It was a chilly Monday evening during an otherwise searing hot July. The sky was filled with clouds and an occasional cold wind threatened to deliver a storm. Yet, apart from a few insignificant drops, the rain never came. We stepped on the bus, looking forward to the sounds of one of the world's most legendary post rock bands. We weren't the only ones.
Once inside, I quickly noticed the differences between OLT Rivierenhof and many other events, especially Antwerp Metal Fest which I attended a week earlier. This thing showed the allure of Ghent Jazz, Jazz Middelheim and all the other "upper-class" festivals. Prices were higher, food looked as if it was made for a TV-show and some of the attendees had picked out their most chic attire as if it were a wedding reception. Others wore bandshirts from We Lost The Sea, Duran Duran Duran, Nine Inch Nails and many, many more.
MDC III is the trio of Mattias De Craene (sax-player in Nordmann) and drummers Simon Segers and Lenner Jacobs. With this band, the trio explores the interaction between these instruments. The result was something I can only describe as "Latin free jazz". The drums at times felt like a Brazilian carnival while the sax (and other equipment) of De Craene droned, screamed and whirled. It was interesting but it also showed that this was nearly a first experiment. It will be interesting to see where this sounds heads to in the future but for now, this was a decent opener.
This was my sixth time seeing these Canadians live, twice before their 2003 split and four times after. This was also the best and most convincing set I have ever seen them perform. 'Fam/Famine' and 'Undoing a Luciferian Towers' were absolute highlights and the saxophone cameo was so intense it scared off the mosquitos in the arena. Even the looping outro was performed to perfection. It was fun to see the left part of the standing audience dancing and shaking while the rest stood their with their eyes closed and their minds into faraway places.
So yes, this was utter brilliance, certainly one of my personal highlights of the year. I can't think of anything that would have made it even better. Godspeed You! Black Emperor are deservedly one of the most successful bands in the atmospheric musical regions and they apparently loved to show that here in Antwerp. My fanhood is renewed, hurray for that...