House renovations are over, Spanish tests completed and tax forms filled out, so I guess it’s about time to breath some fresh life into this blog.
I haven’t seen many new movies lately but I was recently impressed by the Rotterdam Tiger Award winning WONDERFUL TOWN by Aditya Assarat. This fragile but powerful movie recently saw a nationwide release which today means that it was shown in 4 Belgian theatres for about 3 weeks. The film tells about a love affair, shot in a Thai village devastated by the 2004 tsunami, that ends on a morbid note. The impressively photographed desolate villages and their surroundings, the reflective & enchanting mood re-enforced by minimal dialogue and an evocative guitar-dominated score are just a few reasons why I loved every single moment of this memorable film. Aditya Assarat's debut film marks him as a talent to watch!
Concert-wise, I was rather disappointed by a rather boring Matthew Shipp Trio in Bruges, a mediocre-at-best Boss Tweed from NY and some kind of Johnny Dowd-goes-fusion show in my hometown. To make things worse, The Handsome Family – who impressed me at the Blue Highways festival a few years ago – got on my nerves after a couple of songs by overemphasizing the “weird” aspect of their music. I mean, every song was introduced as some kind of lullaby-with-devils so the whole thing became rather artificial and predictable after a while. Weird for the sake of being weird? No, thanks!
Fortunately, I also went to a couple of shows that set the place on fire! Here are my favorite ones:
1. The Hex Dispensers (May 23 - Pit's)
Alex Cuervo at the Pit’s was like a wet dream coming true. Expectations were very high but the Hex Dispensers left the competition far behind with songs that borrow a lot from The Wipers and Ramones but still do stand on their own. An adrenaline shot from some of the nicest people you could ever meet! Click here if you don't believe me.
2. Toby Dammit w/ Jessie Evans (April 3 - N9)
I haven’t seen or heard anything quite like this: sax player and extravaganza Goddess Jessie Evans w/ drummer Toby Dammit mixed afro beat with no wave and spiced the whole thing up with Brazilian and Mexican sounds. Awesome!
3. Haunted George (May 15 - Pit's)
Despite his ghoulish lyrics and primitive music, Haunted George turned out to be a real gentleman who knows how to boogie. It ain’t a thing if it ain’t got that swing!
4. The Seatsniffers (May 16 - N9)
Belgium’s best live band has just released their seventh album and this release show was another tour-de-force. Great cover of Alex Chilton’s Bangkok too!
5. Carbonas (April 9 - Pit's)
Full-throttle punkrock by a bunch of cool dudes from Atlanta. The day after, Carbonas paid a visit to the Westvleteren abbey and flew home with a couple of six packs from the brewery. My kinda guys!
6. Whiskey Daredevils (May 12 - 't Schransken)
Out of the ashes of the Cowslingers and still a great mix between punk rock and country. A funny band to watch too!
Next are the legendary SONICS at the Sjock Festival in Gierle this Saturday. Can’t wait to see one of my all-time favorite bands live on stage!!!