Best Concerts of Sziget 2017 #9: Her

Her are another band whom I would not have expected to make it to this top, especially as before the Sziget announcement I wasn’t even fully aware they existed, and had to google them and subsequently correctly identify them as not being H.E.R. the singer, who hails from California, as opposed to Her the band, who hail from France.

This last bit of info did start to ring a bell, as it dawned on me that I’d seen the name mentioned in Les Inrocks, the French magazine I still religiously read online and in print, as opposed to my other (former) big love, NME, which is completely unattainable in print anywhere but in about 27.3 isolated British tobacconists and has, in parallel, turned into an online platform primarily concerned with the latest leak of Justin Bieber nudes. Mercifully, Les Inrocks has remained Frenchly stuck up, and thank heavens for that.

I therefore raided their archives a bit, and found Her to be pleasant, albeit perhaps a bit too leaning towards a soul and R&B sound which does not constitute my main area of musical maneuvers. I’d also found out that they are a duo, so I was pleasantly impressed to see that the live show comes complete with an excellent touring band, with a special mention for the lovely man on bass, who was a joy to watch just as much as he was a joy to listen to. It’s perhaps strange, but this joy somehow became the emblem of the concert- it was a joyous experience, with musicians out there willing to give their best and the audience responding accordingly.

The reason why I said this was strange is because even during the concert we were told that one half of the duo, Simon Carpentier, could not be with us on the island, as he had been battling cancer for some time and had given up touring with the band earlier in the year. As per Simon’s wishes, they however vowed to continue playing music, and honoured all their gigs. The next day we were to find out that Simon had passed away on Sunday evening, which put the whole concert into even more poignant relief. It might sound overblown when people say that, but it really did feel that they were adding something extra to their show, and were playing for him too. They kept doing that afterwards too, playing French festivals- it’s hard to imagine how that must have felt like, but there’s probably no better tribute to a musician than to keep playing his songs.

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