Sunday, August 22, 2004

Euritmix Day 3

The city centre has become a life-size radio. If you don't like what you're hearing, turn the dial (ie. walk) and hear something else. It's sunny, if not exactly blazing hot.

The Euritmix posters keep on advertising "80 concerts" and "20 venues" but only 9 venues and much-less-than-80 concerts are listed in the programme brochure. Who knows, I might be missing all the good stuff... ?

Four On Six @ Sint Goriksplein
Live neo-soul/downtempo/"electro"-jazz. Pleasant, but amazingly loud for the small corner of the square the stage is stuck in.

Whispered Notes @ Vismarkt; Hermosa @ Sint Katelijneplein (cf. photo)
The former played lite fusion, the latter a nice Latin tune, then a cloying poppish one. Both victims of dial scrolling.

Noah Howard's Migration Orchestra @ Sint Goriksplein
The main reason I came. I read an interview many months ago, seemed interesting: started out in free jazz, born in New Orleans but has been living in Belgium for a while.

Bizarrely, the band started without him, playing two straight 12-bar blues (an Elmore James tune and "Hoochie Coochie Man"). The singer took faux-growling way over the top. The two guitarists contrasted nicely, the older one playing in a dissonant rural Delta blues kind of way, the younger one spinning out more rockish distorted single note. The Fender Rhodes added an unexpected touch to this hidebound context.

Howard came out with his black alto (I don't generally like them, but his was kind of cool) and the band shifted gears into a sort of airer version of Bitches Brew-era fusion. Things were looking up.

Alas, they then downshifted back down into bluesy funk, with the same guitar and harmonica solos being wheeled out again and again. Howard also sang. I left after a few songs of this. I'll go see him next time his quartet with Bobby Few is in town.

Tricycle @ Vismarkt
By this point I was feeling a bit down and almost ready to go back home and had never heard of Tricycle before. So I was maybe a bit tired and a bit open and a bit ready to be convinced. Accordion, double bass and sax will do that to you.

Drawing from a range of popular musics (East European, gypsy, Brasilian, Irish, Carribbean (a closing biguine that resonated strongly with the part of my mind still lingering in Martinique)), the trio led by the accordion guy with a name that just begs to be metioned: Tuur Florizone. Rhythmic, dynamic, happy, unserious, I felt like I was watching street musicians seeking to entertain passer-bys, in a good way. Troubadours, perhaps. Not everything was hugely succesful (the Irish song, notably and the soprano player's turn on flute), but you can't begrudge them the constant unspooling of danceable melodies and melodic improvisations. And thank bassist Vincent Noiret for holding it together in great style.

M. Dorcea @ Sint Katelijneplein
A Haitian band with two percussionists, one of whom was Mexican and also played some very good violon and, although I missed it, flute. Impressive.

Also impressive was the female singer's honey-coated voice, and the light, dancing groove created by acoustic guitar and acoustic bass guitar, along with the above-mentioned percussionists. On the way back home, I heard a live performance by The Kills. It has its own rewards, I guess, but in my ears they're doing a lot less with a lot more noise. And while I'm at it: face it Franz, you can't sing "Matinee" without Pro Tools. It's still a cool song, but why kill it live like that?

Then I switched the radio off.