Mr. Fuzz – Aaaaah the Palp Festival… You may remember I discovered this festival for the first time in 2019 (see my report here) and I enjoyed it so much I had to return. This time I invited my good friend Kamil alias Mr. Witchfinder to join me and cover the festival together. And as you’ll be able to read below we had such an amazing time!
The Palp Festival, and more particularly the “Rocklette” which is the week of gigs dedicated to… Rock as you guessed it, is definitely a one-of-a-kind festival, an experience I’d recommend every fuzzer to live at least once! The quality of the lineup and all these unique locations in the majestic mountains of the French Swiss Alps make it the perfect outdoor summer festival.
This year was a bit particular due to the pandemic, with the people with the weekly passes being separated from the day passes in two zones, but other than that nothing was really different from when I came in 2019, especially the delicious raclette, this french/swiss melted cheese which is the official dish of the festival, mmmmmhhhhh 😋
I also want to say a big thanks to the whole Palp Festival crew for inviting us and taking care of us like they did, as well as all the festivalgoers we met and talked to, the atmosphere was super friendly, and this is also what makes the Palp Festival a memorable experience. We’ll definitely be back next year ✌️
All pictures by Mr. Witchfinder & Mr. Fuzz
Day 1 – Couvert du Goly
Unfortunately, we missed the first gig of the festival, with the locals Mystic Sons… We heard some riffs on the way up, it sounded fuzzy as hell, but when we entered the site they were finishing their last song. Hope to catch them another time !
Mr. Witchfinder – The second gig of the first day belonged to Los Bitchos, a female pop-psych formation hailing from London. One could smell the excitement hanging in the air as girls were slowly taking the stage, all while the unpredictable Swiss weather was also starting playing its tricks.
Soothing sounds pouring down the amps, combined with a warm and delighted presence of the band made for one blissful celebration. Soon after, heavy clouds started rolling down the hills and the air was not only saturated with tickling riffs but also refreshing drops of water. The rain has arrived! Despite the shift in weather, Los Bitchos kept on weaving their sonic tales and their warm tones lifted spirits and brought wide smiles onto the audience’s faces.
What a joyful concert that was!
The Inspector Cluzo
Mr. Fuzz – I already knew this French duo but never got the chance to catch them live, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them on the bill of the Palp Festival.
Unfortunately, the big storm was hitting even stronger right when they started playing (the only one of the whole festival though, we were pretty blessed with perfect sunny weather otherwise). The sky became darker, the temperature dropped drastically, but this didn’t stop The Inspector Cluzo to put out an amazing show as they are known for.
Indeed, they managed to motivate the crowd to stay dancing under the rain and follow along with their fun but politically-aware rock’n’roll. We even got some sexy and wet dancing from Mathieu the drummer.
The craziness attained its paroxysm when the herd of festivalgoers jumped over the security lines to mosh in front of the stage for a short moment. Though they quickly regained their enclosure because the organization was pretty strict with covid-related measures, which is totally understandable, but you cannot win over the power of Inspector Cluzos’ energy !
Special mention for Laurent’s vocal skills, going from pristine high-pitched tones to a deep and harsh voice, quite impressive !
And this warps up the first day of the festival, six more to go.
Day 1 – Video Recap
Day 2 – Couvert du Goly
Closet Disco Queen
Mr. Witchfinder – Day 2 arrived and with it beautiful weather and another selection of killer bands! The first of which was Closet Disco Queen, a Swiss instrumental duo blending noise, kraut, punk and other sounds that escape any frameworks.
Supported by extra bass and guitar (Flying Raclettes), they performed under the boiling sun and in front of a riff-hungry crowd throwing a proper party showcasing their ability to navigate through the different soundscapes.
Melody, brutal drum blasts, moments of contemplation and tranquility as well as maddening noise were all there to serve a wholesome sonic experience comparable only to the tastiest of all Swiss dishes, THE DIVINE RACLETTE.
Villagers of Ionnina City
Mr. Fuzz – Pretty psyched to see once again the Greeks, I thought their Stoner Rock melted with folk influences might be a good fit for the beautiful setting of La Cabane Brunet, and I wasn’t wrong !
Their last album « Age of Aquarius » was one of my favorite albums released in 2019, and hearing some of the songs live, like the now-classic eponymous song was a very pleasant moment. I totally let my mind wander under the sun and follow along with the mantra-like chants and traditional instruments that make their music quite unique.
Mr. Witchfinder – When Stoned Jesus played, we all were the mountain after all. Surrounded by astounding nature, bathing in the sharp sun and breathing the sweet Swiss air, the Ukrainian colossus started dropping track after track with all the power and passion they could possibly have.
Beginning with I’m the Mountain, a song needing no explanation, the band lit the place up and continued cutting through time and space with tracks spanning their whole discography. This being their first gig in almost 2 years made for an ever-greater show as the joy and gratefulness were just through the roof.
Needless to say, the crowd welcomed Stoned Jesus with open arms and rocked out to the heavy riffage till the last note. The location just made for such a complete SJ experience that honestly – it was my favorite concert of theirs thus far. Much love
Day 2 – Video Recap
Monday’s Secret Gigs
Mr. Fuzz – So these 2 bands we saw on the Monday were not really part of the official festival lineup. Actually, we normally had two days off and we’re supposed to start again on Wednesday. I received a WhatsApp during the day, saying « Hey you are the guys from More Fuzz right ? If you want there is a « wild » gig happening tonight with local bands up in the mountains if you want to keep on taking some fuzz right in your face. ». We said « Fuck Yeah! » of course.
So with Mr. Witchfinder hiked our way up to a private chalet, and there was the gig, on the terrasse, with a sumptuous view on the Val de Bagnes, we couldn’t ask for more ! And it happens the guy who sent me that message was no other than Bernie, the bassist of Dead Shaman, and also part of the Palp Festival organization. We then met Arnaud who was organizing this little festivity and the twentyish locals who were also here, we felt at ease and warmly welcomed by all of them, and then started headbanging and taking pictures as always !
Mr. Fuzz – Now talking about Dead Shaman themselves, it happens to be one of my favorite surprises of the whole week. This power trio plays a raw and energetic rock’n’roll that somewhat has a 70’s and a punkish vibe at the same time. Groovy and bluesy riffs, raucous vocals, killer guitar solos coming from the heart, some psychedelic sprinkling, and there you have it, the Dead Shaman !
I warmly recommend you to listen to their latest album released in 2020, all 6 songs are great, especially that last 19 minute jam called « Sunday’s Psychedelic Breakfast » which the band will describe better than me on their Bandcamp : « Sunday’s Psychedelic Breakfast was a trip of its own, put straight on the tape on a fresh Sunday morning, while the cheese and jam were still stuck in the teeth of the musicians. A good B side for chilling on the smoky’couch. ».
Wizards of Wiznan
Mr. Witchfinder – The second secret gig belonged to Wizards of Wiznan, another local act but this time representing some classic stoner doom topped with thick drops of sludge and black metal.
With the majestic Bagnes Valley behind their backs, those 4 Swiss wizards took off with a heavy stomp and filled the air with tales of distortion, heaviness and rabid joy that was driving the band as well as the crowd. Hypnotic riffs made it hard to resist swaying one’s head back and forth all while being tormented by the relentless drum and bass lines.
Eventually, the crowd couldn’t resist (nor did Robin, the bass player) and they ignited a mosh pit that coincided with a culminating point during the gig where the energy went through the roof. This was one hell of a proper riff-worshipping ritual!
Day 3 – Cabane Brunet
Mr. Fuzz – Here we are in the 2nd location of this festival, sitting at more than 2100m, La Cabane Brunet is certainly the best spot of all in my opinion. This wide-open space and a spectacular view all around you is truly a magical experience to see a gig. On this day 2 bands had the chance to play in these conditions, and the first one being the Spanish Toundra.
And their instrumental Post-Rock was particularly fitting to lift you up even higher than where we were! They know how to build up their songs with layers upon layers, going from delicate atmospherical melodies to raging passages full of energy. Also great communication with the audience, they certainly put out a killer show !
Mr. Witchfinder – GOAT hasn’t been really around for over 3 years until Palp Festival reached out and invited the Swedish formation to come together and play again. And so it happened! Clad in their signature outfits, all colorful and detailed, the band took the stage and took off with a heavy, fuzzed-out groove that instantly lit the place up.
Shortly after, the two female vocalists (wearing some truly beautiful masks!) hopped on stage and completed the GOAT formula with their chants, dance, and supporting instruments. The heat was pouring down the sky and with each consecutive song, the setting felt ever-more surreal. It was a dream come true to finally see the band play live after years of blasting their discography.
The setlist spanned through it all, covering tracks such as ‘Let it Bleed’, ‘Run To Your Mama’ or ‘Let it Burn’. It was my personal highlight of the festival for sure!
Day 3 – Video Recap
Day 4 – Barrage de Mauvoisin
Mr. Witchfinder – Fomies opened the 4th day of the festival with a fuzzy blast at a new location, the Barrage de Mauvoisin! Grooving in the sharp sun with a massive concrete dam in the background, the young Swiss formation performed a plethora of tracks that were both sonically rich as well as explorative.
Evoking a strong Ty Segall and King Gizzard vibe, their music felt heavy but also cheerful and jumpy at the same time. Keys, tambourine, two guitars, bass and drums made for a tasty combination that set the fuzzy mood straight and made for a great opening act.
Mr. Fuzz – OOOOOOOFFFF. When you see the 4 members of the Paris-based band Hangman’s Chair come on stage all wearing black and even hoodies without a single smile, you know something heavy is about to come.
It was the only Doom gig of the whole festival (apart from Wizards of Wiznan), and they were a welcome addition to the lineup in my opinion. The ultra-low doomy frequencies melted with those more atmospheric melodies and ethereal vocals work perfectly, some deep and cold Doom resonated in the whole valley.
I just hope nobody threw up their raclette, because it was loud, very loud.
Zeal & Ardor
Mr. Witchfinder – Zeal and Ardor closed day 4 with their soundscapes mixed with influences of gospel, soul, post and black metal. All dressed in black and preceded by a faint introductory melody pouring down the speakers, the band stormed the stage and didn’t take long to unleash their unique sonic madness.
With 3 vocal lines, 2 guitars, bass and drums the musical experience felt rich, intense and well thought through. Growls, gospel-like chanting and even whispers started coming down hard and whipping the crowd to the rhythm of unforgiving drum and bass. All topped with that menacing, blackened guitar tone of Tiziano Volante who is perhaps the master at making hilarious faces while on stage.
Overall, one could visibly tell what great fun the band had together on stage which they shared and received back from the crowd. No wonder considering it was their first gig in almost two years!
Day 4 – Video Recap
Day 5 – Barrage de Mauvoisin
Mr. Fuzz – A shorter day today at the Barrage de Mauvoisin, and also with two bands a bit away from the fuzzy scene, but nonetheless interesting to discover other types of music.
/A\ was the opener, hailing from Switzerland, the trio plays an intriguing experimental rock I’d say. By mixing noise rock, math rock and some other psychedelic patterns, they took us inside their own twisted world. The 2 guitars-2 voices work was really interesting, backup up by some skillful drumming, it was something different, though a great experience to start this 5th day.
Anna Von Hausswolff
Mr. Fuzz – While Mr. Witchfinder told me good things about her, the first notes that rang in the whole valley were the first time I listened to Anna. I like this feeling of coming to a gig with totally fresh ears about what’s to come. And god the surprise was immense!
This small Swedish girl totally blew me away with her sumptuous and delicate high-pitched voice. And I feel I wasn’t the only one to be bewitched by her and her bandmates, the whole Palp Festival crowd cheered strongly each of her songs, from the first to the last one, and the encore.
A grandiose and moving performance, definitely one of my favorite from this week, and it was enhanced even more by this stunning location, what a great way to end this day !
Day 5 – Video Recap
Day 6 – Col du Lein
Mr. Witchfinder – Samavayo, hailing from Berlin, Germany, opened the 6th day of the festival at the fourth and final location, Col du Lein. Tucked away high in the hills, the band started the ritual without much mercy and began to carve the air with their monolithic sound.
Bathing in the harsh sun, the trio threw an engaging gig which the crowd wholeheartedly embraced by either headbanging, toking, dancing or for example singing along to the track titled ‘Rolling’ (I keep on rollin’…).
The energy exchanged between the band members was filled with bliss and gratefulness up until the last note and the hot Swiss summer air combined with a mountainous landscape made for a complete stoner-rock experience. A fantastic opener!
Mr. Fuzz – Glad to meet again with my fellow French friends of The Necromancers, who were kinda scheduled last minute because of a cancellation, and a good opportunity to see them live with their new singer Basile (who is also with Birdstone, the band I placed 1 in my Top 2019 with their debut).
They put out a very solid show, still staying true to their killer retro and occultist Heavy Rock, and a few songs of the new album that should come out soon were played, this sounds promising and can’t wait to hear it in full!
Somali Yacht Club
Mr. Fuzz – I was psyched to see The Ukrainian trio because there are kinda rare to catch up live, and I must say I really dig their unique Heavy Psych vibe. And under these circumstances, the bright sun, the setting and a small joint, they totally took me on a trip way higher than what we already were on this beautiful mountain.
And even if Somali Yacht Club isn’t the most scenic band, they counterbalance this by the beauty of their compositions that build up slowly but surely. From sweet and calm melodies to pure blasts of heaviness, each song is a voyage on its own. Highlights were of course the classic “Vero” from their last album, and the unique “Sightwaster” which includes this Dub passage, something I think only them mix with Stoner music.
Now I hope the guys are working on a new release, it’s been a long time I think we’re all waiting for something new to put in our ears and be able to continue to fly high in the sky !
Day 6 – Video Recap
Day 7 – Col du Lein
Mr. Fuzz – It’s already the last day of the festival, better enjoy it to its fullest! And what a better way to get our dose of fuzz with our favorite Swedish boys of Truckfighters!
While everyone was still sitting under the trees to avoid the strong sun of the Swiss moutains, the guys started cranking the fuzz with no other than their classic « Desert Cruiser », I can tell you people rushed to the stage to sing along and start headbanging.
As you can see in our pictures, Mr. Dango used the whole space that was available to jump around, let people use his guitar, and do some crazy shit as he’s known for. Even if that meant he missed a few notes here and there, I forgive him, because that’s also why we love Truckfighters, to set the stage on fire and deliver an unforgettable moment 🔥
Mr. Witchfinder – Closing the festival was Kikagaku Moyo, a Japanese formation weaving their tales of lush psychedelia combined with eastern folk influences. Having played at Palp festival twice before, the band was welcomed with enormous excitement that persisted throughout the whole of the gig and was written on literally everyone’s faces.
Not to mention Kikagaku themselves who were fully absorbed by their performance yet made it all look so natural and effortless that one wondered whether there was some actual magic at play. Smiling, vibing and casting their spells, the band played a wide variety of tracks including Green Sugar, Dripping Sun, Tree Smoke or Kodama. Also, they came up with the set list just minutes before the concert, congregating together under a tree and writing it down on a little piece of paper, so cool!
Amidst all the songs, there was also plenty of room for improvisation and jamming that the band indulged in every now and then and has become a trademark section of the band’s performances.
All in all, this concert was a mind-blowing experience that together with the natural setting and lovely crowd, made for something spectacular and rather hard to describe.