This week State packs its bags and jets off to France to attend Europavox, a neat little music festival taking place in the town of Clermont-Ferrand. Now in its fourth year, the festival manifests itself as a series of concerts held in venues around Clermont and the surrounding area to showcase the finest European musical talent. And if that wasn’t enough, Europavox also plays host to an industry convention, where indie music execs from across the continent get together to wheel and deal.
Here’s just some of the acts we’re looking forward to:
With -Intimacy Remixed’ just having hit the shelves, Bloc Party’s relentless touring schedule sees them rolling into Clermont-Ferrand on May 30th for a headline performance. One of the more established acts appearing at the festival, Bloc Party first surfaced in 2005 with the release of their critically acclaimed debut, -Silent Alarm’. Two more studio albums have followed since then – 2007’s -A Weekend in the City’ and last year’s -Intimacy’ – along with rave reviews, a flurry of remixes and a reputation as an explosive live act.
Swedish singer/songwriter Emil SvanÃ¤ngen has come a long way from selling homemade CD-Rs at gigs. Having signed with the legendary Sub Pop label in 2006, he’s toured North America with Low and Of Montreal, winning a legion of fans along the way. His airy, laid back songs are reminiscent of fellow countryman JosÃ© GonzÃ¡les at times but SvanÃ¤ngen possesses a vocal delivery and production quality that’s all his own. His latest album, -Dear John’, was released in March to generally positive reviews. Loney Dear play Europavox on May 31st.
Declan de Barra
Declan de Barra flies the flag for Ireland at this year’s edition of Europavox. The singer, who previously performed with Australian group Clann ZÃº, now has a couple of solo recordings under his belt, namely -Song of a Thousand Birds’ and -A Fire to Scare the Sun’. His haunting, dark folk songs are sure to win over new fans when he plays the festival on May 31st.
It’s hard to avoid MaxÃ¯mo Park at the moment, with current single -The Kids Are Sick Again’ receiving its fair share of exposure on radio and TV. Having first entered the public eye in 2005 with the infectious single -Apply Some Pressure’, the band then found their first album, -A Certain Trigger’, being nominated for the Mercury Prize. A sell-out UK tour is testament to the band’s ever-increasing popularity and proves that they’re more than just a flash in the pan. The Newcastle quintet will be performing on May 29th to promote their latest effort, -Quicken the Heart’.
Anita Blay, aka Thecocknbullkid, was virtually anonymous a few months ago but she’s hot property now, thanks to the success of her two singles to date – -On My Own’ and -I’m Not Sorry’. She’s been described as the lovechild of Morrissey and Neneh Cherry, which isn’t surprising as she fuses influences as diverse as Blondie, The Knife and East 17 to create her own addictive sound. Blay will be performing on May 29th, two nights after her appearance at the Heineken Green Spheres show in Waterford.
French chanteuse Emily Louizeau makes an appearance at the festival on May 30th. Known for her collaborations with Andrew Bird, Louizeau’s brand of acoustic pop has a distinctly Gallic flavour that provides the perfect soundtrack for those long summer evenings. Her set will comprise of songs from her two albums to date,-L’autre Bout du Monde’ and the recently released -Pays Sauvage’, with perhaps one or two surprises thrown in.
Ebony Thomas ditched a promising acting career to follow her musical instincts and hasn’t looked back. Her early singles, in particular -Don’t Fart With My Heart’, had the critics drooling and culminated in performances at Glastonbury in 2007 and 2008. Her debut album, -Bones Of My Bones’ was released in April accompanied by the single, -The Muzik’. Ebony Bones takes to the stage in Clermont-Ferrand on May 29th.
Norwegian synth-poppers Casiokids write songs in their native tongue, which has given them the distinction of having the first ever Norwegian language pop single to be released in the UK. Their live show is an elaborate affair, comprising of giant puppets, video projections and shadow theatre that all blends seamlessly with their catchy tunes. Casiokids will perform at Europavox on May 31st and they’ll also be heading to Ireland to play Oxegen on July 12th.
Soap & Skin
At just 18 years old, Austrian singer Anja Plaschg is possibly the youngest performer at Europavox this year. Her debut album, -Lovetune for the Vacuum’ is an uneasy listen, with a gothic theme of tragedy and depression running throughout. She’ll attempt to transfer this to a live setting when she plays on May 30th. It’s a performance that may have us reaching for the Prozac but it should be worth it!
After his set at this year’s Trinity Ball, French electro legend Pascal Arbez needs no introduction. Responsible for club anthems such as -La Rock 01′, -My Friend Dario’ and -Poney’, Arbez busies himself playing clubs around the globe and producing remixes for other artists. Vitalic is th main event on May 31st as he brings the curtain down on Europavox 2009 with a set lasting well into the early hours.
Stay on State.ie for daily updates from the festival over the weekend….