A week surrounded by the Swiss Mountains while listening to awesome fuzzy bands ⛰️??
I first heard about the Palp Festival in Switzerland while I was randomly scrolling my Facebook feed, I first saw a picture from the previous year, a band playing in the middle of the mountains, I thought “Damn that’s looking cool!“. Then I went to dig a little bit deeper about the lineup, the organization, and said to myself “Ooooosh. I need to go there. It seems amazing, and the lineup is crazy!“.
On a side note, the Palp Festival is in fact not only doing this fuzzy event, it’s more a cultural thing in the region of the Val de Bagnes in Switzerland, from May to September, with a lot of various events and activities during that period. This week the event I attended is called “Rocklette”, mainly Rock gigs, but there is also for example the “Electrolette” doing mainly, as you guessed it, Electro music gigs. You can have way more info about this very interesting organization on their website.
So after having a positive reply from the organizers asking if they would be interested in me covering the festival for More Fuzz, I booked a cheap Airbnb, a bus to Geneve, and Palp Festival here I come !
My journey didn’t really start on a good note, because I got robbed one of my bag in park in Geneve while I was resting… Those mofos took my tablet, and most importantly all my rings I acquired along the years, no real monetary value, but a huge sentimental loss… But don’t get yourself down Mr. Fuzz, a week full of fuzz and beautiful mountains awaits you 🙂
Saturday – Couvert du Goly
The weather didn’t look that good for this first day, a bit of rain while I was going up the mountain where the gigs were going to happen… Though it kinda stopped for the beginning of the first gig. We still had a huge fog all around, but in the end, it gave a very mystical atmosphere, surrounded by giant pine trees and mountains, an interesting (and challenging) setting for taking pictures.
Tim & The Thieves
The locals of Tim & The Thieves were the first band to launch this first day of the Rocklette. And immediately I feel like their Rock’n’Roll attitude will please me. A strong Heavy Blues approach with fat fuzzy riffs reminding me to some degrees one of my favorite band ever, The Heavy Eyes. It’s catchy, it’s well executed, I can only recommend you to check out their last album from 2018.
Mars Red Sky
And now it’s time for my mates to deliver their unique atmospheric Stoner/Heavy Psych to the Palp Festival audience. I must admit I’ve seen them countless times, but this time the setting was quite different from all the other times I saw Mars Red Sky : that thick mist surrounding them, those gigantic pine trees and sometimes a glimpse of the mountains in the background, it was totally mystic and was the perfect match to their otherworldly music.
So yeah, they delivered a great performance, mixing old & new songs (by the way, I had the chance to listen to their upcoming album “The Task Etnernal” get ready to be blown away one more time!), too bad they had to leave so fast after their gig, would have been great to hang out even more together 😉
I never heard of this English band even if they seem to have quite a big following, and damn I wonder why I didn’t discover them sooner! Definitely a band to see live, the trio blasts a crazy Rock’n’Roll energy ala The Stooges or Sonic Youth to give you some references. Oliver Henry Burslem the singer-guitarist is a good showman, doing some crazy shit with his axe and moving everywhere, will still hitting the right notes, I was overall happily impressed!
I was impatiently waiting for the German masters of the Heavy-Psych genre to come up on stage, and when Stefan Koglek said they were going to start with “Peace Brothers & Sisters” I couldn’t avoid having a faint smile 😉 Again, it was not my first time seeing the guys, but in this environment it was truly something amazing, and I must say I envy all the people who discovered them for the first time in this beautiful landscape.
With more than one hour of show, it could honestly have lasted 2 hours more I wouldn’t have mind. They will always have a place in my heart, they just deliver so many emotions that touch me deeply… Colour Haze is Love.
Sunday – Couvert du Goly
My Airbnb was just 5 minutes by foot from the cable car station that took the festivalgoers to the gigs’ place, and the weather looked way better today! Indeed people who live in the mountains know how quick the weather can change and it was a good surprise to have a warm sun hitting my head while I was walking to the site 🙂
It was the first venture on the Old Continent for the Argentinian trio, and after having played at the unique Lake on Fire Festival, being here around the Swiss mountains, I must say they can be quite happy of the gigs they manage to find!
I really enjoyed their set, it’s the kind of instrumental Heavy-Psych I really dig, long build-ups, alternating between light eery and melodic moments and way heavier and nastier riffs. They create a deep atmosphere with their music, inviting your mind to drift away, and when you’re surrounded by those beautiful mountains it’s even easier!
Come back soon guys 🙂
For my 3rd time seeing the Japanese Psych phenomenon, it was again in a perfect atmosphere (first time was at Freak Valley Festival in Germany and 2nd time was at Desert Daze Festival in California), so how can I dislike their performance ? I mean, if you top up their dreamy, summerish vibe with this setting it can only be awesome!
And despite the weird rhythms and use of many instruments, they still manage to be so clean and tight in the execution, it’s an amazing experience I can assure you 🙂
I’m not the biggest Black Mountain fan, I mean I like their music, but it’s not a band I often come back to. It was also my first time seeing them, and honestly, while I preferred the 2 other acts of the day, I still enjoyed a lot their show.
What’s interesting with them is they have a wide variety of influences across all their songs. It can either be really fuzzy & energetic, and other times way more psychedelic like one of my favorite from their gig, the last song of their previous album, the floydish “Space to Bakersfield” which was a really good fit for the atmosphere.
Special mention to Rachel Fannan from Sleepy Sun who joined the band with this year album “Destroyer”, she has some sick moves, a beautiful smile and most of all a wonderful voice 🙂
Monday – Raclett’House
Unfortunately the organization had to relocate today’s gigs to a covered place due to heavy pouring rain… A tent had been set up just next to one of the most famous restaurants of the Bagnes Valley, the “Raclett’House”.
These guys are apparently a true institution here, tourists are coming from all over the world to taste their raclette cheese, and indeed they were the official partners of the Palp Festival to serve raclettes to the festivalgoers at every gig locations.
And I can tell you one thing, their raclette was indeed awesome! I still missed some cold meats along with it (it was only served with potatoes, oignons and pickles), but was still very tasty! I can tell you I almost eat raclette every day of the festival ?
I’ll be quick with the US quintet, while there were some interesting moments, overall their music doesn’t touch me that much. Or too soft or too noisy and experimental ? Well, we each have our own tastes, I’m sure some people enjoyed it though, just not my cup of tea ?
Too bad mother nature decided to drop rain on us and thus having to go to a covered place for the day, because I really wanted to experience an OM gig in the middle of nature with the sun hitting my face while lying on the grass. Indeed, and I know some people will hate me saying this, but I don’t find OM very interesting live. I mean actually staying front row, watching the musicians like I usually do.
With OM, as their name suggests, I feel it’s more appropriate to just enjoy the sound and let the music guide your mind and body, because ultimately, and again sorry, their songs almost all sound the same to me. So yeah of course, it’s cool to watch Al Cisneros playing the bass as he does, watch Emil Amos hitting hard those drums with sumptuous fills… But after one or two songs… Meh.
So yeah, OM was nice, just a bit disappointed once again. The 3rd gig I’m going to see them will be the good one right?!
Tuesday – Cabane Brunet
This location was, in my opinion, the most beautiful one. To access there was not easy though, from Bagnes it was at least an hour-long ride in a bus the organization had put up for free for the festivalgoers, but damn it’s worth it! Even the ride was nice and you can appreciate the view on the Swiss mountains, see beautiful cascades, even catch some wildlife like marmots if you’re lucky 🙂
When you arrive at the Cabane Brunet you’re at 2103m high! What awaits you is a stunning view of the Bagnes Valley, I couldn’t believe I was going to experience 2 gigs up here!
Tim Presley’s White Fence
The fog was still dense when Tim Presley and his musician started the first notes of their gig, and it stayed like that for the whole show. An atmosphere that fitted quite well with the quasi no-expression on the faces of each musician… Honestly, to me White Fence’s music was a bit too soft, and I’d even say… boring.
I believe they mostly played the new album out this year called “I Have to Feed Larry’s Hawk”, sounding very 60’s Psych Pop, Presley cites influences from The Kinks, I also heard some Oasis and Beatles influences, so yeah very British (even their haircut) for a US band 😀 So yeah, it’s not that it was bad, again just not my cup of tea ?
Another, apparently famous, band I didn’t know before coming to the Palp Festival. Again this time the weather fitted well with their joyful music, it was now sunny and hotter up here in the mountains.
I have to say I preferred way more The Growlers than White Fence, still pretty soft music but that Psychedelic Surf vibe felt more entertaining to me. And I think I was not alone as everybody had a huge smile on their faces ?
Brooks Nielsen, the frontman, has a good presence on stage and some nice moves, I guess he doesn’t have any problem to get groupies in his bed with such a sensual attitude ?
Wednesday – Barrage de Mauvoisin
And here we are for the 3rd official location of the festival (4th in reality because of the Monday at the Raclett’House), at the Mauvoision dam, this time a bit less “in the middle of the nature” because the stage was placed on a land art that was basically large circles of metal and some gravels on the ground. You still have a good view of the mountains though!
As for the lineup of this last day (for me, the next day the Rocklette continued at the same location), it was totally more into my taste than the previous day! Indeed with Monkey3, Naxatras and Kadavar I was in for a treat, let’s FUZZ ⚡
These guys are one of my favorite band ever and I was so psyched to see them again in this beautiful location! What’s funny is Monkey3 comes from Lausanne, a city in Switzerland not so far from the Palp Festival, so they were warmly welcomed by the crowd with a lot of people who seemed to already know them.
So how did it went ? Well, it was marvelous DOH! Even if Boris the guitarist told me after the show he was not really looking forward to that gig and prefers when they have good lights, I still personally really enjoyed it and my mind still traveled far away with their awesome Heavy-Psych.
And I must say being only a few centimeters from the stage and assisting to “Icarus” live with the mountains behind the guys was something truly mindblowing… Boris’ solo gives me chills every time on this song, oh my god it was intense ?
A perfect way to start the day, let’s get a raclette while waiting for Naxatras to set up 😉
First time for me to see the Greeks, honestly not the biggest fan, I mean their music is good but not nothing very special to my ears. So yeah, even if John had some trouble with his guitar that made the gig stop for at least 5 long minutes the rest was pretty nice to hear.
A classic Heavy-Psych vibe with some great grooves and interesting mind-traveling melodies. Now that I saw them live I’ll try to listen to them more and get more into their music to see if my opinion about them will change!
And now it’s time for the most famous German Heavy Rockers of the scene to jump on stage, I lost count of the number of times I saw Kadavar live, but one thing is sure, every time they put out a killer show, and this time at the Palp Festival was no different!
Their setlist was a mix between new songs and old classics, and Lupus, Tiger & Dragon energy was at the top of their game as always. Fuzzalicious guitar sound, long hair swings during solos, an ultra-loud and throbbing bass sound and some kickass drumming, the perfect recipe for a well-conducted Kadavar and a really cool way to end this unique festival for me ?
I only did one festival this summer and it was the Palp Festival. I knew I was certainly going to have a good time there, but I really didn’t expect it to be that awesome! The lineup, the friendly atmosphere from the crowd and the organization, the good food & drinks (though it was not cheap at all!), the lineup which was perfect, and most all of those marvelous locations in the middle of the Swiss mountains, a truly unique experience!
I’ll make sure to try to return again next year and I hope I gave you fuzzers the envy to join me too 😉
I hope you all had a wonderful summer, and don’t forget to Keep on Fuzzin’