It was the afternoon, the clouds were leisurely parting, and just below, at Fort St. Pere, an army prepared the first night's noisy litanies in a benevolent frenzy. It's always weird to find yourself feeling like a parasite to a huge machine like Route du Rock , to run after a handful of people to interview, all of whom are in such an environment of overwhelming activity that it's surprising that they're available at all. It's as if they were trained to answer 160 questions at the same time. You prepare for the night, drowned by the noise of the guitars tuning, then you escape the Fort for a bit. In front of the Palais du Grand Large, long black hair, gigantic glasses and pale pink dress, Marissa Nadler leaves her soundcheck. She really wants to play as soon as possible. During the whole trip, she vacillates between a painful shyness and the desire to sing on the old rocks: excited by the space, startled by the mobs of tourists, constantly seeking isolated corners. An ancient staircase, a new arrangement in harmony with her guitarist, seagulls to punctuate the performance, and we're in paradise, far away from all noise. Over the course of the session, Marissa opens up and smiles, going so far as to wade into the low tide and cover Neil Young with her feet in the water. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing an uncomfortable artist gain confidence and radiate the pleasure of playing. Marissa Nadler gave us all of this. Two hours later, a little farther down the beach, the Delano Orchestra finishes their sun-drenched concert. Along the battlements, they take up their instruments and sunglasses with a sort of joyous nonchalance, and lead friends and swimmers in the chorus on a diving board. As their voices meld, the water sparkles, and the trumpet raises up and gives the ballad a touching fullness, rhythm provided by the dives and kids' laughter. We expected folk; we got an epiphany. It's time to head back to the fort, even more frenzied than before. Bradford Coxmoreless
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