Sat. April 30
(Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing)

Sun. May 1
(The Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 5
Awesome Tapes From Africa dj set
(Treehou5e Open Air, Ghent)

Fri. May 6
Invisible Hands / Neil Michael Hagerty & The Howling Hex / DSR Lines
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Sat. May 7
(De Ruimte, Ghent)

Tue. May 10
(De Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 12
(DOK, Ghent)

Fri. May 13
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Sun. May 15
THRONEFEST (Taake, Inquisition, Mgla, Batushka, Inferno, Dysangellium, Wiegedood & The Commitee)
(Kubox, Kuurne)

Thu. May 26
(Den Trap, Kortrijk)

Fri. May 27
(Trix, Antwerp)

Wed. June 1
(Botanique, Brussels)

Wed. June 8
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Wed. June 22
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


If I would be on Twitter, I think I would now post a message telling that – at the moment - I am intensely enjoying this magnificent reissue.

AWESOME IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! (and I haven't even touched a Trappist beer right now)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sublime Frequencies label night (Hasselt - June 6th 2009)

I recently went to the SUBLIME FREQUENCIES label night at Kunstencentrum België in Hasselt. Sublime Frequencies is a world music record label based in Seattle and headed by Alan Bishop from THE SUN CITY GIRLS and Hisham Mayet. I was never impressed by THE SUN CITY GIRLS’ music although I had their 2 so-called masterpieces in my record collection at the time: ‘Torch of the Mystics’ from 1990 and ‘330,003 Cross dressers From Beyond the Big Veda’ from 1996. I found the music vague and pretentious, made by a bunch of charlatans who make weird music just for the sake of being weird. A few years ago, I sold both out-of-press albums at a great price on eBay and bought me another bunch of Nonesuch Explorer CD’s with the money.

As a world music aficionado, I really felt I had to check out the SUBLIME FREQUENCIES releases though and although I like some of the labels output, I also found some real stinkers in the catalogue. ’I Remember Syria’ and ‘Radio India’ for example feature a mish-mash of random music culled from Syrian/Indian radio, with the radio being fine-tuned all the time and endless audio distortion throughout the songs. To make things worse, many songs are brutally shortcut in the middle and the lack of any licensing info really reeks of exotica exploitation.

But as I just mentioned, there are also a bunch of worthwhile collections in the SF catalogue: the ‘Cambodian Cassette Archives: Khmer Folk & Pop Music Vol.1’, ‘Molam: Thai Country Groove From Isan’, ‘Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq’ and ‘Ethnic Minority Music of North Vietnam’ are all good to great compilations of genuine modern or traditional music from out there.

Last year, I bought the OMAR SOULEYMAN compilation ‘Highway to Hassake’ and I was immediately intoxicated by the 2 slow & mesmerizing laments on the compilation. I also like some of the GROUP DOUEH recordings so when I read about an upcoming Sublime Frequencies label night with OMAR SOULEYMAN and GROUP DOUEH, I absolutely didn’t want to miss the opportunity to witness myself what Sublime Frequencies is all about.

The evening took off with the screening of ‘Palace of the Winds’, a 52 minutes documentary by Hisham Mayet focusing on the music of the Saharawis from Southern Morocco and Mauritania. The film consisted mainly of raw & intense live performances by Group Doueh, Group Marwani, Sadoum Oueld Aida and Group Bab Sahara and these home-recordings were interwoven with lo-fi images of desert villages and its inhabitants. Unfortunately and in real Sublime Frequencies style, Mayet doesn’t give the viewer any information which I found rather frustrating as I was wondering at times in what country the images were taken (Morocco or Mauritania?) and on what kind of occasions the bands were playing. Again, it looked like the Sublime Frequencies people are more interested in weird & outsider culture than in the awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage of others (dixit Smithsonian Folkways). Still, I bought myself a copy of the DVD because I still liked the film and think it’s an interesting addition to my Saharawis 3CD box set on Nubenegra.

As soon as ‘Palace of the Winds’ was over, GROUP DOUEH took the stage and treat us to some great desert music. Although the keyboard sounded very cheesy, both the guitar playing and the male and female lead singers were excellent. The music reminded me of Dimi Mint Abba with its hypnotic and trance-like feeling. Great!

Next was a documentary shot on the Jemnaa El Fna square in Marrakesh ('Musical Brotherhoods of the Trans-Saharan Highway'). Last year, I visited the square myself but in the documentary, it looked like the images were shot somewhere else. Firstly, you didn’t see any tourists in the film (and there are a lot) and the musicians were much more interesting in the film than those I had witnessed myself on the square. Still, a nice way to feel some of the square’s vibrancy!

In the middle of the documentary, I had to rush away because OMAR SOULEYMAN had taken the stage. Although the audience loved every note, I wasn’t really impressed by Souleyman’s Syrian disco with techno beats. I found the virtuosi electric saz player of more interest than Souleyman himself who reminded me sometimes of the Syrian equivalent of Eddie Wally. After three quarter of an hour, the band suddenly switched to a slow hypnotic song but as the audience had come to party, the song was abandoned after a mere 2 minutes and the band continued with their ruthless party beats.

At the end of the night, Bishop and Mayet did some DJ-ing (no vinyl, just cd’s and cd-roms) and screened some amusing film footage from all over the world. As I was looking at the screen above the stage, I saw a photographer asking Bishop and Mayet if he could take their picture while DJ-ing. They agreed but all of a sudden, when the picture was taken, Bishop and Mayet raised their right arm to give the Hitler-salutation. I know the swastika has been known in India for over 5,000 years but I don’t think the Nazi-salutation has an ancient tradition. Oh well, charlatans - right?

Friday, June 12, 2009


If push comes to shove, “Desperado” by THE POOH STICKS might be my all-time favorite power-pop song! It’s catchy as hell, it’s pretty wild & each time I hear it again, it makes me very happy. A real hidden gem, forgotten by anyone but me, my wife & Michael Kastelic. That’s right, the singer of THE CYNICS almost kissed me on the cheek when I played “Desperado” before the band went on stage in my hometown some 15 years ago (gee, I’m getting old!!!). In an ideal world, “Desperado” is the kind of tune you would hear blasting out of convertible sports cars!

Desperado - THE POOH STICKS mp3

"Desperado" is the fifth track from 'The Great White Wonder', the second POOH STICKS album from 1991, released on Cheree Records in the UK.

Friday, June 05, 2009

THE UPSETTERS: Unsung Heroes of Rock & Roll !!!

The Upsetters are one of my favourite R&B outfits. Unfortunately, their music is very hard to find. Here’s some information from the liner notes of a 1984 Charly Records compilation called “The Upsetters: The New Orleans Connection”, written by the late great Ray Topping:

Around October 1957, Little Richard gave up rock ‘n’ roll for the church and his retirement left his backing band, the Upsetters out on a limb. They had many advance bookings and engagements to fulfil and set about looking for a replacement. In Chicago they met Dee Clark, a versatile vocalist who had previously sung in several vocal quartets. Billed as Little Richard, Clark set off with the Upsetters to complete a mid western tour. On their return the Upsetters signed with Vee Jay and accompanied Clark on “Oh Little Girl” and “Wondering” – (Falcon 1009, see CRB 1010). On the same date, January 17th 1958, the Upsetters cut two great instrumentals “The Strip” and “Upsetter” (Falcon 1010) and their saxophonist, Wilbert Smith (who also doubled on piano) sang on “Hatti Malatti” and “Mama Loochie” (Vee Jay 272). Smith who used the stage name of Lee Diamond on these sides, came from New Orleans and had previously played with the bands of Roy Brown and James Brown, he also co-wrote “Slippin’ and Slidin’” and introduced Little Richard to his revised version; Eddie Bo had first recorded it for Apollo. “Hatti Malatti” became a regional break out in many Southern markets, and the flip “Mama Loochie” was a feature of DeeJay ‘Hound Dog’ Lorenz memory tune show for many years.

The nucleus of the Upsetters started life as various parts of the Pluma Davis and Gatemouth Brown bands. In Houston around 1955 where they accompanied Big Walter Price on his famous Peacock recordings of “Pack Fair And Square”. Grady Gaines, who later became their leader, also accompanied David Dean and Earl Forrest on a number of Duke and Peacock recordings. Grady Gaines’ brother Roy Gaines was starting to make his name as a leading session guitarist in Houston about this time. Roy went off to lead Chuck Willis’ band while Grady went on the road with the Upsetters backing Little Richard. Grady played lead Tenor Sax and wrote charts. Other members of the Upsetters included Clifford Burks (tenor sax), Larry Lennear (Barritone sax), Wilbert Smith (Piano and tenor sax), Nathaniel Douglas (guitar), Osie Robinson (bass), and Emile Russell (drums). Russel replaced the original drummer Charles Conner.

The Upsetters second session for Vee Jay later in 1958 produced 4 more sides: “Upsetter Rock”, “Baldhead Baby”, “Wake Up” and “Girl in Every City”. These sides remained unissued until now. “Upsetter Rock” and “Wake Up” are powerhouse instrumentals featuring the guitar of Nathaniel Douglas and the latter bears an uncanny resemblance to the Athmosphere’s “Fiddle Chicken”. If you listen closely to the end of “Upsetter Rock”, you hear somebody shout “Oh My Soul”. Is this Little Richard or could it be Lee Diamond doing a good impression?

The Upsetters returned for a third session in 1959 but unfortunately the tapes have been lost. In the early sixties Lee Diamond returned to New Orleans where he recorded for Minit, Lola and Bourbon Street, and wrote “Tell It Like It Is” for Aaron Neville with George Davis. He was last heard playing in Joe Jones’ band when they came to New York in 1965.

The Upsetters continued to record and a slew of singles appeared on many labels including Gee, Fire, Palm and H.B. Barnum’s label Little Star, where they re-united with their old buddy Little Richard who sang (uncredited) on “I’m In Love Again”, “Everynight About This Time” and “Valley Of Tears”.

In 2003, a bootleg cd with 27 Upsetters songs appeared on La Cienega Records (Made in Spain). Roots & Rhythm may still have a few copies for sale so don't hesitate because The Upsetters were surely one of the most exciting rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 50’s! Here are 5 classic Upsetters tracks for you to enjoy:

The Strip – THE UPSETTERS mp3
Upsetter – THE UPSETTERS mp3
Mama Loochie – LEE DIAMOND mp3
Upsetter Rock – THE UPSETTERS mp3