Jack White, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop to rock Montreux jazz fest | Music | DW | 29.06.2018
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Jack White, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop to rock Montreux jazz fest

Rock, punk, hip-hop: The Swiss jazz festival has always been a celebration of the world's best — and most eclectic — music. Rock band Deep Purple is also back in the city where it famously recorded "Smoke on the Water."

The 52nd edition of the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival, held from June 29 to July 14, once again showcases a wide variety of musical styles.

The festival's double billing allow artists to join together for unique shows. In this spirit, an unlikely pair opens the event on Friday; French new wave chanson singer Etienne Daho headlines a concert alongside Italian jazz entertainer Paolo Conte.

"The goal is to create an experience that puts artists together. That is our passion in the programming," programmer Mathieu Jaton said.

From punk to industrial rock

Rock highlights of the event include Nick CaveJohnny Depp with his musical formation Hollywood Vampires, Iggy Pop, Queens of the Stone Age, Van Morrison, Billy Idol and Jack White.

Snagging Jack White, who plays on July 10, is "very rare," Jaton said. "There's great anticipation since his last album. It's his first time solo in Montreux." The musician, formerly part of the White Stripes duo, had previously played at the festival with his bands Dead Weather and The Raconteurs.

Heavy synth sounds can be expected when Nine Inch Nails take the stage with Gary Numan on July 9.

Hip-hop and electronic music will also be well featured with acts such as N.E.R.D., Tyler the Creator, Young Fathers, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Massive Attack.

"Montreux is a bubble where one can create and innovate, with this notion of liberty and sharing, which make up the DNA of jazz," said Jaton of his eclectic line-up.

Tribute to David Bowie

Miles DavisNina SimonePrinceLeonard Cohen and David Bowie are just a few of the late music giants that contributed to Montreux's fame since the festival started in 1967.

This year, the festival is celebrating Bowie's legacy through an exhibition, titled The Rise of David Bowie, which shows photos of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust tour from 1972-73.

Brazilian musician Seu Jorge will also perform on July 5 his acoustic versions of Bowie hits developed for the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.    

The Montreux fire that inspired 'Smoke on the Water'

Deep Purple, who play this year at the festival on July 4, will be returning to the location that inspired their most mythical hit, "Smoke on the Water."

In December 1971, the band was in Montreux to record an album and on the eve of their recording session, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention had a concert in the same entertainment complex where Deep Purple was working, the Montreux Casino. The casino caught fire during Zappa's gig.

Watching the huge fire and the smoke spread out on Lake Geneva, Deep Purple was inspired to compose a song telling this story and recorded it in a Montreux hotel.

There's now a sculpture paying tribute to the song and the band along the lake's shore in Montreux.


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