Friday, August 20, 2004

Euritmix Day 2 (& Poster #2)

It doesn't feel like you're making the proper effort when you can just walk from square to square, nonchalantly check out the band, hang out and chat at the back and walk away whenever. Because it's free. "What happened to Day 1?" you ask. I missed Day 1. I gave Christina Branco a miss too. Saw her a few years ago, doesn't do much for me.

Moonpie @ Place de la Monnaie
Downtempo slightly mopey electro-tinged rock, fronted by incomprehensible but suitably ethereal girl singer. Predominantly almost half-time beats, lots of ride cymbal naturally, a keyboardist for atmosphere, as if the drizzle didn't provide enough.

So there I am, in my suit (because I've come straight from work) and v-collar (because it's friday), a bag full of CDs (I stopped by the FNAC and the library) and an empty biscuit tin (might come in handy).

The first song was a bit Massive Attack-ish, then things got a bit more rockish and noisy as pre-recorded voices told us how order could come from chaos and, later, how they'd like to hear some good old rock'n'roll. There was a bit of "experimentation" when the bassist picked up a dijeridoo he had lying around, the pianist started hitting a low tom-tom, the girl twirled madly and the guitarist smacked a wood-block, reminiscent of Will Ferrell exploring the space with a cowbell (but thinner).

Still, I asked myself the same question I do when listening to, say, Explosions in the Sky: "What's the obsession with the continuous eighth-note? Why are you so static, rhythmically?" The volume drowned out my questions and I was far away, to protect my ears.

D. Pierard/B. Clément @ Place du marché aux poissons
Acoustic guitar duo, much quieter, obviously, but much more fun rhythmically, obviously. Gypsy jazz-inspired, but breaking out of that mold for some really nice remodellings of "Georgia" (bizarrely described as "an old jazz tune") and "Solar." The two took turns accompanying and soloing, another departure from the norm. They did dip into the QHCF bag from time to time, though.

Still, I asked myself the same question I do when listening to this stuff: "This is all well and good and community-based, but when is someone going to break out of it? Mix it up a bit with something else? Get excommunicated?"

Aldo Granato @ Place Sainte-Catherine
Accordion player with bassist, drummer and female singer (whose trousers, shall we say, put her behind in a somewhat unflattering light), sounded a bit like the Gotan Project: tango-type melodies supported by modern and d'n'b dance beats.

Admiral Freebee @ Grand-Place
Old-school 60s-70s rock. Very loud. Massive stage for only four people. The Admiral goes through the grand-standing postures, playing with his teeth, singing about everybody in Antwerp City either licking ass tonight or getting their ass licked. I'm not really into loud music. By this point, not only am I in suit, v-collar, bag, etc., but also with my girlfriend's parents' dog. People are kinder to animals than to strangers, so we became quite popular, me and the two blondes (the other being my girlfriend).

Nathalie Loriers/ Yadh Elyes @ Place Sainte-Catherine
After a nice 7 euro pit-stop at a Greek place, I decide to give Loriers another chance to win me over (after barely imprinting my memory with her last album, a concert with that same group, a duo with a singer and a mercifully short duo with bassist Philippe Aerts that bored me to tears). That, and I've never seen an oud being played live. I do like the Rabih Abou-Khalil albums I have very much, though. It's a cool instrument with a sandy attack, it's about imprecision and an eastern twang.

The oud player's songs are great: clear melodies, fairly strong rhythms, they're catchy or moving, depending on what's necessary. I react to Loriers the same way I always do: a fine player, but a feeling of sameness or, perhaps more precisely, a lack of necessity or of anything sticking when it's all over. In a bizarre conversation many months (years?) ago, a man whose name I don't know described her playing as lacking ass. Maybe that's it.