DJ Park: Nora En Pure @ SoundCheck — 6/21/18

Nora En Pure
Nora En Pure (Photo by Juska Wendland)

Hey guys, Welcome back to another adventure through my shoes as we cruised to a familiar venue, for some deep house healing. The line was around the corner and calm as everyone was in high spirits in anticipation for what we were about to witness! With a plethora of students back from school, it was a frat party for all ages. Needless to say, the venue was packed and no tickets would be available at the door, as we would have yet another SOLD OUT crowd at Soundcheck for Nora En Pure!

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Music Park: Tar Queen @ Montreux Music Festival — 7/5/16

Tar Queen 23
Tar Queen lay down some psych vibes at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 5, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Self-proclaimed stoner rock band Tar Queen opened a free show at the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Rock Cave last week with the rolling psychedelic number “Roger Mojo.”

The song is a new single in 2016 from the quartet, hailing from Freiburg, Switzerland, and it marks an exciting evolution in the band’s sound since the release of their last album — 2013’s Continuum. I didn’t know any of this before walking into the Montreux Jazz Festival of course, but it was a terrific experience to pick up on new discoveries like Tar Queen at the renowned festival, particularly Swiss bands like these gents that deserve a wider audience.

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Music Park: Montreux Jazz Festival 50 @ Montreux, Switzerland — 7/1-7/16/16

foule_montreux_deep_purple_0048 Deep Purple perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Stravinksy Auditorium in 2013. (Photo by Lionel Flusin)

What is the Montreux Jazz Festival exactly?

If you’re like me, you’ve occasionally seen or heard live performances from the festival on video or CD — and you have the impression it’s a far-flung gathering of musicians socializing over jazz in some elite location in Switzerland.

Well, now I’m here, and the first thing that I can report is that it’s not just a jazz festival — it’s dedicated to all kinds of music ranging from rock to soul to EDM. It’s also not necessarily all that elite. Take for example this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival 50, which hosts an incredibly robust free program over its two-week stretch in this month of July. You could attend from 2pm to 5am many days and see many performances and then dance until you drop for free admission.

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Music Park: The Shivas @ L’Usine (Geneva, Switzerland) — 6/28/16

The Shivas 02 Kristin Leonard and Jared Molyneux of The Shivas rock out at L’Usine in Geneva on June 28. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Yours truly, your humble music concert correspondent, happens to be in Switzerland, where I will travel next week to the Montreux Jazz Festival for a day or two.

Meanwhile, I’m parked in Geneva, checking out the indie rock scene here, and its epicenter is surely the nonprofit arts building L’Usine, which hosts all manner of music parties. Produced by a promotions outfit calling itself Kalvingrad, L’Usine (Place des Volontaires 4, 1204 Genève) often hosts rock-n-roll concerts in a large, comfortable dancehall that can likely hold up to 700 or 800 people — approximate in size and configuration to the upstairs stage at DC’s own Black Cat.

It’s fortuitous then, that I got to see the space in action in a smaller configuration when American band The Shivas toured through Geneva from Portland, Oregon, slipping in a date in-between stints at European Festivals. A dedicated crowd of some 50 people showed up for The Shivas on Tuesday, and the band left a big impression on their Swiss audience who hungrily devoured every word and note delivered by the garage rock trio. You got the sense that an American indie rock band traveling through the area during the week was a rare treat indeed.

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