Gent Jazz bis

Last Friday and Saturday it was time for the second and third visit to Gent Jazz. As is usual with Gent Jazz the second week features less ‘real jazz’ and more poppy artists.

As the announcer cleverly noticed all artists on Friday started with the letter A. First up was Agnes Obel. I have to confess that Riverside was the only song I knew from this Danish artist. Unfortunately she had a cold and it was audible. She however did not try to hide it, but it was a pity that she couldn’t reach the highest notes. The voices of the people talking around me were also much stronger than her voice. Another thing that ruined the experience for me, but I doubt moving around in the concert tent would have made it better. It was clear that despite the cold she had potential and I’ve bought the album Philharmonics after the show. Then it was time for Absynthe Minded. They are well-known in Ghent, have some great songs and played an excellent show. Just what I expected. Closer for Friday was Angus & Julia Stone. To be honest: I had never heard of them before, but they seem to have a sufficiently large fan base. We decided to enjoy the show from a distance while drinking a beer and sat at one of the table behind the concert tent. There show was visually appealing, musically good and quite poppy, but somehow the girly, hippy-like air that Julia Stone had, didn’t work for me. It was a good show, but I don’t think I’ll be a fan soon.

On Saturday the warm soft weather of Friday had been replaced by heavy rain. As a result the areas with grass had become mud pits in which you sank a few centimeter. This meant that it would be an evening spent mostly in the concert tent and under an umbrella and the shows needed to be good to lift the spirits of the crowd. Due to the weather-caused chaos outside, we arrived about 15 minutes after the first artists had started. So by the time we made it to the tent, Nouvelle Vague was already giving a very energetic show. I had heard of them, but never really heard a song by them. This seems to have been a mistake of me.  Their bossa nova-covers of seventies and eighties songs really transform the songs into something entirely new, so you no longer have the feeling that you’re ‘just listening to a cover band’.  Next it was Raphael Saadiq. Yet again a name I should have heard before, but never did. I think mainly because I recently spend very little time listening to the radio. He clearly succeeded in getting a large part of the audience in front of the stage to move and the show was indeed entertaining enough to not feel too bad about the weather, but for my taste, he loved himself just a bit too much. Finally it was time for Gotan Project. This band really made it worth the effort to be there that night. The show was from start to end one big party with a mixture of tango and beats. I don’t know if it was just me (motion is after all relative), but it seemed like the complete audience was now really moving. An excellent end to excellent Ghent Jazz year once again.

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