Razorlight Catches The Eye

Razorlight and Kaiser Chiefs catch the eye among the lineup for this year’s Trans Musicales de Rennes, the third time it’s been held at the French city’s Parc Expo.

Its 25-year stay at the 6,000-capacity Libert, which hosted the show in cahoots with a clutch of smaller venues spread across the city, ended when local redevelopment turned the center of Rennes into a building site.

However, the shift has brought the advantage of being able to stage the three-day event in one place.

It’s branching out a little this year to include afternoon shows at the 1,200-capacity “Salle de la Cité,” one of the venues to take part in the first festival in 1979.

Jean-Louis Brossard and Béatrice Macé, Tansmusicales’ directors and curators, have built the event on showcasing new talent. Last year, when they tried to pitch to a wider crowd by booking The Fugees, it didn’t do anything for the numbers.

About 48,000 people showed to see the 77 bands from 20 different countries, although half of them only went to the free shows in the afternoon.

“We’ve had more people in the past with lesser-known bands,” explained Régis Chatellier, the festival’s international press officer.

With Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, and Klaxons, Brossard – the artistic director – is sticking closer to the festival’s philosophy of doing the groundwork and discovering new music trends.

The upside for the bands is a platform in front of nearly 500 national and foreign journalists, as well as a few thousand paying customers.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Thrills, Kasabian, Coldcut, Kaizers Orchestra, and The Rakes have played in the last three years.

The festival also gives a break to international acts that haven’t found France among their best territories, including Primal Scream, Beastie Boys, Calexico, Kraftwerk, Dizzee Rascal, and Audio Bullys.

This year’s Transmusicales takes place December 7-9.

– John Gammon