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A night at the Dour Festival

In Belgium, the Dour festival offers a program fully in line with the times.

We are outside, in a circular space. The sky of a dark night is streaked with lasers, so much so that one would think that a roof covers our heads. Amélie Lens plays. The moment is precious, not to say magical. Thus ended, for us, our Thursday, July 14 at the Belgian festival of Dour. Who has never set foot there would do well to remedy it. And yet, the prospect of finding ourselves in a field “in the middle of nowhere”, according to the established expression, surrounded by nearly 40,000 people, left us a little perplexed. Lost ! The festival has frank simplicity, the refusal of any lifestyle pageantry, the sense of radicalism that wants a music festival to propose above all to listen to and see concerts, together, in a form of communion. No fuss, no wawa. Ah yes, wind turbines give the whole a futuristic air.

33 years old, the festival has decided to move with the times, even thinking of itself as a precise reflection of the present moment. Make way, therefore, for the current proposals of which we will mainly retain Promis3, Sevdaliza, Teto Preto, and Shygirl. Of the former, nothing was known. A scenic slap, therefore, that this duet whose queer singer, fan in her long peroxide blonde hair, raises her voice in autotuned high notes that do not make your teeth cringe, but invite you to relive an emo-kid sentence soaked in a fantasy universe. They are a duo from Belgium, who describe their music as “futuristic pop with a touch of nostalgia and melancholy”. And that’s what it is: a rereading of pop music with strong maximalism – the current hyperpop trend – and this from a distance that tinges the whole thing with a meta reflection. While approaching his own songs with a disarming frontality, of course. All the time, or almost, summarized.

Music that speaks of the times, in search of tenderness

Sevdaliza, we knew her for having attended the filming of one of her concerts for the show passengers of Arte Concert. At the time, the Dutch-Iranian singer had relied on R&B minimalism, accompanied by cellos. In Dour, the proposal is more electric, boosted, Sevdaliza even abandons his hazy R&B tracks to play a few tracks on the turntables, including the wonderful Love always by Gigi D’Agostino, who finished plunging the crowd of kids in a small hysterical trance always pleasant to live.

If Shygirl had disappointed us a little at the Gaîté Lyrique last fall, her concert in Dour was of another tenor, intertwining – in her moist moist voice – suave R&B and heavy nineties references, to the jungle, to the UK garage, trance, or even dance. Anything goes and it’s really very good that way, neither too fashionable, nor too posing, nor too pastiche. Like Promis3 and Sevdaliza, Shygirl offers music that tells the times, in search of tenderness, shot in a strange nineties-2000’s nostalgia, as if all the carelessness that is missing is nestled in this fantasized temporal space cruelly today, in love with emotional transparency as well as self-determination – expressed by the use of electronic experimentation.

Finally, let’s mention Teto Preto, who we discovered at the Closer Music Festival, before finding them earlier this year at the Art Rock festival in Saint-Brieuc. A mixture of traditional Brazilian music and electronics, post-punk, disco… All of them wearing make-up. With, highlight of the show, the singer Carneosso wearing a dress revealing her breasts and her sex, a way of provoking, like reclaiming the sexualization of her female body.

There were many others, too, such as Gazo, AlbiX, Trippie Reid, DJ Boring, David Numwami, LSDXOXO, Oklou, but also Kiosk Radio, a Belgian web radio normally broadcasting from a small kiosk located in the Royal Park at Brussels – in charge, here, of the Rockamadour space. All in the type of places where you set foot without ever really knowing when you’re going to leave, with the potential to stay there for hours that you wouldn’t see passing. The beauty of successful festivals is also their ability to make time elastic. This was the case in Dour.

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