Eurosonic 2017, day 2: A salutary have

The Belgians typically make a good impression at Eurosonic Noorderslag, showcase festival in Groningen, where three hundred young bands in the spotlight are allowed to play, but no band sounded on day two zinnenprikkelender than TaxiWars.

TaxiWars © Kris Dewitte


If you still have doubt: TaxiWars is so much more than the umpteenth hobbyclubje of Tom Barman. All members of the quartet are so well matched that you’re not really a frontman can speak. TaxiWars plays a form of punkjazz, usually balled up and in your face, in the same way that the music of Morphine, Blurt, or Soul Coughing that was then.

The Barman, who in this context are often the voice is distorted and a beatnik-like parlando used, to enjoy of the exciting interventions of his companions, all of which have names created in the New York jazz scene. The stuttering sax of Robin Verheyen tells a story in itself, while drummer Antoine Pierre and bassist Nicolas Thys together one of the most powerful rhythm sections for forms that we have, since times have seen.

In the full Machine shop, a hall similar to the Leuven Depot, was TaxiWars guarantees to nervous and brooding grootstadsmuziek to the recipe of Archie Shepp or Pharoah Sanders. It all sounded wonderfully spontaneous and energetic, because the lord fell never in moeilijkdoenerij. On the contrary, the groove was so overwhelming, that there to dwell no there could be. ‘Egyptian Nights’ was something longer, drawn-out, but the punch of ‘Bridges’ or very last song ‘Fever’ did you are guaranteed asterisks. TaxiWars: a fever attack, which no one wished to repel.


In the former Yugoslavia was the accordion called ‘the piano of the poor”, but since a decade or two applies to them increasingly as a fully fledged instrument. That is, in part, the merit of the Finnish experimentalist Kimmo Pohjonen, but also the pioneering work of Mario Batkovic should in this respect not be underestimated. The from Switzerland operating, but in Bosnia-born composer create rich music that in none of the boxes are late pushing. Recently brought to Batkovic, a cd on the Invada label of Geoff Barrow of Portishead and Beak>, which indicates that his work rather belongs in arts centres and clubs than in havenkroegen.

Mario Batkovic © Mario Batkovic

During the EuroSonic festival appeared Mario Batkovic on his own with his knoppenaccordeon on the stage. His game testified of a stunning virtuosity, dynamism and versatility. One moment, he let his instrument moan like an analog synth, the other, there seemed to be a full orchestra hidden in it. His compositions have kept the middle between contemporary classical music, minimal music (Philip Glass was never far away), post-rock and jazz. He took all the possible tones and nuances out of his harmonica, and had not even effects. A pity that his mesmerizing performance was occasionally disturbed by a soundcheckende band in the building of the Grand Theatre. Never knew that behind an accordion as many different voices and characters hiding could go. Batkovic: remember the name, because he is to the accordion what Toots Thielemans was made for the smoelschuiver.


Balthazar has a year of vacation gepermitteerd. However, the members of the group in recent months, more often in the studio than in a hammock and spent. Warhaus, the company around Maarten Devoldere, called EuroSonic so many interested parties that we, by the long queues, not even the room inside were, but one of J.”, the alter ego of Jinte Deprez, we had more luck. That is probably because his solo album is still to come and the public still doesn’t know what the exactly expect. In Groningen was already a tip of the veil.

Jinte Deprez © Jef Boes

Deprez fell on the stage guide by Adriaan Van de Velde (Pomrad) on keyboards and Klaas De Somer (d.a. Tourist Le Mc) on drums. Himself he played keys, slapped him on an electronic drum pad, and he played occasionally a piece of guitar that was then looped. The songs of J. Bernart differ from those of Balthazar, in the sense that there is a more pronounced r&b vibe of the movie. ‘Lapse of Reason’ was attractive indie-pop, but in ‘Running Days’, we heard vague echoes opkringelen from gospel and trip-hop. The set consisted of only six songs, which on first hearing decided to be more experienced. An unforgettable live performance, however, it was not yet, though we have all the confidence in that the growing pains at the effective cd-release overcome.


Tyfusherrie that allows you to any unwanted visitor in the house and can hunt? That is a simple request kicked by Dead!, a very young motley crew from the British Southampton. The five gentlemen behave now, already on the stage as if the world at their feet. To swagger no lack so. Dead! (note the exclamation mark) plays punk in which every nuance, every suspicion of a melody, as off limits is considered. The group (schuimbekkende singer, kregelige guitars, muscular rhythm section) is a barrel full of testosterone, which there is still some leftover from The Fall and Scratch Acid left behind. The kind of fun that both the BBC radio and Kerrang, the favorite magazine of the hardhorige, to superlatives inspires. Soon brings Dead! his debut cd ‘Voices’, and on the basis of the voluminous show at the EuroSonic festival we dare now to predict that that sufficient power will bear witness to every comapatiënt in a blink of an eye to awaken.

Dirk Steenhaut

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