Bon Dimanche! It’s written in graffiti on several buildings all over Rennes. Happy Sunday! Sunday is the day of rest for the French people and even our crew got to take a small break on the final day of filming during the Trans Musicales festival. Normally, we’re up by 6am, breakfast at 7, out the door by 8:30 and filming all day long. Sunday was a nice chance to take a walk around the ancient city of Rennes. The oldest building still standing reads 1505. The ancient corridor has the iconic crossbar dark wood with white plaster, each building precariously slanting one way or the other. The crooked buildings have so much charm, but it’s also amazing that people still live in these buildings. Our own modern American architecture makes me paranoid of the structural integrity of the old buildings until you notice that half of the buildings in the town are being renovated. It’s refreshing to see care for the preservation of history rather than tearing down at the sign of wear and tear and building anew. We got the check out the beautiful Christmas market and grab some fresh pastries from a local patisserie before heading to film the final two bands.
Our final filming site was Le Mairorie de Rennes, the City Hall. It is in the city center, directly across from the Opera where we filmed yesterday. The massive structure was designed in the mid 18th century by one of the architects that also designed Versailles. The room we occupied was absolutely gorgeous. The ceiling was gilt with gold, encircled by murals and bedazzled with the most resplendent chandeliers which lined the ceiling and went on to infinity when reflected on the mirrors on either side of the room.
Finnish band Talmud Beach was the second to last band of the festival that we recorded. Having elements of jangly indie blues reminiscent off The Cave Singers at times and then breaking into classic blues riffs on other songs that had us moving in our seats. The trio out of Helsinki was booked for Trans Musicales a little differently than most other groups – just being asked by a booker rather than how most bands had told us, through playing live shows directly for the festival programmer, Jean-Louis Brossard. They admitted to knowing very little about the festival except that it it often considered “the most important festival in France”. Good enough reason to say yes and check it out! Good thing they did, because they were super awesome.
The last band of the weekend was local four-piece, The Madcaps. Thomas Dahyot (guitar/vocals), Vincent Henri (guitar), Remi Peltier (drums) and Bastien Bruneau (bass) played an impressive set of 60s soul influenced rock a la The Kinks. The thing that really made them shine was their energy, especially from singer/guitarist Thomas Dahyot giving our camera crew quite the run around to keep up with his great energy and dance moves. It was a raucous, ripping set that was the perfect way to end our video series. Check out their latest record, Hot Sauce, available now.
The day ended with a champagne cheers, packed our gear and celebrated the KEXP and Trans Musicales crew that worked so hard over the last four days. We are so grateful for the wonderful support staff that we were provided that allowed the performances to shine and the bands to sound their best. We heard from people walking by our sessions just looking though the windows, to the people who happened to be working at the venues, to friends of our crew members how excited the residents of Rennes were that KEXP was working to champion the music from their region. This trip was so inspiring, invigorating, and an amazing way to connect with and celebrate bands we didn’t know previously. The Trans Musicales is truly a unique and special event that means so much to so many people and it was great to see an organization that shares the same values KEXP holds. It was the perfect partnership.
Thank you a million times over to our host and coordinator, Jeremy Méléard, and our local production crew of Gwen, Julian, Sebastian, and JM. They made it so easy for us to capture all of this amazing content and ended up becoming part of the KEXP family. Trans Musicales, Rennes, and France are a creative force that do a great service to the music community and I am so glad that we were a part of it.
We’ll let you know when you can see these amazing sessions, and in the meantime, tune in to hear songs from the over 20 new records I’m flying home with tomorrow when I get back on the air. Now for the long journey home to edit all of the great content we will be releasing to you in the new year. Stayed tuned!
PS – Here’s the final outtake video: