Early morning after a sleepless night in La Rochelle. Long train journey through Paris-Lyon-Aix-Les-Bains. Tucked between magnificent mountains and the depths of Lac du Bourget, the biggest festival stage we’ve ever seen, looking like the carcass of an oil refinery in Romania. Two bands can play there, side by side, they look like tiny insects dwarfed by the towering structure. People start filling in the arena under the harsh sunlight, some of them doze off on the grass, some couples lie down kissing in the dirt, between puddles of muddy water and patches of gravel and dust. Quiet apocalypse. The sound emanating from the stage is unbearably loud, it physically shatters the eardrums. Inside the bottle in my hand, the water starts to vibrate and shake because of the infra-bass frequencies. We suppose the water contained in our bodies is shaking, too. While we wait, colourful american entertainers step out of an army of tour buses and invade the backstage area. We count around 15 double-story coaches parked behind the stage, they’re all painted black or grey, like a military armada ready to crush the enemy. We feel a bit ridiculous and vulnerable with our little van. As we try to soundcheck, a rock band is performing on the neighbouring stage, 10 meters away, so loud that it is virtually impossible to hear a single note from our poor little acoustic instruments. We give up. For fun, we play-back on their songs. Then, a mere 5 minutes after they’re finished, it’s our turn. Maximum efficiency and productivity: this is fordism applied to the musical world. Somehow, our gig goes well even though we can’t seem to really hear each other. The audience starts waving their arms up in the air like at a stadium rock show. 25000 people. They really look like a field of wheat blown by the wind. Terrence Malick again?
Moriarty on tour, Musilac Festival, Aix-Les-Bains, 15.07.12.