Belgian Independent Music Festival 2004

18 December 2004
Hof ter Lo, Antwerp (Belgium)

Sonar, Ah-Cama Sotz, Parade Ground,
Trisomie 21, Portion Control, Aroma di Amore…

Last year I enjoyed myself a lot at the BIMF festival, so this time I went again to Antwerp. For the real die-hards the festival already starts at 13 hrs with lesser known bands. Since I had to travel from Holland and also wanted to visit some record shops and eat a large portion of Belgian fries, I arrived at Hof ter Lo in the early evening. Just heard the last tones of Pressure Control, which sounded quite modern and danceable.

The dark ritual electronics of Ah-Cama Sotz could only hold my attention for a short moment. Perhaps I was not enough in the mood yet, so I checked out the bar and cd-stands first. Had already run out of budget to purchase any merchandise, except for the latest issue of Dark Entries magazine with a compilation containing mostly exclusive tracks of the performing bands. Returned to the main hall and appreciated the last tracks of Ah-Cama Sotz better, with more depth and atmosphere.
Ah-Cama Sotz Ah-Cama Sotz Ah-Cama Sotz

I noticed that there were considerably less visitors than last year, when The Klinik was headlining. Perhaps because of that I found the general atmosphere also less festive. By the way, due to delays the program was running an hour behind schedule. Suggestion for the next edition: hire some nice DJ’s to entertain the people during the concerts.

Then Parade Ground: I did not know what to expect. Heard their only album Cut up a few times and knew their ‘hit’ Strange world, which is very poppy. The concert though was a wall of noise, mainly guitar feedback and screaming vocals. A bit like early 80’s militant industrial. Most of the audience was chased away by these two brothers. They did ‘Strange world’ as an encore, but I found the vocals not very convincing, to say the least.
Parade Ground Parade Ground Parade Ground

Next came Sonar, which I did not find very well-programmed: I think the audience would have liked Dive or Absolute Body Control better. In my opinion the festival has a stronger concept if they focus on older EBM and wave acts. I found the danceable rhythmic noise of Sonar interesting for 15 minutes or so, then I had enough of it.

Trisomie 21 was the highlight for me. Never saw them live before. The two brothers Lomprez were supported by a guy hidden behind a computer (I’m not sure what he actually did) and a cool looking guitar player (whose at times dominant sound did not work very in every song). T21 played a nice mix of new songs from their album Happy Mystery Child and classics like ‘Il se noie’ and ‘Waiting for’. It took a few songs before the band and especially Phillipe had warmed up, but then I really liked their set. One song they played twice, because the New Order-type bass guitar of Herv? wasn’t audible the first time. ‘La fete triste’ really was a special moment. The room was almost dark, with Herv? alone on the stage, handling 3 keyboards at once, it sounded really moving.
Trisomie 21 Trisomie 21 Trisomie 21
Trisomie 21 Trisomie 21 Trisomie 21

The legendary Portion Control (who influenced acts like Skinny Puppy) was surprisingly good, classic yet powerful EBM. They recently made their come-back with the double album Wellcome, their first new material since 1986! Two guys behind laptops, but a singer who was running around on stage like a madman. I’m not very familiar with their oeuvre, but I suspect that the Englishmen focused on new material, because I did not really recognize any songs. But it was certainly good stuff to move some body parts to.
Portion Control Portion Control Portion Control

By the time Aroma di Amore started it was already half past two and I did not have many forces left. So I only stayed for a handful of songs, which I certainly found entertaining. Their somewhat raw guitar wave sounded quite energetic. A little theatrical performance, with their absurd lyrics in Dutch. I recognized a few of their early 80’s songs, like ‘Dobberman’ and ‘Het gesticht’. But I had heard enough music for the night…
Aroma di Amore Aroma di Amore Aroma di Amore