Thursday, January 21, 2010

This World, I Am Afraid, Was Designed For Crashing Bores

I have devised a bunch of plans in my head to help me survive 30 in 2010. One of them is doing more blogging. I have a few interviews coming up, so keep checking back. I do have some time on my hands now until Rise And Fall embarks on that 10 day Euro tour with Trapped Under Ice late January. So there might be more updates soon.

We did 3 shows with Hope Con a while back and it was a pleasure to see those dudes again, on and off stage. They raged through an epic setlist every night, playing as much as 16, 17 or 18 songs and lovin' it. I know I could not physically pull that off, despite being a few years younger than some of those guys, so hats off to them. Granted, it might seem a bit long considering how all our attention spans have been reduced to next to nothing thanks to the wonders of television and the internet but I actually enjoyed hearing such a wide variety of their songs, from real old to brand new. I love how that band works, they do what they do and when they want to. I have yet to acquire a physical copy of "True Nihilist" but I'm sure it'll come as no surprise when I tell you that record is really, really good.

Went to see a couple of shows last week, the first being the legendary Ian Brown playing one of Belgium's finest venues, the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. Now, I am not very familiar with Ian Brown's solo records so I will not claim to be an expert but I have to say most songs he played didn't make much of an impression on me. That's alright though, as I mainly just wanted to see the man on stage. You never know, it might've have secretly been his last tour or something. I mean Jay Reatard died last week and he was only 29. "Fool's Gold" was the only Stone Roses song we were treated to, I was hoping for more but I do respect the man just doing his own thing. My favourite parts of the show were the ones in between songs where he'd just stroll around stage and say cool shit. Best quote: "Could you stop texting please?" to some random idiot in the crowd. Glad I went.

Then on Saturday I was back in Brussels, this time in the newly relocated Magasin 4. The old location was the spot in late 90's and early 00's for wild shows and the new building is definitely cool. Good location, roomy but not huge. Just a little chilly in the winter I guess. Main attraction here was Kickback, supported by Length Of Time and a few more bands. Length Of Time did well in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd, the sound was good too. No new songs though although I know they've been working on some. Kirby held it down perfectly as the sole guitarist. Their set might've been a little long for my tastes but whatever.
On to Kickback, who throughout the years still have maintained enough mystique, charisma and popularity to draw a rather large crowd, especially in Belgium I'd say. Though I feel like a lot of people come to see the circus rather than Kickback the band, which I can understand, I've always thought they were a genuinely great band. Less of the provocative stage rants by Stephen this time around, I didn't really hear him call the crowd a bunch of f-bombs or whatever so that was a nice change. The music did all the talking and as far as Kickback shows go, this one was really good. An uncomfortable vibe dominated the room (in no small part thanks to the projections they have going on now, Neurosis style, showing the vilest shit you can imagine), a band possessed and a sound that was good but raw and aggressive enough to make it work. A lot of songs off their latest "No Surrender" album and obviously a bunch of tracks off "Forever War" and "Les 150 Passions Meurtrières". A good night.

Last of all, I'd recommend anyone to go see or rent "It Might Get Loud", a documentary on rock guitarists (I guess?) featuring Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge. This is one of the coolest music films I've ever seen. Seeing Jimmy Page play guitar, talk about guitars and school the young 'uns just brought the biggest smile to my face. Basically these 3 men get together with a bunch of guitars and a bunch of old records and talk about what they love most. Great concept. Lots of good music passes through. Afterwards I was thinking how brilliantly these 3 men reflect 3 generations of musicians. Seeing how U2 started out nearly as a punkrock band (The Edge gives props to The Jam and The Buzzcocks amongst others for inspiration), as a reaction to the old "rock dinosaurs" who were past their peak and would indulge in 15 minute guitar solos etc. they are defintely part of the generation that came after Led Zeppelin. In turn The White Stripes were very much a reaction as well to that generation. Back to basics, stripped down blues worship as a response to bands like U2 where the guitar didn't even sound like a guitar anymore, sounding too tame and too diluted for a wild cat like Jack White. "It Might Get Loud" is a job well done, above all, it was done with love and tremendous respect and that shines through. Don't miss out.


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