A steel blue sky. Sunshine. Super warm and the most famous Swiss mountain, the Matterhorn, was cloudless. It must have been 15 years since I’ve been in Zermatt the last time. Back then it was for the Tigerentenclub show, where among others the Kelly Family had performed. This time I visited the Zermatt unplugged to see Rival Kings finally again this evening. So I didn’t only recharge my vitamine D completly and got to know local food, but next to already known bands I even discovered a new one.
A short walk through the village and then off to Taste Village, a part of the annual Zermatt unplugged music festival. I already heard a lot of good things about it, but out of various reasons I’ve had never been there before. In the whole area there were standing various stages during this week, outdoor as well as indoor, with various concerts by national and international musicians and bands. Paulo Nutini, LP, James Gruntz, Damian Lynn and many more did perform. Some concerts have even been for free, like the ones on this Saturday afternoon at Taste Village.
The Company of Men
The first band of the day was just playing so I went into the audience. The four guys – two of them brothers – introduced themselves as “The Company Of Men”. A great folk-rock band, who exactly knew how to entertain their audience. On the one side with their beautiful songs, on the other one with their likable, down-to-earth manners. Sadly I only got to see a little part of the concert. The happier I was to find out, that “The Company Of Men” are a band from Lausanne. So there sure will be a chance to see them live again.
In the German speaking part of Switzerland they are not so well known though, but they try now to start out in our part of the country by playing livingroom concerts. The bass player told me, that we have met before. But I definitively couldn’t remember… They seemed a little overwhelmed by the huge interest of the visitors with the many signature requests. But so the target to sell more albums than the day before, was sure met. hehe.
There was a longer break after them. There were more concerts somewhere else, but I stayed at Taste Village. There was a lot to discover and so I finally tasted this traditional Wallis dish that I knew from crosswords: The Wallis veggies pie “Cholera”. I was the second one knowing it from the crosswords, the seller mentioned. Yes, the small pie is a lot better than you would think from the name. From village to village a little differently filled, this one filled with potatoes, leek, apples as well as scalloped with raclette cheese, tasted delicious. But there were also various stands with tarte flambee, pizza or risotto. But the best: In the middle of the place there was a fireplace you could broil cervelats on sticks yourself. I didn’t get any, but loved the possibility.
Marius Bär finally played this afternoon his third concert at Zermatt unplugged. After I’ve seen him solo and as a trio before, this time it was a fullband concert. After so much singing – as well as drinking and partying – he sure could hear that his voice was getting raspier, he told grinningly. He sure seemed kind of happy, that the festival slowly but surely came to an end.
During about 1 hour he and the band thrilled with their blues rock unplugged concert. Whilst the adults were listening by sitting on the ground or standing in the background, the kids were dancing wildly in front of the stage. In the end the band unplugged their instruments completely for their encore and went down to stand in front of the stage in the audience to play the last title acoustic. Fantastic! This man got an amazing voice!
Finally the concert followed, I actually came to Zermatt for at all. Rival Kings played this evening an unplugged concert, the way I hadn’t known it before. Usually they are louder and more rocky, and especially also more electronic. But recently they had played acoustic versions of their songs on the radio, I was sure with, such a concert would be fantastic.
At the beginning the Luzern band was struggling with the technics. The output did only work stagnant. Just during “War”, what I was so much looking forward to, the speakers kept cracking. After the second song the sound was completley gone then and for the moment nothing was working. Obviously that was just needed. Afterwards we could just sit there, listen and enjoy.
With 1-2 songs I probably had the feeling, that there was something missing in the unplugged versions, but generally I loved every second of this concert. They played some song versions I hope we’ll get to listen to again in the future. One is “Echoes” [video here], which they played in a trio, accompanied by two acoustic guitars. For this Etienne started his old announcement again, which he had promised back at the album release show not to use anymore. I personally love the announcement. The reactions of the audience is always totally funny and priceless. And this evening many visitors hadn’t known the band yet.
Even the Stromae cover”Papaoutai” hadn’t been missing, which they recently had played at SRF3punktch, and they finally played “Citizens” again. It’s difficult to even find the right words for my enthusiasm. Hadn’t seen the band in three months [last time at Amboss Rampe] and then they played such a great unplugged version with all the stunning song versions. Next to them the setlist of course contained many more songs of both their albums “Citizens” and “War”.
It definitively was the best decision to go to Zermatt. Such a fantastic day I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. A super nice place, perfect weather, delicious food, great atmosphere and super music by wonderful bands. I can recommend Zermatt unplugged warmly to you. It’s worth the visit. I’m definitively missing the repeat button for this day.