Montreux Jazz Festival to the rescue! With the release of their bumper crop of free gigs at the Montreux Jazz Cafe, the venerable festival has just saved a previously pretty dull 2012 Swiss summer festival season – a round of well-deserved applause, if you please. You can check out the full free programme here, but these are my picks of the free gigs:
Best free gigs:
Poliça – One of my favourite albums of 2012. Channy Leaneagh’s auto-tuned vocals are particularly striking.
Alt-J – Electro-rock from the UK, current buzz band.
Django Django – Ditto.
First Aid Kit – One of the best live acts I’ve seen this year. The Swedish sisters have glorious voices, and their moving, intimate indie folk is a joy.
Active Child – Gentle American dream/indie pop.
Niki and the Dove – Dramatic Swedish electro pop/rock.
Other Lives – I’ve been trying to see them for what seems like years. Now’s my chance!
Best paid gigs:
Alabama Shakes – Brittany Howard’s voice is an earth-shaking wonder.
Janelle Monae – Aside from her vertiginous hair, her polished, professional R&B/soul is a prime example of the genre.
Lana Del Ray – ‘Video Games’, anyone?