Friday 27 May 2011

Belgium's Finest With dEUS

When Belgian band dEUS is playing you know you'll get your money's worth. They are probably one of Belgium's best bands ever and their live shows are always on a high level. When their support act is one of Belgium's most promising bands Balthazar there's even more reason to go. No wonder tickets sold out in no time.

dEUS at Trouw Amsterdam, May 24 2011 (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
The place to be is Trouw in Amsterdam. An old building of Dutch newspaper Trouw (alas the name). In the small but long hall where the old print machines used to be there's now a stage on one side and a bar on the other end. It's mostly used as a club for dance and DJ nights. When the place fills up it's clear this isn't the best location to see a band and not the best set up if you want to get drunk since the bar can be hard to reach.

Balthazar do a great job warming up the crowd. Although they don't get a lot of response their songs sound even more solid and confident than the last time I saw them. They play a few new songs that fit in nicely with the songs of their first album. The last song they play 'Blood Like Wine' still doesn't fail to impress me. The way they sing at the end without instruments is so well timed by all the musicians.

dEUS had to delay their last album's release date. So this is not a tour to promote that album. The album is now planned for release after the summer. Instead it's a greatest hits show. And they have plenty of great songs to choose from. There are few surprises in the set list but it never gets old seeing them play favourites like 'Little Arithmetics', 'The Architect' and of course one of my personal favourites 'Bad Timing'. They throw in three new songs: 'Second Nature', 'Constant Now' and a heavy rocking 'Dark Sets In'. Especially that last one sounds promising. The other two seem to lack the power and impact of the older songs, but that's maybe because they haven't played them hundreds of times and also may have to grow on you.

The band members are giving it their best. Singer and dEUS' driving force Tom Barman looks like he's having fun, using big gestures and moving about. Maro Pawlowski is bringing a huge amount of cool to the stage that would almost make you forget he can also play some mean guitar.

What becomes clear is that they changed from the experimental band they used to be into a rock monster. Songs like 'Sun Ra' and 'Turnpike' become even more vicious and threatening than they already are. Still the place stays pretty calm which is a bit unexpected. When they play a great rough version of 'Morticiachair' and an aggressive 'Suds & Soda' as an encore the audience becomes more vivid.

It wasn't as brilliant as the last time I saw dEUS play in 2008. Contrary to what many thought was a bit of a disappointing show, I thought they were excelling that night. This time I missed that little extra spark. Maybe it was the location, maybe it was the crowd, I don't no. Hopefully their show on Lowlands will give that little extra magic.

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