Catching Up With The French Spring
By Sarah Hannan
Did I give you a heart attack? I hope not. Well the French Spring has no connection with the Arab Spring. But it does have an impact on the booming aesthetic culture in our little island. With the successive unfolding of last year’s music and art festivals organized by the Alliance Française de Kotte, this year the organisers brought us the ‘French Spring’. The event staged Film, Music, Theatre productions throughout a period of 10 days at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) which ended yesterday.
Speaking of musical events the main attraction was held on Saturday 16 June featuring our pioneer metal act ‘Stigmata’ (Stigs) and the electro/rock act all the way from France – ‘Success’. The venue was already packed by the time I walked in and was quite happy to see that all our music enthusiasts gathered for the event sporting their favourite rock band’s t-shirt. I had missed some of the gigs which ‘Stigmata’ had staged after their new drummer – Chathuranga Pitigala and bassist – Lakmal Wijesooriya had joined and this was indeed a good opportunity for most of us to experience their talent.
‘Stigs’ started off with a power packed performance and I must say the crowd seemed to be pretty impressed with them. The ardent followers of rock music were right in front of the stage and started head banging. One of the guys were teaching a bunch of girls how to head bang as they were quite clueless on how to enjoy the music, should have been quite a challenge!
I have to admit that the ‘Stigs’ performance overshadowed ‘Success’; after all they exactly know how to entertain our gig goers. The band performed their originals for which most of us head banged, got into a mosh-pit and of course sang along. The front man – Suresh De Silva also thanked Ajith Perera – the founder of Rock Company who had changed the rock music industry and also reached out to bring out the hidden talents a decade ago. They dedicated their ever so famous track ‘Andura’ for Mr. Ajith and wished him a speedy recovery, which would have definitely moved most of the bands and followers of Rock Company back in the day.
The guitarists Tennyson Napoleon and Andrew Obeysekara played tirelessly on their fret boards and dished out their amazing riffs. The band had a rough time within the past months with their line-up changes and it was indeed a great performance by the ensemble. After the energetic performance from our brothers in metal the organizers were merciful enough to give us a short break to replenish our energy for the French electro/rock act ‘Success’. Well I actually youtubed them before going for the gig and with the greatest difficulty found one video of their performance. Rather than saying electro/ rock I would define them as an experimental band. The band started off with the experimental music where they used a synthesiser to bring out the electronica effects. I found it very impressive and the crowd was instantly on party mode. Then the front man made a theatrical entrance singing one of their originals, which was well received by the crowd with wolf whistles and applauses. At one point he was disappointed to see the crowd leave and mentioned that they will have to try hard to keep up with Stigmata’s performance.
In a vain attempt to please the rock-crowd the drummer and bassist went on to an extended jam, which was quite a turn off. Well not that they were bad in their musical abilities but we did enjoy when the whole band performed. As my friends said I too doubted that they were still trying to figure out what would keep the crowd going. My partner said they were heavily influenced by the band ‘Scar’. However, they played very different songs altogether from which the band might have picked up few followers. The band played rock ‘n roll songs for which we all did a twist and then they did a hip hop type song for which they went on spelling out their band’s name.
I managed to speak to the band and learnt that they have been doing a small tour and had performed in Vietnam, Indonesia, China and they were leaving Sri Lanka the next day at 6 am back to their home country France where they are set to perform for a couple of gigs. One would easily think that foreign bands are better but this gig proved that our rock musicians are on par with their musical abilities and can please a crowd and keep them rocking throughout a performance.