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Pitchfork Music Festival: Paris 2012

Crowds pack the Grande Halle de la Villette to hear Robyn, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, M83, Liars and more

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Pitchfork’s second annual Music Festival Paris opened its doors on November 1st. The three-day event drew packed crowds at the Grande Halle de la Villette, a cavernous glass and iron former slaughterhouse in the city’s 19th arrondissement.  Building on last year’s success, the Chicago-based online music magazine assembled a lineup of over 30 American, French and international artists from across the indie spectrum, from dubstep and aquacrunk to experimental singer-songwriters. The 2012 festival featured a second stage, a third day of shows, and twice as many acts as its predecessor, with headliners including M83, Animal Collective, Robyn, the Walkmen, and Grizzly Bear. Between sets, Parisian and expat hipsters noshed on burgers and fries, snapped photo booth pics, and browsed the crates of LPs for sale.  

Captions by Rebecca Appel

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

DIIV

Brooklyn-based shoegaze band DIIV was one of the first groups to perform on Thursday, November 1st for the festival’s opening night.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Robyn

Swedish synth-pop singer-songwriter Robyn’s performance on November 2nd was eagerly anticipated. Fans were not disappointed: Robyn brought the house down with a nonstop hour of driving beats and original dance moves.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

La Villette

Robyn’s infectious energy had the enthusiastic crowd singing and "Dancing On My Own" together at La Villette on November 2nd.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Dance Party

Paris showed lots of love for Swedish singer-songwriter Robyn. The Grande Halle de la Villette turned into a giant dance party during her nearly hour-long set.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

James Blake

London-based dubstep singer-songwriter James Blake played on Pitchfork’s first night. The 24-year-old Blake and his band blasted away the crowd with pounding bass on their breakout hit "CMYK" before turning in a soulful version of ballad "The Wilhelm Scream."

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Brian King

Brian King, on vocals and guitar, and David Prowse, on drums and vocals, performed their hit "The Nights of Wine and Roses," off the 2012 album Celebration Rock, for an appreciative (and moshing) crowd.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Japandroids

Japandroids, a two-man band out of Vancouver, closed out their two-and-a-half-month Euro-tour with a stop at Pitchfork Paris on November 1st.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Sébastien Tellier

No one puts on a show quite like Sébastien Tellier. Arguably the coolest musician in France today (and certainly one of the most controversial) the electro singer-songwriter performed on Thursday, November 1st. Tellier opened his set with a mission statement: "J’aimerais vous plaire . . . je veux que l’amour soit au top."("I want to please you . . . I want the love to be the best.") Alternating between electric guitar and keyboard, the theatrical Tellier punctuated his performance with wisecracks and (mais oui!) the obligatory onstage cigarette break. The crowd went crazy for Tellier’s huge synth sound, but went even crazier when he slowed it down for "La Ritournelle," and "L'Amour et La Violence."

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Animal Collective

Animal Collective’s Avey Tare (David Portner), Geologist (Brian Weitz), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) headlined the second night of the Pichfork festival, on November 2nd.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Animal Collective

Filling the hall with their unique brand of experimental psych-pop, Animal Collective’s set focused on tracks from the barely two-month-old album Centipede Hz.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Jessie Ware

Vocalist Jessie Ware performed on November 2nd, Pitchfork's second night, wowing the audience with her powerhouse pipes. The London native's sultry, soul and R&B-influenced pop style was a shift from the electro groups that featured in most of the Pitchfork Paris lineup. Ware closed out her set with her most recent single, "Running."

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

The Tallest Man on Earth

Kristian Matsson, the 29-year-old Swedish singer-songwriter, who goes by the stage name the Tallest Man On Earth, performed on the second day of the festival. The quiet intimacy of his folk songs, which Matsson strummed on an acoustic guitar, was a striking counterpoint to the hall-shaking acts later that evening.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

The Walkmen

Indie-rock favorite the Walkmen played on November 2nd. The band showcased their decade-long musical evolution with a set that combined the angry intensity of old favorites ("The Rat") and tracks from their nostalgia-laden latest album, Heaven.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

The Afterparty

On the first two nights of the festival, night buses shuttled festival-goers to all-night afterparties at Paris clubbing hotspot La Trabendo.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Cloud Nothings

Cleveland, Ohio-based indie rock group Cloud Nothings played early on November 3rd, the festival's final night. With aggressive vocals, thrashing guitar and drums, lead singer-songwriter-guitarist Dylan Baldi, Jayson Gerycz (on drums), bassist TJ Duke and Joe Boyer (guitar) built to a wall of sound.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Death Grips

Mixing hip-hop and hardcore, Death Grips’ MC Ride (Stefan Burnett) and drummer Zach Hill turned in one of Pitchfork’s heavier acts on November 3rd.  The group is currently mired in controversy over the online self-release of their latest album.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear, one of Brooklyn’s most beloved indie rock groups, played for an appreciative audience on the festival’s final night. Ed Droste and multi-tasking musicians Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear’s lush vocal harmonies and enveloping sound expanded to fill the entire hall. The band utilized both electronic and traditional instruments on heartfelt renditions of old favorite "Knife," and "Yet Again" from recent release Shields.

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Liars

Liars brought their headbangy noise-meets-dance-punk to Pichfork’s final night. Frontman Angus Andrew, who seemed to play the whole concert with his hair in his face, led the group through a set of older songs and tracks from the dark electro WIXIW, including "No.1 Against The Rush."

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Purity Ring

Soprano Megan James and DJ/instrumentalist Corin Roddick, Montreal-based electro group Purity Ring, played on November 3rd. The band’s ethereal, ambient synth had the crowd swaying. Their hypnotic sound was echoed visually in an almost ghostly set design that featured their trademark interactive lanterns, or "cocoons."

Pitchfork Paris

Rachael Woodson

Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr. showed off his Eighties-influenced brand of synth-rock and silky voice on Pitchfork’s third night. Before launching into "Run My Heart," off of his 2012 album Confess, Lewis Jr. asked the audience to take off their shirts – and they happily complied. A hall’s worth of T-shirts spun in the air as the song played.