Last Friday night (November 28), I went with assistants Becca, Abigail, and Evan to see Ratatat play at La Plateforme in Lyon. La Plateforme is a boat on the river and the concert was in a big room on the lower level. The boat even rocked a bit when people started dancing. Ratatat was brilliant and I’ve been a fan of their electronic music for a while. Unlike a lot of groups with an electronic sound, they play everything on instruments which makes it more of a performance and less of an attack on a poor MacBook Pro. Although it was an awesome performance, the place was packed. I had bad Warped Tour flashbacks in the crowd as people pushed forwards and security guards pushed people backwards, making waves through the room and raising fears of crushing and trampling. I eventually moved my way to the wall and watched from there where I was only somewhat jostled and didn’t feel like my ribs might be crushed. I should mention that the highlight of the night was a guy thinking I was Belgian. Yes!
After Ratatat’s set, a string of DJs played and the concert turned into a dance party. I don’t know if this is normal for concerts in Europe, but I had assumed all the DJs listed on the ticket were openers for Ratatat when in fact they played afterward. It was fun and we stayed until about 4 am. We the got a taxi back to the apartment where we were planning to spend the night. When we got there, the party that had started early in the evening when we’d first been by was still going on, except it had descended into that unpleasant stage where everyone is drunk and the floor is sticky and loud reggae music is coming from someone’s computer. I had no desire to sleep in a place where I didn’t want to take off my shoes, so I caught the first metro train at 5:30 am with another assistant who happened to be leaving town. I got on the 6:22 am train to Valence and got to my apartment at around 8:00 am. I slept for a few hours, but met my friend Sarah at the train station at noon.
Sarah came to Valence for the day for Lumière en Fête, a lesser version of the Fête de la Lumière in Lyon (which I might go to this weekend) and a celebration of the illuminating of all the Holiday lights. Unfortunately, Saturday happened to be one of the rainiest and windiest days I have experienced in Valence. It started out sprinkling, then started pouring, and then the wind came and turned everyone’s umbrellas inside out. It was still a fun day and we drank many coffees indoors before looking at all the lights in the evening.
In addition to lights wrapped around trees and buildings, there were some creative light projections, including the one above. One or two people would draw in the air with light sticks that were turned into white lines projected on about 10 screens. There was also a colored circle that pulsed to music. This was one of the only light displays that was covered, so it was very popular.
These glowing octopi were my favorite part of the light festival. At least I’m assuming they are octopi due to their eight legs. I guess the rest of the bodies are swimming down to the bottom of France.
There were also this cute Light Bulb Tress by the train station. One nice thing about the rain was the way the wet pavement reflected all the lights, like in an old film noir movie. I guess that makes up for being freezing and soaked. Did I mention neither of us had umbrellas? I had a hood on my coat at least, but at one point we went to Monoprix so that Sarah could buy an umbrella and a towel to dry her hair.
The grande finale of the festival was a fireworks display in the park. It was choreographed to some music that got really somber at points, but I guess I’m used to the over-the-top patriotic spectacles that are American fireworks displays. I’ve never really considered that fireworks could be anything other than jovial. France is expanding my mind!