All cliché aside: Paris in the opening days, weeks of summer takes on a heavenly aroma, an intoxicating odour. There's something about ambling through those streets, past those stunning terraces and verandas which seems to tickle the soul.
The perfect place and time, then, for a music festival. Except We Love Green isn't any old music festival. Billing itself as a human laboratory, it's about as green – by which we mean eco-friendly – as it gets. Remarkably litter free, the food is humanely sourced and the cutlery biodegradable – oh, and they give you sawdust, instead of toiletpaper. No, we couldn't figure that one out, either.
Saturday opens in blazing gallic sunshine, the sun supplying a suitably natural setting for Allah-La's wonderfully retro brand of psych-pop. Sure, the group never quite reach past their reference points, but with the sky burning blue there's a whole lot of soul in their mid 60s ambiance.
Seun Keti is one of the (many) songs of Fela Kuti, and has devoted himself to spreading the gospel of afrobeat. As the hype man tells the scattered crowd: “this is the music of protest... this is the music of fury!”
If so, then fury has rarely sounded so funky. Horns screech, backing singers gyrate and Seun Kuti emerges, dressed to kill and with moves to match. Songs such as 'International Motherfucker' tell it like it is, with the singer preaching to the French masses about love, peace and smashing the system into smithereens. It's all rather contagious.
Hanni El Khatib is on imperious form on the main stage, but Clash decides to sneak away to the electronic area for some rather more illicit thrills. Ghost Culture's live show builds on the tailored textures of his debut album, the spiralling synths and crisp percussion rattling above French brows.
There's an emotional edge, too, with Ghost Culture allowing his vocals to pirouette through the mix. An engrossing and mesmerising show, the producer adeptly proves that there's so much more to his music than taking charge in the studio.
Django Django are festival veterans, and the band's main stage slot doesn't disappoint. Revellers throng to the front, with expansive takes on debut material matched against bulleted renditions of 'Born Under Saturn' favourites. French outfit Christine And The Queens close the mainstage, but Clash opts instead for the heavy techno sounds of Siriusmodeselektor.
A side project, of sorts, the trio seem to delight in playing the dirtest beats known to humanity – stripped right back, it takes on a cartoonish quality, which delights in its own adolescence. Curiously enthralling, Siriusmo performs through in a red boiler suit – for why, we are none the wiser.
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The French, eh?
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Sunday opens to overcast weather, which Lapsley does her best to dispel. Jose Gonzalez takes charge of the main stage but, with the clouds closing in, he chilled out acoustic variations fail to cut through the slight chill in the breeze.
Over to the electronic area, then, for a slice of Roman Flugel going back to back with Barnt. Two veterans pushing each other all the way, the pair are clearly loving the opportunity, taking risks they might not otherwise dare to broach. Ending with Aphex Twin's 'Analogue Bubblebath' it's a cheeky nod to their own electronic roots.
Ben UFO's recent Rinse shows have tended to veer towards abstraction, with the DJ adopting some rather more outre ends of the electronic spectrum. Forced to follow on from an Aphex Twin classic, though, and the Hessle Audio selector turns in a blistering and entirely unforced set. Direct without being obvious, his subtly challenging selections rank amongst the weekend's most considered and yet also most immediately enjoyable.
Joey Bada$$ is a firecracker, a man blessed with outrageous charisma. Joined by a supple DJ and a hype man, the rapper brings a taste of Brooklyn to the centre of Paris, blazing through material blessed with that golden age, caramel flavour.
Julian Casablancas + The Voids, though, simply seem lost. Much meandering between songs – songs which are themselves largely alien to the crowd – sucks the pace out of the set, making the performance seem cold, stunted. Ratatat do their best to pick up the slack, but much of the crowd has already drifted over to catch some of Nicolas Jaar's DJ set finale.
Bravely chopping between styles and genres, Nico manages to keep the crowd enthralled amidst pouring rain. There's a sense of camaraderie induced by the weather, with a 15 minute disco hoedown perhaps ranking as a personal highlight. As the crowd drifts back to the mainstage, the producer loosens up – proceedings become cerebral, before Jaar ends on a reggae-tinged note. As we say, it's a brave choice.
A small yet perfectly formed event, We Love Green manages to make the most of its compact space. Akin to a slightly more petite – and Parisian – counterpart of Field Day, the varied line up and wonderful setting make for a special, and extremely unique event. Although we're sure that somebody somewhere has invented biodegradable toilet paper by now...
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