parenthèse, a cozy cave which saw the coming back of another great Swiss band The Rambling Wheels!

I attended Dark Horses‘ gig at Le Romandie, another great discovery! On March 31st I went back to my beloved Les Docks to see The Dandy Warhols and had a blast. Then on April 21st I dragged some friends of mine to Balthazar‘s gig, I didn’t know the Belgian band at the time but we all really enjoyed the concert and made another amazing discovery because the support band was Swiss band Puts Marie another must see act!!
At the beginning of May I went to the annual Festival Balélec biggest student festival in Europe held in Lausanne on the EPFL Campus, there I saw one of the most amazing bands coming out of Ticino: Make Plain, two young guys who play folk music and make you dance like crazy! then I saw British alternative rock band The Subways and that was grand!
And then, well, it was already the time for the Summer Festivals… I’m not sure if you remember the wise words I said last year about having to reduce my consume of gigs but it didn’t really work! I started with attending some days of Caribana Festival in Crans-sur-Nyon where I saw, among others, Marilyn Manson, it was a fun gig and thank God he was in a good mood! I also attended the reggae night with Gentleman and others and really enjoyed it! And on the Sunday Mika was headlining and put on an amazing and colourful show!

On June 13th there was a Pro-Ticino party in Place de la Louve in Lausanne and I went there to see Make Plain again, I just can’t seem to get enough of them. It was raining but people were dancing and it was great! On 16th of June I went to the festival “Art Circus” at Les Docks and I saw the amazing duo The Two. One week after I saw Make Plain again at Fete de la musique, on the 21st of June, always in Lausanne along with The Two and the day before I went to Geneva to check out the Fete de la musique there it was cool, many people and good vibes.

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On June 22nd I went to Zürich to see George Ezra at X-Tra Club, it was brilliant to see him live, he is really talented and friendly!

And then started the beautiful month of July, not because I was born in July but because of Montreux Jazz Festival and Paléo. The first to kick off was as usual Montreux Jazz, I went there to see Lily Wood and The Prick, one of the revelations of the Summer with their song “Prayer in C”. On the 9th of July one of my dreams came true as I got to see Scottish singer Paolo Nutini again, at Auditorium Stravinski at Montreux Jazz Festival his performance was just mind-blowing and the support band Alabama Shakes where a revelation with charismatic singer Brittany’s voice!

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A few days later I saw Foals for the first time, at Montreux Jazz Lab, another memorable gig! I also interviewed Isaac Delusion but unfortunately didn’t make it to the concert at MJF but I saw them at For Noise Festival in Pully-Lausanne a bit later in the Summer.

In between these two big festivals I went to a smaller festival called Les Georges in Fribourg on July 16th where I saw American band Other Lives once again, their performance was just amazing and their new songs truly enchanting! I discovered them at Paléo a couple of years back and they’ve been one of my favourites since! On the same night I saw Peter Kernel, an art-punk band from Ticino!

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A week and a half later I took a week off work to enjoy Paléo Festival completely! For its 40th birthday Paléo went bigger adding one day to the festival so that it was truly a 7-day festival, not bad ah? It was an intense week but well worth it! On Monday 20th July the star Robbie Williams pretty much got all attentions, I’m not personally a big fan of him but I truly loved his gig, there’s no doubt he is a showman!
Day 2, 21st of July was a memorable rock night with among other The Dø, The Scripts and one of my very favourites: Kings of Leon! I also had the chance to be interviewed by Rete 3, the third channel of the Swiss Italian national radio, and talk about my passion for music and concerts, about my blog and my work for The Liberation-Indie Nation it was great fun 🙂 Day 3, 22nd of July was a rainy day in the name of folk-rock featuring Angus & Julia Stone, Shake Shake Go, Passenger and Sting. On Day 4 I interviewed Duck Duck Grey Duck, a Swiss surf rock ‘n’ roll band and saw, among others, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. On day 5 I particularly liked Peter Kernel‘s gig and this time I had the chance to interview them before their gig, my first interview in Italian by the way (yey!)! I loved Patti Smith‘s gig, which was on day 6, the same day as Robert Plant‘s gig, a night with the legends of the 70s-80s! It was also a day for a sensational Swiss discovery with Yellow Teeth, a really good blues rock band! I also had the chance to meet Charlie Winston at a round table with other media! Day 7, the last day was closed with a bang by David Guetta and the fireworks preceding his performance. Paléo was amazing once again and I also saw some Asian bands at the Village du Monde, which was cool!

On Friday August 14 I went for the first time to Antidote Festival, a small festival in Yverdon-Les-Bains there I discovered yet another great Swiss band: No Way, which play a magnetic rock blues.

On August 20-22 I attended For Noise Festival in Pully-Lausanne, there I saw among others F.F.S. a supergroup made up by Franz Ferdinand and Sparks and I absolutely loved their performance it was real fun. Canadian band Ought were one of the best discoveries. I also had the chance to do some interviews with Ought, Owen Pallett and Swiss band Labrador City. Sadly, this was to be the last 3-day For Noise as this beautiful small festival will do its 20th and last edition on 20th August 2016, the date is already saved in my calendar and it should be on yours as well!

The day after For Noise ended, on Sunday 23 August I took a trip to Winterthur for the last night of the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen. There I had the chance to take part in an amazing folk night with Villagers, Fink and Ben Howard. A night filled with many emotions and also some rain! Before the concert started I was lucky enough to interview Villagers.

From 26 to 29th August 2015 I went to Zürich Openair, the indie-rock open air per excellence in Switzerland! I had loads of fun, saw many great bands like The Libertines, Blood Red Shoes, The Kooks, Tame Impala, Kasabian and Stereophonics. I had the chance to interview Mighty Oaks, Milky Chance, Echosmith and Piers Agett of Rudimental 🙂 Milky Chance were one of my favourite concerts! and of course a festival is also a place for new musical discoveries: Bears Den, Blaudzun, Josef Salvat and Pond are some of them.

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On 12-13th September I took off direction Berlin for the first edition of Lollapalooza Berlin. The bands and music offered were great, a lot of them were the same as in Zürich so I tried to see the ones I hadn’t seen yet. But the festival was organized really bad, you had to stand in line for hours for toilets and food. And I think the four stages were enclosed into a space which was not big enough. I’ve been to loads of festivals, also bigger than Lollapalooza Berlin but it was the first time I experienced it so bad. But luckily the amazing concerts I saw such as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the touching moment with Sam Smith, Belle & Sebastian and the mind-blowing end of the festival with Muse made up for it.

On September 20th I saw American artist Sufjan Stevens live for the first time at Théâtre du Léman, in Geneva, it was absolutely stunning! I am not used to sit down at a concert but it was perfect for his music. And I fell in love with his last album Carrie & Lowell which live is truly magnetic.

On September 30th I went to see The Two (again I know) at La Cave du Bleu Lézard, it was once again amazing and they were accompanied by special guest Martin Harley. You really need to check them out! On the 4th of October I went back to Geneva, this time at Post Tenebras Rock -L’Usine to see one of my very favourite bands: The Vaccines. Before the gig I had the huge pleasure to interview Freddie Cowan and Pete Robertson, respectively guitarist and drummer of the band. If a few years back you would have told me that I would be interviewing them one day I would never have believed it! Their gig was unforgettable, good old fun!

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On 19th October I went to see Stereophonics (yes, again) this time at Les Docks in Lausanne. In the afternoon I was lucky enough to have a chat with singer Kelly Jones and bassist Richard Jones. Their gig was brilliant, I’ve always wanted to see Stereophonics live and this year I managed to see them not only once but three times in little over 4 months and to interview them, not bad right?!

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On November 27th another amazing British alternative rock band came to Les Docks: Editors. It was the first time I saw them and it was oh so good! Their support band The Fawn was also great!

I went to Hamburg to visit a friend of mine and on December 6th we went to a free concert by Will Robert, a young English artist, at Haus 73. We really enjoyed his gig!

On December 10th, Swiss rock ‘n’ roll band, The Animen make their come back at Le Romandie in Lausanne to present their last album Are We There Yet?. They’re one of the best Swiss bands around and also one of my favourites so I was super happy to see them again! I also had the pleasure to interview the singer Théo Wyser and guitarist Julien (Jool) Marty

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The day after, on Friday December 11th I went back once more to Les Docks, one of my favourite venues, for its 10th birthday. Many hosts played during the night, among them La Gale, Franz Treichler, Oxmo Puccino and Verveine. Later on there was also a fun DJ battle among people working in the music business. It was a hell of a party!

Little more than a week later, on the 19th of December, I fought the cold and went to Zürich to see Florence + The Machine at Hallenstadion. It was brilliant, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to! Florence Welch with her contagious smile and her passion makes you smile and feel the music very deeply from beginning to end, superb!

On December 26th I saw Make Plain once again (probably for the 4th or 5th time in 2015) this time in Ticino in the Verzasca Valley in a tiny wooden den called Lokalino. They played for over 2 hours with a lot of passion and charisma.

So yes 2015 is over, it left me with amazing musical memories that I’ll cherish. All the interviews I did thanks to The Liberation-Indie Nation enriched my personal and professional baggage, every encounter was unique as every concert was. So thank you to The Liberation, thanks to the artists, bands, promoters, labels, the festivals for rendering all of this possible. And of course thank you to my concert buddies!

2016 has only just started but there’s so much to look forward too! Some examples? I’m so excited to see Adele and Mumford & Sons for the first time in May 2016 in Zürich… and then there’s Alex Turner and Miles Kane‘s reunion as The Last Shadow Puppets after 8 years, their second album Everything You’ve Come to Expect comes out on April 1st, 2016 (no joke!) and I can’t wait to see them live!

So bring it on 2016!!! 😉

Will Robert, Haus 73, Hamburg (Germany), 6.12.2015

 

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I was in Hamburg (Germany) to visit a friend of mine and we checked out a free gig at Haus 73. There, every Sunday the organization “Baby, I grew you a beard!” invites a singer or a band to play for free. This time it was Will Robert‘s turn, let’s see how he treated the audience!

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Haus 73 finds itself on the top floor of a bar in Hamburg, it is quite hidden and one must know where to go to reach it. As we enter the building, the venue is already quite full, there’s a rather long stage and lots of chairs surrounding it. It’s always a weird feeling to be seated at a concert, but also quite nice after a day wondering around town!

Will Robert is a young English solo artist, it is just him and his acoustic guitar. He has a beautiful voice, but mainly a great way of playing the guitar by alternating the picking of the chords with the hitting of his guitar’s body.

The lyrics are deep and tend to be autobiographical, as he explains during the gig. For instance, the song “Another Life” was written for a longtime friend of his who is struggling with alcohol problems.
The sound he creates, using only his voice and various techniques on the guitar is really nice and draws you into the music. There’s no need for any other instruments, strings and percussions on the guitar intertwine themselves with Will Robert‘s voice creating a special acoustic atmosphere. His style reminds me of Ed Sheeran, resembling more to Ben Howard for the guitar technique.

He plays a beautiful cover of “Flaws” by Bastille, very good choice, one of my personal favourite of this band. He changes the rhythm a bit and slows it down, it sounds great and makes you want to sing along to it!

The last song he plays is “City Lights”, single taken from his new album Transitions (2014), he takes his guitar and lays it over his lap and starts hitting on its body, doing so he creates an incredible sound topped with his voice and the lyrics.

An artist definitely worth checking out, he is also a really cool and down to earth lad, me and my friend bought his album at the end of the gig and he cared to sign it and had a chat with us! 🙂

Paolo Nutini, Auditorium Stravinsky, Montreux Jazz Festival, 09.07.2015

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The Montreux Jazz Festival director, Mathieu Jaton comes on stage and presents Alabama Shakes, he introduces them by saying that the unforgettable founder of the festival, Claude Nobs, who passed away in 2013 loved their music and had invited them to play Montreux Jazz in 2012.

20:05-21:13 Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes are 8 on stage, including 3 vocalists (a guy and two girls).

The lead singer Brittany Howard has an incredible voice with a black print. She is very expressive and showing emotions when singing, which makes the concert even more involving.
They repertoire counts many broken-hearted love songs sung with an incredible passion and transport. Alabama truly shakes, the sounds of the South are present in their music, with also a touch of old school rock and funk! And the voice of the singer, oh that voice, is simply supernatural!

She shares a touching message for Claude Nobs whom they became friends with when they came to Montreux Jazz Festival in 2012! This entire set is dedicated to him says the charismatic singer.
Ranging between guitar riffs on the edge of southern rock and mighty choruses, as well as going into some deep meaning lyrics sung with dedication, Alabama Shakes manage to touch you deeply as well as stun the public.
A very talented band!

Mathieu Jaton comes on stage once again to introduce Paolo Nutini saying that he first was invited in Montreux when he was only 19, then he came back in 2012 and well tonight in 2015.

21:50-22:35 Paolo Nutini

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I must admit I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and am so excited to finally be seeing Paolo Nutini again!
His latest album Caustic Love (2014) brought him back at his highest, giving to his artistic life a more jazzy and funky touch.

When the interlude “Bus Talk” starts, the stage is still empty. Paolo Nutini’s band, formed by eight guys and a female vocalist enter the stage a little after. There are two guitarists, a drummer, three guys playing trombone, sax and trumpet, a bassist. Paolo makes his entrance after the interlude and starts singing “Scream (Funk My Life Up)”.

He plays mostly songs from his latest album Caustic Love (2014) which live are rearranged in an even more jazzy and funky way! This shows that he is a unique artist able to adapt his songs to live shows. His oldest songs are also played in an acoustic way or rearranged like “These Streets”, to which the audience joins in in the singing. His show is rendered interactive and colourful by the big screen covering the back of the stage, where videos of the concert and other footage as well as colourful animations are presented. At times the screen shows Paolo’s profile while singing, when he sort of screams the image in the back looks like the cover of his album Caustic Love, making it alive in a way.

Paolo often does a jazzy introduction with some vocalizes before he starts singing the songs! His voice is just brilliant and he can modulate it according to the song. His vocal chords vibrate with passion as on stage, like the singer of Alabama Shakes, he too manages to make the audience part of the emotions he puts in while singing. Not to forget that his band members and the female vocalist enrich the performance with their beautiful voices which can be heard in the background.

A beautiful piano intro announces the song “Diana”, and then the electric guitar slowly comes in while the drummer softly touches the plates. Paolo starts singing with dedication “Save your love, save your love” (on the album this phrase is present only once and hardly even audible because it’s just whispered at the beginning of the song). It is truly amazing and then suddenly he stops and starts singing “Diana” from the second verse “Drowning in you” as the screen in the back lights up and shows a woman’s face. Paolo changes the rhythm of the song, his eyes are often closed and he looks concentrated, and then he goes on with the beautiful falsetto in the refrain. You can find the live video here: http://www.montreuxjazz.com/live-selection-paolo-nutini-diana-09-july-2015

“One Day” is another brilliant song taken from his last album. He sings it with his never-ending passion and it is indeed soulful.
The Scottish singer is really friendly with the public and jokes with them, responding to the “You are beautiful!” and “I love you” with a cute smile.
During the amazing “Iron Sky” he stops singing to let Charlie Chaplin in the footage of The Great Dictator speak, the scene where he plays with the world balloon is shown along with his famous speech. A truly enchanting moment.

Paolo Nutini‘s old tunes “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” and “New Shoes”, which are played one after the other in a sort of medley, are also revisited in a different key, slower and more rappy-like. “Pencil Full Of Lead” is slowed down as well. All these changes render the concert an entirely new experience for the audience in comparison to listening to the album alone. When Montreux Jazz claimed that this concert was to be “THE event for feverishly soulful music” they didn’t lie, both Alabama Shakes and Paolo Nutini’s music gets straight to your heart, touching your deepest emotions, both for their lyrics and the passion and emotions these artists put in when they sing live. You need to see them live to believe…

Paolo Nutini, visibly emotional, also shares a thought for the unforgettable father of Montreux Jazz festival, Claude Nobs, saying that he was first invited by him and that sadly he is not here with us anymore…

After the encore Paolo and his band come back on stage playing some more songs. Afterwards Paolo remains on stage on his own, in a tete-a-tete with the audience where he plays some great acoustic versions of his songs, including the beautiful “Candy” to which the audience sings along.

Paolo Nutini leaves the audience with a touching solo acoustic version of  “Last Request”. He changes almost the entire rhythm of the song, making it hard for the audience to sing along, but at the same time creating something completely new and special. The public is completely silent until Paolo turns to a falsetto and makes some higher vocalizes and they respond with screams of awe. A smile on his face, he claps for the public at the end of the song and bids goodbye.

What an amazing artist we just had the chance to see!

Thanks to Paolo Nutini and obviously to Montreux Jazz Festival for inviting him once more, I’m pretty sure he will be back! 🙂


Setlist
:

Bus Talk (interlude)
Scream (Funk My Life Up)
Let Me Down Easy
Coming Up Easy
Alloway Grove
Jenny Don’t Be Hasty / New Shoes
Looking for Something
Better Man
These Streets
Diana
One Day
Cherry Blossom
Pencil Full of Lead
No Other Way
Iron Sky

Encore:
Tricks of the Trade
Numpty
Candy
Someone Like You
Last Request