Trans Musicales: Day Four

Trans Musicales
12/10/2017
DJ Morgan

Today is our last day in Rennes filming bands during Trans Musicales. We woke up early and headed back to the Rennes Museum of Fine Arts and started setting up for our last two bands of the week.

Rennes Museum of Fine Arts
Rennes Museum of Fine Arts

UK quartet Eight Rounds Rapid were the first band of the day. Based in Essex, Eight Rounds Rapid formed in 2012 and just released their second album Objet D’Art in March of this year. They played a set of straightforward English punk with clear blues roots. Singer David Alexander hollers out over  power chords and 12 bar scales, busting out the harmonica on a couple songs. He told me after the set that Jules (bass), Simon (guitar), and Lee (drums) have been friends for a long time and started making music they all dug. Once they released their first album and played a couple of hometown gigs, they started getting some attention and have been invited a few times to play around France, Germany, and the the UK. He had no expectation that the band would get any attention, but they have been enjoying the fact that they are picking up fans along the way and are excited to be releasing music. Check out their fun set once we release the video.

 

Eight Rounds Rapid
Eight Rounds Rapid - Photo by Justin Wilmore

Since we only have two bands today, we were able to have a couple hours in between filming to go out and walk around Rennes. The last three days have been wall to wall sessions starting after breakfast and going through till 7 or 8pm, so we haven’t had a chance to go see the town. Last year we found out they have a Christmas market in Rennes around the holidays with delicious food, drinks, and shops so we went out to find it again this year. As we walked, we went through the old town. Rennes has medieval roots, with the oldest standing building dating back to 1505 and the rest of the old buildings get renovated and preserved every few years to make sure the history lasts.    

St. Ann Cathedral
St. Ann Cathedral

We saw the Porte Mordelaises, which was once the fortified gateway into the town that dates back to 1440 and was built over an original wall that was built in the 3rd century, and other cool old buildings, cathedrals, and the like.

Porte Mordelaises
Porte Mordelaises

Christmas town! We had the greatest ham and raclette cheese sandwiches ever. Then we went to a patisserie for delicious pastries. Because why not.

Christmas Market
Christmas Market

Sandwich
Ham and cheese sandwich

IMG_0972
Patisserie

The final band of the trip was local quartet Le Groupe Obscur, who have been friends for a long time and have been playing together as this band since 2012. As we found out last year during our time at Trans Musicales, Rennes has a tradition of being interested in the English music scene since the region of Brittany is so close to the UK that historically they could pick up the BBC from their radios. Le Groupe Obscur are definitely influenced by the UK music scene, particularly the bands on the 4AD label. They are very reminiscent of Cocteau Twins, with an awesome 1980s dream pop sound. They have even invented their own language (also reminiscent of Cocteau’s Elizabeth Fraiser often singing in gibberish) of between 300-500 words, including conjugated verbs, called The Obscurian (L’Obscurien) which they have started incorporating into their songs. Not only do they have strong song writing and vocals, but they have created an aesthetic with cool costumes and makeup, and even handmade merch items like tarot cards, cloth CD bags, and pins. They currently only have a few songs on Bandcamp at the moment but have an album's worth of songs in the can that they are working to get recorded and released in the near future. I’m really looking forward to the release of this session!

Le Groupe Obscur
Le Groupe Obscur - Photo by Justin Wilmore

 

Le Groupe Obscur
Le Groupe Obscur

Well, that wraps up another amazing year at Trans Musicales. A HUGE thank you to our killer team here in France: our host and coordinator, Jeremy Méléard, and our local production crew of Jean-Marc, Julian, Alex, and Jean Baptiste, and of course Jean-Louis Brossard and the entire Trans Musicales team. The amount of work and care that goes into this festival every year for the last 39 years is truly inspiring and we are honored to have been invited back to be a a part of it. Here's to next year!

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