Heya. I’ve been asked a Motocultor festival report for a metal magazine but they will not publish my piece – as their summary is already full up. Well nevermind. Here it is, just below. I recycled a couple of jokes for my articles in Noisey and New Noise : this is called the Law Of Conservation Of Mass. All hail Antoine Lavoisier (father of modern chemistry, and yet another aristocratic victim of the guillotine during the French Revolution).
Comme j’étais au festival Motocultor, j’ai été branché pour écrire un report pour un magazine de métal étranger (en anglais). Ça ne s’est pas concrétisé (mais rien n’était sûr, loin de là) faute de place dans le sommaire définitif mais je publie quand même mon texte ici.
Motocultor Festival Report
By Guillaume Gwardeath
Can France boast major attractions worth the trip for metal lovers? Aside the 7,300 tons of iron that constitutes the Eiffel tower, not that much. The Hellfest seems to be quite an exclusive choice of destination for brutal Francophile easyjetsetters. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the Hellfest predominance.
Welcome to the small locality of Saint-Nolff, Brittany, where the Motocultor Open Air is held on the penultimate week-end of August. It is a small place, but at least it has a football team: Soulfly’s Max Cavalera was spotted sporting the AO Saint-Nolff jersey!
The town is actually quite close to the city of Clisson, host of the infamous Hellfest (less than a two hour drive away) and as a matter of fact Motocultor could be described as a pocket-Hellfest : less extravagant, less expensive, less populous – and above all, more Breton.
Ten years ago, « Motocultor » was just the moniker for a local band. Musically aggressive and intellectually regressive they specialised in playing covers of Village People or Boney M songs in a thrash metal fashion and were even quite well-known in the surrounding hamlets. And then one day, one of the band members got lucky on the Wheel Of Fortune TV game show.
« What are you going to do with all that money?» the presenter asked.
« Well I’m going to organise a metal festival for my mates in the forest! » the jammy headbanger answered.
He cashed the cheque and kept his word. True story.
The festival now attracts a crowd of about 6,500 a day, mainly from France, and has a line-up of 66 bands, thank God mainly not from France. The two main stages are sheltered under huge marquees. The rain and the sun are a blessing for agriculture but can be a plague for festival-goers. There is also a smaller stage down the hill. Although it looks like a charming outdoor theatre, the organisers decided to call it the « Supositor Stage » («metal up your ass» – I remember having seen that somewhere before). Oddly enough this is where such renowned acts as Entombed AD, Goatwhore, Dying Fetus or old-school-death-metal-devotees-super-group Gruesome were begged to perform.
Amongst the performing French bands were those old timers Vulcain, modern death-metal technicians Gorod and thrash/death pioneers Agressor. Yes with only one g. Don’t be fussy, they’re bad at spelling but they’re pretty good when it comes to thrashing. A proper old school ag(g)ression,voilà!
Oh yes. Grave‘s vocalist and guitar player Ola Lindgren payed homage to the fromage (« We’re happy to be back in France and eat some cheese »).
Valient Thorr from planet Venus (currently based somewhere in North Carolina, planet Earth) played an action-packed set – observed by an amused Jello Biafra, whom they promptly rewarded with a free copy of their latest album « Old Salt ».
Entombed AD were excellent and frontman LG Petrov was, as always, the most entertaining host. He was seen confiscating an inflatable crocodile between the rendition of two Entombed classics. The poor plastic reptile was only to be found half-dead … well half-deflated… hung by its neck on a beam inside the VIP bar.
The bill included a lot of post-hardcore/post-metal bands such as Cult Of Luna, Amenra or Neurosis. Neurosis demonstrated that they’re still top-notch bosses in the game. They interpreted a tremendous « Locus Star » as a grande finale. « Dantesque ! » said the guy just next to me. Then he said « Let’s have a beer » which was clever too.
While the country was busy debating on the ban of the « burkini », a number of Motocultor bands turned up, flesh concealed under a wild collection of tunics, chasubles, hoods, gloves and masks : Batushka, Mayhem, Khors… You name ’em, they got ’em. But you can hardly see ’em.
Last band to deliver the goods in the fortified camp of Motocultor was Ministry, fronted by a very fit Al Jourgensen. They played a perfect setlist (only “Jesus Built My Hotrod” was missing) to an enchantéd crowd of Gauls high on cider and mistletoe. And when they performed “Just One Fix” we distinctly overheard local druid Getafix murmering “oh this one’s my favourite”.
Motocultor is a metal festival for you if you enjoy inhuman music on a human scale. It is a friendly place where you will always find a kind comrade to hold your goblet of hippocras while you’re going for a poo in the sawdust.
Follow Motocultor festival on Facebook.
Bonus picture by Ronan Thenadey :
Enjoying Motocultor beer with Hellfest’s Yoann 🙂
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