Sunday, March 18, 2007

(A)Live At Etna - 17/03/2007@Steiner School, Antwerpen

When I was in high school, I never went to see the high school bands some of my friends/acquaintances were in. I never had the chance to hear something like "Zusammen Gekomen," the result of running The Beatles' "Come Together" through an automatic translator, being dedicated to the German teacher - with the dedicatee present. So I had a lot of catching up to do. But why was I here in the first place? Well, the event was taking place at IVN's little sister's school and her trombonist boyfriend was in the second of the three bands. So, even though I could have seen an Anthony Braxton/Joëlle Léandre duo up in Bruges, I wasn't. I'm too lazy to go to Bruges more than once every six months, anyway.

3, 2, 1... Explosion went on first, thrashing out wooly, shambolic but not unambitious 70's rock. Memorably, the first lyrics the singer (who, strangely, was the dorkiest band member) sang were "Go, go, Power Rangers!" I was surprised kids still know them.

Darpoeka (pronounced darpooka, rhythm section and saxophone-trumpet-trombone) bill themselves as ska-funk-jazz and did what it says on the tin. It's always fun to see youngsters enjoying upbeat, unfussy and, importantly, concise versions of "Watermelon Man" and "Chameleon."

Still, the best band was undoubtedly the last, Leafpeople (and the only ones to be found on myspace), of "Zusammen Gekomen" fame. They started with a few originals, during which singer/guitarist/keyboardist Johannes Genard showed a surprising knack for lyrics, especially as I assume english isn't his native language. For example, "Herzeloyde"'s description of a girlfriend in the same terms generally used to describe an underground band: "She's the kind of girl the rest of the world would call 'experimentally pretty'/She's the kind of girl no-one else knows about except me." Then there was the funny, well-crafted stage show, which included a recreation, flash cards and backing dancers included, of the "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag" and a drum solo interrupted by the drummer's dash to the front of the stage to perform a brief Macarena. During Darpoeka's set, he had led a conga line through the crowd, so maybe this was to be expected.