Gig reports: Mika @ Festival Fête du Bruit, Landerneau, France 8/2015
On my way back home from Southern France after seeing the last two festivals for the summer festival season. I really enjoyed this trip. I’ve seen dozens of Mika shows in France and like it how familiar everything has become and enjoy seeing so many faces I’ve known for years already.
To be honest festivals are generally hard. Messy, big areas with thousands of drunken people, most times located far away from everything, the weather always burning hot or pouring rain. I carry my camera with me because with a bit of luck festivals offer a very rare possibility to take photos with a bigger camera, sometimes even in day light which is the biggest luxury I know and it’s stressful and means constant worry about the security. Festivals are also often chaotic and you never know if you manage to get a good spot or not.
However, when things go well the show is always fantastic. Mika is brilliant at entertaining big crowds and I love watching how the audience gives him energy and how he gives all his energy to the people during the show. When he is the last performer or the only act for the evening the gig is normal length and like his usual shows except outdoors and always well worth traveling.
This time I saw two wonderful shows. Rochefort was a long, proper Mika show with several new songs. Landerneau was a festival set but felt longer and much more energetic than the Belgian one with lots of crazy, funny details.
It was difficult to find a public transportation from Rochefort to Landerneau but I was lucky and got a ride from Corinne and his husband. A huge thank you to them both for being so helpful, couldn’t have done this otherwise. We slept a couple of hours in Corinne’s holiday house and arrived Landerneau around noon. The gates were opened at 2 pm and everything was relaxed and we went in trying to decide where to stay.
The Landerneau venue was different compared to Rochefort and didn’t have a proper front row. The stage was high with a little extension (just like in Belgium) and I wanted to stay in front of it (and would have obviously got much better pictures from there) but was too short to see anything else than the extension and didn’t want to risk the show in case the security tells strict no to taking photos and eventually went to the left corner to see also the piano. Regretted it a bit during the gig but enjoyed seeing the piano and festivals are always tricky this way, it’s very difficult to know the view in advance.
The line-up was really bad and not my taste at all. I bought food immediately after going in but the crowd started to pack around the stage soon after the program started and after that it was simply not possible to leave our spots even for toilets without losing them so I just tried to concentrate on every artist. I had seen Lily Woods a couple of times before so I knew some of their songs and enjoyed their performance (and loved her outfit!) but found the reggae bands before and after them a torture. The first band was quite experimental and had a lovely message (love and equality to everyone) but sounded absolutely awful and I couldn’t understand who let them on stage and literally thought ”just shoot me now” when saw another reggae band coming on stage with their big woolly hats.
I simply dislike reggae music unless it’s nicely hidden in pop and find the lazy rhythm irritating. However, I always try to be polite and supportive towards every festival act because I feel it’s my responsibility if I take a front row place and sometimes genuinely love discovering new music I would otherwise never listen to. For example I absolutely loved the punk band in Belgium and Cristophe Willem in Rochefort even neither of them my usual style of music, just really liked their stage performances. This time I really tried to smile and awkwardly danced along while listening to the second reggae band but the singer still totally picked my vibe and kept giving intense looks and raising his eyebrows and made me feel incredibly embarrassed. Thousands and thousands of people and the singer immediately read my real feelings? I hope it’s equally obvious to Mika that I love his music.
The show in Landerneau was fantastic. Mika started with Relax and no matter how typical it is I can’t imagine any song being a better start for a Mika show. After Relax he did Talk About You and Big Girl and after that his usual festival set but can’t remember the exact set list or order because paid so much attention to everything happening on stage.
The crowd was drunk and wild and Mika did crazy, funny things to keep it entertained taking a lot of contact with people talking especially to a random guy in a pink bunny suit, wearing a bunny hat offered to him and then asking the bunny guy to dance on stage with him. A lot of interaction with the band, loved it! Teasing Max several times, taking Tim’s hat, joking with Curtis who was lying on the piano and laughing so hard he could hardly play his saxophone. A lot of chatting with the audience and sweet attention and smiles to the fans. At some point he suddenly had women’s bra in his hand. He gave them a couple of confused looks and hang them in the microphone and later offered to our direction (my face being “noooo, do not throw that underwear”). A lot of silly dancing and every way a very colorful, cheerful festival performance.
I took photos and laughed at everything and – again – focused carefully on some songs to remember them later. I was especially happy about my live favorite Boum Boum Boum because haven’t heard it for a while and now heard it two nights in row and the new Love Today which is even more intense than earlier, not sure how that’s even possible. After the show he stopped quickly to say thank you to the French fans he knows well, saw me and gave a quick handshake and that was very polite and sweet. More about these festivals when back home.