At Rock en Seine, the victory of the Arctic Monkeys, giants of the stadium of greatness

Three years after the last edition of the festival in Paris, the pandemic obliged, the British headliner of this first night gave an incandescent performance, supported by the enthusiasm of an audience of white hot fans.

“Boys don’t know but little girls understand…” (“Boys do not know, but little girls understand…”). Jim Morrison’s words echoed in our heads yesterday afternoon during the first day of Rock en Seine. Three years later, due to the pandemic, the last edition of The Cure, Major Lazer and Aphex Twin as headliners, the Parisian rendezvous ritual marked its great return with a clear day under the sign of the “rock”, sometimes forgotten, in its title. . The best British flower of the genre is programmed, with the now quasi-veteran of the Arctic Monkeys and two of their bravest dolphins, Idles and Fontaines DC Without forgetting, at the opening of the ball, the extraordinary Yard Act , from Leeds, combining self-assurance and cheeky naturalness, great songs and decibels. Their pop-rap has the cutting edge of Gang of Four, the recklessness of The Fall and the enthusiasm, well, of the Arctic Monkeys in the beginning, with a singer with the head of a schoolboy but with a good tongue, which fully occupies the scene without falling into clichés.

A performance almost against the grain, under the sun of Saint-Cloud, from the artists offered at the same time, from the young American Gayle, trash but not too much, to the kind troublemaker who Yungblud, from cute Beabadoobee to Inhaler and his heroic. rock used (led by Bono’s son, CQFD). The crowd, dominated by an impressive group of young women with the appearance of good punkettes, is at the party.

We prefer to check all the good that we have already imagined Requin Chagrin and its unique rock with the taste of 80, which has definitely grown and won, in two years, the presence of the stage. And put hopes on the mixed Irish quintet NewDad, with songs that, there, too, are finally getting attention.

DC fountain, impressive power

At night, serious things can begin. With the entrance to the main stage of thunderous Idles. It is surprising and very touching to see the speed with which this group, generous but not very consensual, has achieved such a status. But his heavy, abrasive, no-frills rock perfectly complements and underlines Joe Talbot’s rough, growling vocals. If the Idles lost some of the explosive impact of their performances in small venues or in settings less committed to their cause, they managed to maintain their anger, their passion and even a touch of madness (the guitarist who wears a dress still continues to perform. , on stage or planned in the heart of the public).

The challenge of staying true to its unbroken line in the face of giant festivals also awaits Fontaines DC, which has succeeded with the class and brilliance it has shown since its inception. Always clear, Grian Chatten and his colleagues did not fall into the trap of the unified set. They attack flat out – while their last and great album slowed down the tempo considerably – but avoid easy songs. It was only gradually that the group, led by a more mobile singer in the middle of an interesting electrical deluge, ended up drawing its deadly cartridges: Big, Jackie Down the Line hope Men of a Better Land. To finish with the apotheosis of lightning I love you, with its slow pace, killer melody and jaw-dropping build-up.

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Looking at the number gathered to applaud the great return of the Arctic Monkeys, victory was assured. The question is to know if the group, which holds together with Alex Turner the most skilled author of its generation and which never disappoints on the disc, will fall again into the error of its last existence, where a certain knowledge and efficiency. adapted to very large spaces (especially by Americans) made them lose a little of their former unbridled anger.

Arctic Monkeys at Rock en Seine, Thursday August 25.

Photo by Olivier Hoffschir

Instead of following the slope of a less accessible last album, the Arctic Monkeys attacked Do I want to know?, the opening title ofAM, undoubtedly their masterpiece to date, and the game was immediately won. This time it comes from the group, enriched by two keyboards and a percussionist, a palpable joy to finally find the stage and their public, on the eve of the publication of a new album in October . Turner, with his eternal body of a young first man with false airs of the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and his beautiful voice with such personal intonations, there, 100% who were present, moved and inspired by thousands of fans who chorused each other. of titles chained without rest – an anthology drawing from the group’s entire discography, the lion’s share reserved for A.M. And the proposed new song, I’m Not Quite Where I Think, nothing was done to discourage the people. This track confirms the more funk and soulful direction announced for the upcoming album, which should extend the path taken by the Monkeys, with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, in the footsteps of David Bowie. We should be on the side of Young Americans or to Station-to-Station. A rather reassuring development. The Arctic Monkeys may have become giants in stadiums, they are not yet done with the change of intelligence, and have always avoided sinking into ease. The only truly good recipe that lasts for greatness. Maybe the young afternoon performers can learn a lesson from this.

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