Day number three. The wild ride was nearing its conclusion, having lined up some its heaviest hitters for a real knockout of a grand finale. British band Bdrmm stepped to the challenge of firing the evening festivities off with a massive cloud-like wall of sound and York-esque wailings.
The band’s performance washed over us like a breath of cool air. Their overdriven guitars laid over steady rhythmic foundations sent senses floating across the stratosphere, leaving stranded upright bodies like empty vessels parked in front of the stage, awaiting their owners to return from their astral voyage. Having accomplished their mission, Bdrmm earned themselves a particularly warm round of acclamations as a parting gift for what felt like a treacherously short set.
Next came the time for New York’s infamous harbingers of sonic mayhem, the ambassadors of total musical annihilation known as A Place to Bury Strangers. As a band known for their seizure-inducing lights and wild club show antics, the Brooklyn trio certainly appeared geared up for an unusual show. Perched up a high stage over the Mediterranean Sea in the middle of a sunny afternoon, the band set up their gear calmly and uttered a timid salute to the crowd before detonating into a screeching, ear-wrecking rendition of ‘We’ve Come so far’.
Guitars started flailing around, amps shrieking in agony to the primal rhythm of apocalyptic post-punk bliss. An unhinged Oliver Ackermann sent his guitar flying straight up into the air, sending it crashing across the stage floor with a loud bang, to the utter shock of an audience just barely adjusting to the chaos unfolding. Guitars, amps and lights were swung and tossed across the stage in a spectacular demolition derby of noise, held in place by the band’s rhythmic section. Though twisted and maimed with gaping wounds, the band’s repertoire remained recognizable and thrilling to hear in its most extreme renditions. After a handful of songs, the band jumped into the crowd, carried away under the roar of rabid fans.
The audience were beginning to scatter when a sudden beating of a drum rang out from the back of the crowd. A vicious, primal rhythm rang out, suddenly followed by a thick bass guitar sound and muffled shouts. The audience grew wild and crowdsurfers all converged towards the back of the crowd where the band were performing, surrounded by a boiling mass of ecstatic audience members. Some were lucky enough to squeeze their way through the fan-throng and scream their guts out into the broken microphone, though most witnessed this black hole of crowd surfers and noise from afar.
Bruised and still under the shock of what I’d just witnessed, I took a brief leave of absence from the festival’s relentless nature. My interview request with A Place to Bury Strangers had been confirmed, and I was to meet with the band backstage at 10pm sharp after the show. The trio emerged, jovial and smiling as though they’d just come back from a family picnic. Not a hint of what had happened half an hour ago could be found in their serene, wholesome demeanor, to the point where it seemed everyone, myself included, had forgotten about the two guitars that they smashed in the first three songs of their set.
The fifteen-minute interview spilled over into a thirty-minute discussion. I was pained to notice that I was nearly running late to catch Idles, the imminent grand finale of the weekend. I rushed back to the side of the mainstage, where the rest of the photographers had lined up to shoot their last three songs of the night. The air was as dusty as ever, and we were nudged forward by the head of security. “It might get rowdy out there. It’s gonna be a wild one. Your time might be up after the first song”. The crowd was roaring with anticipation by the time the grand headliners took to the stage. The band brought the crowd to a boiling point with ‘Colossus’, a tense, crushing opener that culminates into a wild frenzy.
Vocalist Joe Talbot paced back and forth across the stage like a juggernaut with a score to settle, yelling out with an Olympian rage to a jam-packed crowd of riled-up maniacs.
Nothing seems to beat the grit and raw power of Bristol to pummel your senses to a pulp. For the next 75 minutes, Idles served a buffet of musical left hooks to the face. The audience and band fed off each other’s ravenous energy, and the commotion of the ecstatic crowd was thickening the screen of dust blowing across the stage. The band made the final send-off with ‘Rottweiler’ and delivered a crazy wailing and screaming finale to crown the evening.
Thus ended the exhilarating adventure at this year’s Pointu Festival, a festival full of surprises made possible by a team of devoted troopers. The joyous chants following the long trail back to Six-Fours attested to the resounding success of the festival’s seventh edition. A great number of spirited lads and lasses took to skinny dipping along the coast, prolonging the thrill of a weekend nearing its end. Dusty and spent, I made my way back to the apartment with a mind filled with the wonders of an adventure destined to settle into a large set of fond memories.