The Prodigy rampaged their way through Eastern France yesterday as Les Eurockéennes de Belfort got off to a thumping start. Here's how things unfolded.
After tearing through Rock Werchter the night before and having failed to sell out, Les Eurockéennes de Belfort 2009 were no doubt praying for the British threesome to deliver a similar whack to the face as they took to the festival`s main stage last night.
What a sucker punch it proved to be.
How a bunch of fourty-somethings can create a beast of that intensity is beyond even a frenchman's philosphical fatholings but, with timeless classics like 'Breathe' and 'Smack My Bitch Up' it is a little easier to understand.
The band rumbled through the two at either extremity of a set which included newbies such as 'Omen' and 'Invaders Must Die'. As is customary, Keith took to solo vocal for 'Firestarter' before rejoining forces with Maxim to instigate further mayhem through finale 'Out of Space'. The frenetic crowd was made to crouch before the beat dropped and drums went flying left, right and centre. "Je suis aux anges – I am in heaven" cried one slightly masochistic punter after being beaten all shades of black and blue in the mother of all pits. Sums it up nicely I think.
Preceding The Prodigy were west coast legends and self professed masters of marijuana Cypress Hill – last minute replacements for French hip-hoppers NTM, whose front man couldn't be released from jail for the gig. They were more than worthy substitutes, blowing the top right off Les Eurockéennes with hits 'Insane In The Brain and 'How I Could Just Kill A Man'. 'Doctor Greenthumb' was also lapped up after Sen Dog took a massive toke and spluttered the need for a ledical practitioner whilst 'Rap Superstar' brought on the first bouts of nocturnal moshing.
Seeing the night off was Diplo, one of the many electro artists popping in this weekend to dish out some of France's favourite beats The beautiful beach stage was his as many kept on shape throwing whilst others chose to sit on the sand and bop along. Cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' went down a storm alongside a few more illustrious remixes. Like wine and cheese electro pretty much belongs to the French and you can tell. The crowd loved it.
With NTM unavailable Sefyu was given the task of carrying the French hip-hop torch. He bigged up his missing brothers in arms a few times on his way through his Friday afternoon set. Following he French hip-hop formula he sang about the tough times in songs like 'Molotov4'. He hasn't been on the scene all that long but was still widely appreciated by those who were basking in the sun (yes, our weather predictions were thankfully wrong). The show didn't offer up anything overly fantastic though as he was there as understudy to much bigger rap troupe.
Finally, the opening of proceedings on the Main Stage was honourably taken up by French punk-jesters Les Wampas. With his skinny pink trousers front man Didier Wampas looked more like a mischievous cartoon character than a hard-rocking icon as the band whipped through favourites 'Manu Chao' and 'Ce Soir C'est Noel'. uring ' Les Bottes Rouges' he got the crozd to transport him round on a chair whilst threatening to beat every person who touched his new shoes. He left the audience wih the following words and sloppy ones: "Les Wampas invented rock'n'roll for you my lovely children. Kiiss, kiiss, kiiss". I was left wondering how to quote rockers with a french accent.
Today, 4 July, the likes of Pete Doherty, La Roux, The Temper Trap, Birdy Nam Nam and the mighty Kanye West take to the stages in Eastern France. Stay posted to see how they got on.