25 September, 2015…
CROCODILES – Botanique Club, Brussels – September 24, 2015
Finally ! For different reasons I had to miss these swirling American psych pop/rockers’ previous gigs in Belgium. So this is my first Crocodiles live experience. I love these noisemakers from New York-via-San Diego. Core members Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell released their fifth studio album, titled ‘Boys‘, last May. They tour as a quartet – more is louder – and are now in the middle of their European promo tour. Yesterday they came to bomb Brussels with their psychedelic big-pop-beat strokes. With
tons of distorted guitars and squeaky feedback they roar through a ‘greatest hits‘ set.
The only time they actually slow down is to sing, with vocal help from an enthusiastic crowd, ‘happy birthday‘ for their rousing drummer.
The show is actually one long & loud hypnotic journey. Every spectator is moving one or more body part(s). Guitarist Rowell hits his guitar strings while making shaking Elvis hip moves and Welchez‘s voice fights continuously with the towering mix. Perfect ! Ending the stirring concert with that punky 70s ‘Ca Plane Pour Moi‘ pop hit from Belgian’s one-hit-wonder Plastic Bertrand (released by the band as B-side of one of their singles from the third album as Brandon Welchez told me afterwards – must find that single !) assisted by the amazing girls of support act PINS was just brilliant. As I said this was my first Crocodiles live treatment. I want more…
Here’s the excellent new album ‘Boys’ in full…
(Concert photos by JL/TurnUpTheVolume!)
METZ – Botanique, Brussels – June 17, 2015…
When working on their second album METZ II singer/guitarist Alex Edkins had this clear message: “We are not going to clean up our sound, we are not going to hire a big producer, we are not going to try to write a radio song…” Smart decision ! Who needs orchestrated tunes when you can bombard your ‘we want to go bonkers’ audience with hammering concrete drones and metal punk grooves. Metz are a kind of mega-power-rock Nirvana without Cobain’s melodies. The Toronto noisemakers (charming guys between songs) are about monstrous merciless riffage, sledgehammer drumming (I swear I saw drummer Hayden Menzies hitting his gear with four hands at one point) and deafening bass attacks. On top of that – almost hard to believe – frontman Edkins succeeds to bellow out loud like a badly wounded madman.
Meanwhile strobe flashes create a kind of Friday the 13th atmosphere. Fascinating ! The band’s intensity is beyond normality. An inexhaustible volume of energy. I have no idea how they manage to do a world tour without accidents of huge shortage of oxygen. The composition of the setlist is clever. One to win wars with. The irresistible headbutts (The Mule / I.O.U. / Acetate and Wet Blanket) are saved for last. Brussels goes up and down, forward and backward. Exorcism all around until the final bang. Brilliant !
A taster of METZ live…
And here’s the overwhelming new album METZ II in full…
Where/when: De Kreun, Kortrijk – 17 May 2015…
How was it for me: my middle name is ‘turn up the volume’ – I really like it when loud music infiltrates my body and mind – some artists are experts in creating a state of trance and in making you encounter an enchanting soul experience (just to name two: My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized) – also Swansfather Micheal Gira and his band are masters in that area – I only really got in them after their reunion in 2010 and the three excellent albums (My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky (2010) / The Sheer (2012) and To be Kind – 2014) they delivered since then and as this was my first Swans live concert I was quite thrilled – but… from the first drones in it was clear that the PA couldn’t handle the immense sound volume of the experimental New York noisemakers – I was (as usual) in the front, first row and had to cover my ears quite regularly (yes, it was that loud) while Gira and his gang produced endless, hypnotic build-ups, awesome noise crescendos and most of all frenzied, ponderous grooves – my mind wanted to step into their world but my ears needed a rest after an unhealthy ear-splitting first hour – as many others I surrendered and followed the next 1 1/2 hour of their marathon show from the back of the venue where ‘spiritual’ connection with the great adventure upfront faded away slowly – damn PA – it was an unexpected disappointment but, I admit, also one kind of a special experience – I want a rematch and see Swans sometime, somewhere, again with a sound system that is able to balance their fully charged, electrifying noise level ..
(all pics: JL)
To Be Kind – double album – 2014…
Jack White played an acoustic gig a couple of days ago (April 26) at the Fargo Theatre in Fargo, North Dakota. The last of a short acoustic tour where he played the five US states he had yet to perform in: Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota. The shows were quite special performances as such but also special as maestro Jack White announced that he takes a break now from live performances for a long period of time.
So let’s enjoy this (provisionally) ‘final’ concert in full…
Just One Drink
Alone In My Home
We’re Going to Be Friends
A Martyr for My Love for You
The Same Boy You’ve Always Known
You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket
(photos: Getty Press)
THE DISTRICTS – Botanique Club , Brussels – April 9, 2015…
Ladies and gentlemen, from Philadelphia… The Districts. That was exactly the feeling I had after the show: ‘hello world, listen to this awesome teenage four-piece’. After hearing the euphoric (awesome bass intro) single ‘4th And Roebling’ I searched the internet for these four American youngsters en learned about their thrilling 2012 debut EP which they recorded while still at school. Last February they released their debut album ‘A Flourish And A Spoil‘. An impressive big bang. The first three tracks (the aforementioned single, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Chlorine’) are outstanding. Epic, melodic power rock, grunge punches, passionate vocals and towering choruses. Mind you, the album is an overall debut success but if you never heard about this gang check 1-2-3 first. Last Thursday in our city of Brussels The Districts’ huge compositions became exploding fireworks. Sublime ! The club was packed with ‘we already know this band and we love them’ audience. Several people even sang along word by word. An emotional frontman Rob Grote was charmingly moved by the big reception, furthermore that this was their first date of their first European tour. They will grow and will be huge. Trust me. Therefore the good news for me is that I will see them again in two weeks in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Hell yeah ! In the meantime let’s enjoy this emotional & soulful live rendition of ‘Chlorine’ on Seattle radio…
Debut album in full here…
(All concert pics: JL)