Puggy and Lou, king and queen of Spa

  • Thursday evening, Ozark Henry on the big stage faced off with Puggy at the Village
  • Puggy caused mass hysteria; Friday, Lou was perfect

Every year, it’s the same thing: one group makes its mark on that year’s Francofolies de Spa music festival by generating frenzied excitement in the audience. In the past, there were Ghinzu, BB Brunes and Stromae. This year, Puggy took the prize.

That said, we wondered a bit. Winning the hit parade jackpot on their last album and with the impressions from all their concerts this year, the Brussels-based trio was, at least on paper, the most eagerly awaited group on the Spa program.

Thursday, at the beginning of the evening, Ozark Henry’s concert was held on the Pierre Rapsat stage. With his permanent singing partner, Amaryllis, Piet was dressed all in white, as was the rest of the group. The concert was held in a half-filled space in the City Hall and, as usual, the singer from Kortrijk, based in Oostduinkerke, concentrated exclusively on his music, keeping his spoken narrative to the minimum required. As with Benjamin Biolay, playing in the Village at the same time, the quality of the arrangements and sound won out over the crowd noise.

Puggy, in the park, succeeded at reconciling the two. At first, it was impossible to get close: in front of the stage, the crowds were like the good old days. We had to settle for the big screen. But the ambience was there: the trio, including a Belgian keyboard artist, let loose. They played song after song and the audience, who never appeared to tire, celebrated from beginning to end of a truly impressive concert. Romain, as calm as ever, is amazingly efficient on bass. Ziggy, very expressive, put on a show, while Matthew, very seductive, but exhibiting great finesse, communicated with his audience, and even went as far as to get them singing, like his idol Freddie Mercury. It was a real triumph that will make the 20th Francofolies de Spa truly memorable.

It was a sunny edition that made us forget the last few sad years. It’s crazy how abundant sunshine changes not only the audience, but the artists, too. Everyone is much cooler; the terraces are full of people, just like the stages. Since Wednesday, and, no doubt, until Sunday, a real feeling of simple happiness reigns.

Noa Moon before Lou

Let’s now turn to the French-speaking women, beginning with “our” Noa Moon, who performed songs from her album, due for release in September.

We didn’t have to wait for the Anglo-French remix of “Paradise” with Malo for us to remark that it would be good if, one day, Noa “Manon” Moon sang in French. The Quebec-based Marie-Pierre Arthur is a good example: a true rocker who knows how to groove, with a hellishly good group. She is not the only one in Quebec to perform rock in French, and it works. Lisa LeBlanc, winner of the Rapsat-Lelièvre Prize, does the same thing.

As for Lou Doillon, the offspring of Jane Birkin, there’s nothing more to be said about her English accent. Like mother, like daughter. Once more, on stage, Lou is all natural charm and grace, with a seriously sensual voice and unsinkable melodies. The Spa audience appreciated the beautiful Lou for all she is worth.

THIERRY COLJON

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