CCM John Lennon centre,
Approaching what looked like a youth centre, plastered in graffiti, we weren’t sure what to expect from The 6th Lemovice Antifa (antifascism) Festival, but it turned out to be a great high tech, medium-sized gig venue. The festival went off with a bang on Friday, with Limoges’ own Sideburns Sweat playing their punk-hardcore, though the audience took a little bit longer than the band to warm up. Next up, Taste in Vibes’ straight-up ska and The Scoundrel‘s RATM-influenced metal/hip hop got the crowd going.
Rounding off Friday night were the UK Subs. Oldest band members Charlie Harper and Paul Slack kept the flame of punk burning, along with youngest member Jamie Oliver (not the chef!) on drums.
It was hard to put your finger on it, but Saturday had a slightly edgier vibe. Another Limoges-based band The Nutties kicked off with ska which set the mood for the rest of the night. Banned From the Pub and Skuds & Panic People followed with more street-punk and ska, setting off a proper pogo pit. The reformed 8°6 Crew were back with their skinhead reggae, with some songs from a decade ago that still hit the spot. Finally the highlight of the festival, for most of the crowd it seemed, came when veteran UK band The Oppressed hit the stage. They played a tight set and were totally on the ball. The Oppressed were one of the first European bands to highlight anti-racism in the skinhead scene and it’s obviously an issue that is still close to the heart of many.
This year’s festival was dedicated, by organisers Solitude Urbain, to people who put their lives at risk for antifascism in Russia. During The Oppressed’s set, a scuffle broke out that moved outside, with crowds following to watch. While the antifascist movement has its heart in the right place, it’s a shame there still seems to be some division… While it wasn’t peace and love for everyone, some of the same punks who were bashing each other around the pogo pit could be seen again later politely kissing each other goodbye on the cheeks (as per the usual French custom) – which is a sight you would never see in the UK.
All in all, from what we saw, the French have enough punk attitude to rival anyone from the UK – and that includes the fans. Oi Oi !!!
Thanks to MumuDIY for the 2 live images above.