On a weekend in Paris where the rain was so constant that it burst the banks of the Seine, spurred a cluster of riots in the old Marais district and lined the Metro carriages with FAMAS-wielding military, the signs were ominous for We Love Green festival. But, mercifully, the festival came to life with strong performances on Saturday night from both the main stages.
It was, admittedly, a slow start. While Metronomy’s DJ set piqued our interest with the highly anticipated Summer 08 album on its way, the volume was strangely quiet, and by the end we were hoping fancifully for a couple of the classics. Floating Points held the crowd’s attention, albeit in more of a chin-stroking reverie than anything more dynamic, although Nuits Sonores got a bit of a jig out of them. So far the crowds were more or less still milling about, buying wine, looking Parisian, and few people appeared to have really committed themselves to watching a performance yet. Hudson Mohawke’s turn on the La Clairiere stage changed that. From the get go, HudMo transfixed everyone, relying almost as much on a stellar light show as he did his hyperactive, powerful music. There was a spate of wild gunfingering from the crowd: they had awoken.
LCD Soundsystem rounded the night off on the larger La Prairie stage, with a performance that really came into its own from about halfway through when they changed tempo with Losing My Edge, and by the time they’d got New York, I Love You and I Can Change, people were swaying happily, eyes closed, blissfully unaware of the scrum they were going to have to face when leaving the festival en masse in the muddy darkness.
We arrived on Sunday with some rather natty Carrefour plastic bags fitted elegantly over what was left of our footwear from the previous day. Drawing admiring stares and gasps of envy, we strutted straight through to see James Blake going through the hits, finishing, unsurprisingly, with a powerful rendition of Retrograde.
Air gave their first live performance in six years, drawing a huge roar from the crowd when they came on in their spacey white suits. By this time the area in front of the stage was more or less a clay-filled bog, so those not sporting Carrefour’s just gyrated gently with upper body motions, keeping their feet suctioned firmly to the ground. After some time, we got restless and ventured off to see Diplo, whose summery party set jarred slightly with our surroundings, but allowed us at least to dream. The night finished with some serious head-nodding at Âme. The techno did its work. People were lying starfished on the periphery of the stage, covered in straw. We Love Green had been good to us. It was time to go.