Choice time at the FME


A spoiled festival-goer lives in a dilemma, as proved by the poster for Saturday evening at the Festival de musique emergente (FME) in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Three heartbreaking choices were offered to us: the explosive Hôtesses d’Hilaire on the Guinguette stage at Edmund’s, Les Louanges at the Petit Théâtre, or even the international guests Animal Collective on the main stage of the main site. Heartbreaking, we tell you!

Somewhere in the night from Friday to Saturday, Rouyn-Noranda changed seasons. The almost scorching weather gave way to intense showers accompanied by a drop of 50 degrees Celsius – the temperature felt, for real, under our sweaters and our toque. At least the rain stopped falling in the early afternoon, leaving us with the clouds and the cold to enjoy the Animal Collective concert, in front of a few thousand spectators, no more.

It was our choice of the evening, and we will live with it. The American quartet (Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin), heralds of experimental pop, were a bold choice for a Saturday night headliner at a festival built on solid rock, but which over the years and trends, opened up to other popular styles, including hip-hop. But avant-garde psychedelic pop songs? The site was less crowded than the day before for LOUD, Koriass and Sarahmée, but the public was interested and curious, if not completely carried away by the pleasant, but somewhat wise, performance.

Animal Collective offered an almost uninterrupted singing tour, each song drawn from its rich repertoire – Time Skiffs, his eleventh studio album, was released last February – blending together in a succession of warm vocal harmonies, impressionistic synthesizer orchestrations and moving rhythms. The group did not even seek to serve the best known of its repertoire, picking from everywhere, with at least one essential of its essential Merriweather Post Paviliona cult album released in 2009. Halfway through, the band picked up the pace, embellishing their lacy psyche-pop with a meatier rhythm, but the crowd nodded more than it danced.

Quite a different atmosphere at the Petit Théâtre for Les Louanges, Lydia Képinski and Fernie: the evening was festive, from Fernie onwards, who took advantage of the power of attraction of the other two to offer her R & B song to a full house, the festival-goers having had the wisdom to arrive early to make sure you don’t get turned away at the entrance. Accompanied by a drummer and bassist (and computer-triggered musical tracks), the Montreal singer-songwriter wowed the audience with his sometimes poignant, often offhand love songs. He performed several unreleased songs from an album to be released in a few months, which Patrick Watson collaborated on: watch it.

Képinski raised the temperature a few degrees with his four musicians, delivering the songs from his excellent album with aplomb. Since, released last April. She too had the fire in her stomach, and the public gave it back to her: concert in crescendo of intensity until the whole crowd danced on rhythms going from pop to electro to house. She left an energized crowd in the hands of Les Praises.

The afternoon was shared between the retro instrumental pop of Ping Pong Go and the heartbreaking country-pop song of the American Bria, a singer with a deep, cracked and bewitching voice that reminds us as much of the resigned sweetness of the Cowboys. Junkies than the existential drama of Siouxie & The Banshees, an amalgam that we don’t often hear and that suited him like a glove.

And between the two, a voice that we had to listen to, that of Matiu, too cramped at 5 p.m. at the café bistro l’Abstracto, which has been hosting FME happy hours for 20 years. The singer-songwriter from Maliotenam – his musicians had driven 17 hours to reach Rouyn-Noranda from Sept-Îles! – offered the songs from his album for the first time Tipatshimushtunan (“Tell us” in Innu) published last week. We found this guy so friendly, in love with folk, rock, country, his mother and his young daughter, with everything he sings to us, in short, on this beautiful album produced by Louis-Jean Cormier. He also sings to us about things that are difficult to hear, for the first time: two years of pandemic and collective awareness of our relations with the First Nations have made the musician reflect, whose gravelly voice is now also used to express grieved feelings. , as necessary for us to listen as for him to say. Powerful album, superb concert.

It was therefore a well-stocked Saturday which we took advantage of without however being able to drive out of our minds the concert, delivered the night before, of our new favorite group: Gargäntua.

It was 1 o’clock in the morning when, in the depths of the Petit Théâtre, two sinister musicians wearing black cassocks and made up like the members of a black metal band came onto the small stage, one operating various synthesizers and rhythms, the other clutching a microphone. It was announced as a techno hardcore black mass, and this is the first impression that the French duo wanted to leave us, who sing in French.

In the second song, an indictment against the consumption of alcohol, we wonder if they would not be sticking their tongues out at us, there, with their moralistic tone and their brutal, but dancing rhythms. The third song evokes the drift of a hopeless youth as they seem to have experienced it, “in the Walkman, the last Lavillier”, with a refrain rejoicing that at least, “we have the associative places / The associative places For the young ! “, and there everyone cracks: these guys are famous jokers, with their simple and effective stage accessories and their air of tongue-in-cheek. Everything in the second degree, at full throttle with borderline gabber techno, texts stuffed with sarcasm and absurdity. It was great – the band is performing again this Sunday evening, at the Society for Arts and Technology, during the MEG festival.

Philippe Renaud is the guest of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Emerging Music Festival.

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