Concours Circuit 2012
Brussels Botanique, Friday 7 September 2012
Start with a bang, this is not. To be honest, the dear and owl masks look naff, the guitars (for this is 2 guys each with a guitar) are going nowhere, and playing to an audible click-track ain’t tops. I’ll stroll off for a beer and hope they’ll have started by the time I get back.
Oh shit – there’s vocals. And pseudo post-rock / shoegaze guitars with the occasional cringe for an FX change. Next!
Cougars in America
Nice clean vocals. In fact, I really like his voice. The guy doing the lead parts (dobro, banjo, lapsteel and mandolin) is excellent as well.
I was just going to class them as Alt-country-folk, when they come up with something that wouldn’t be out of place at a Bar mitzvah. These 4 lads (American/Italian unless I’m mistaken) are quite something to keep me interested throughout the set, but it leaves me blank emotionally.
Another Belgian Band.
Song writing. Right from the first few bars, and throughout the set, the songwriting is magnificent. And the casual, relaxed, easy instrumentation to go with it is spot on.
To dare to have 2 lead vocals singing dissonant lines is not something you hear every day. Nor is the variety of the songs, from stories about the Mid Life Crisis to the rocking Claudia. Nor is the complete lack of effects and sound processing on the instruments.
For the last song, they get the PA turned off and the lights turned up, and walk into the audience, spread out, and play fully acoustically. Which is just brilliant – they’ve already won over the crowd, but you can tell by the looks on people’s faces and the complete silence that they’re strong contenders for the final.
I wasn’t over impressed with this lot last time I saw them. They’re still a drums/guitar duo with good songs and a soulful voice. And “Has potential”?
Well the guitar sound has been seriously beefed up. There are not many FX pedals, but one of them is an Electro-Harmonix Poly Octave, and the way he uses the thing is just monumental. The sound is enormous, which is just the ticket when you’ve got so much space to fill. And the drums are vocals, whilst still tight and soulful, are much wilder and let rip.
Totally different from last year. They’ve taken this minimalist duo concept, made it their own, turned it into something unique, and made it rock with avengance. More finalists, I hope.
Either they’re going to be really good, or they’re going to disappear up their own backsides. It’s just one of those tough calls where you can’t stay and review the last band because the organisation is not sufficiently organised to run the evening to finish in time for public transport. And despite the pianos and guitarist in a class straw trilby that suggest we might get something a bit Maroon 5-ish (you can take that straight if you want), I’m not going to be hanging around to find out.
Which is a shame, because there was enough time to get on with things and fit their set in, and I think they would have made for an entertaining read.