Monday 17 February 2014

Balthazar Work Up Appetite For New Album

Belgian alternative band Balthazar slowly have grown into one of the top musical export products of Belgium. They have crafted their own unique sound and their live shows have come close to perfection. Almost too perfect since they show little room for improvisation. Songs sound just like the album versions. However this still is a delight to watch. With a new album already in production, they were playing a sold out Paradiso.

Balthazar at Paradiso Amsterdam, February 13 2014

I expected some new songs from the new album. In the end a couple of new ones make it into the set. The rest of the set is a nice mix of songs from their first two albums Applause and Rats. That second album gave them their big break and its hits give the biggest response. All in all the set list doesn't show a lot of surprises.

But the songs do sound better than ever. They get slightly different versions than the album versions and the band is playing them with renewed energy. Hits like 'The Oldest Of Sisters' sound sparkling and fresh. The band are looking stoically as always but also very focused. The instruments sound crisp and the way the band knows how to integrate the violin parts of Jinte Deprez and Patricia Vanneste is still quite remarkable. Even though there isn't a lot of contact between the band and their fans, this is in no way disturbing. It is this distance that actually adds to the atmosphere of the songs.

The new songs sound promising. 'Leipzig' already is starting to sound familiar and the other two, 'No More' and 'Will My Lover', are worthy Balthazar compositions. They don't show any major changes in their sound and so I don't expect the new album to be a major change. It only makes the anticipation for it higher. In the second encore the band closes their gig traditionally with 'Blood Like Wine' where everyone is raising their hand and glass. Will that ever get old? It is always good to see this band play and we'll definitely be back when they present their new work to us.

More Pictures

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01. Lion's Mouth (Daniel)
02. Later
03. The Boatman
04. The Man Who Owns the Place
05. Leipzig
06. No More
07. The Oldest of Sisters
08. Will My Lover
09. Joker's Son
10. Fifteen Floors
11. Morning
12. Sinking
13. Listen Up
14. Do Not Claim Them Anymore
Encore 1
15. Sides
16. Any Suggestion
Encore 2
17. Blood Like Wine

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