SCARVED, December 14, 2019, Het Debuut - Westerlo, Belgium

Belgian classic hard rock band Scarved will start working on a new album soon and this was their last show before entering the studio. Core members singer Caro and guitarist Luc Van Dessel spend some time to find replacements for bass player Wim Wouters and drummer Geert Mariën who left amicably for personal or professional reasons. This is only the second show with the new rhythm section, so this is kind of a second baptism for the new guys. Scarved kicks off with 'Battlefield' and from there they take the audience trough a selection of their two albums. The band brings a boiling performance of 'Naughty Reflexes', 'Devil In Disguise', 'Sweet Surrender', 'Valley Of Gloom', 'Masquerade', 'Toxic Rat Race' and 'Maiden Voyage' which is also a showcase for drummer Kjell De Raes who plays an exciting solo. They finish off with two covers which are performed with much power and conviction : Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' and Rush's 'Tom Sawyer'. Luc Van Dessel has this really classic heavy rock sound and fills the place with an exciting wall of sound, supported by a boiling rhythm section. Just like Kjell, Vincent De Laat passes the audition on bass with glory. Both are excellent replacements for their equally excellent preceders. That leaves only singer Caro who delivers as always with great singing - what a voice! - and a performace that comes right from the heart. This band deserves so much more than they achieved so far. Can't wait to hear the new stuff! (Geert Ryssen)

NIGHTQUEEN / BEYOND THE LABYRINTH, Club 26, Genk (B), June 8, 2019

Hellen Heart - NIGHTQUEEN

Progressive/melodic power metal band Nightqueen presents its new album 'Seduction' tonight. All is well organised in Club 26. Before the headliners we get a very good performance by BEYOND THE LABYRINTH. The band of Geert Fieuw has nine lives and gets a new boost with the addition of singer Filip Lemmens (ex-Fireforce). BTL plays some of their classics (yes, the great and very relevant 'In Flanders Fields'), but also some new songs from an upcoming EP. BTL has a gentle progressive/classic rock sound with keyboards that refer to great icons like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Angel.

Songwriter/guitarist/leader Rex Zeco is the only surviving member of the previous line-up of NIGHTQUEEN and has surrounded himself with a cast of top musicians. They play the new album completely, blended with some older songs along the way. We get a two hour set that blows us away from start to finish. New singer Hellen Heart is nothing less than phenomenal and the rest of the band is equally impressive. The sound is good, the songs are good, the performance is good and the crowd love it all the way. The guest appearance of singer Peter Evrard on 'Silence And Tears' is a nice bonus! In brief: top night! Check out the new album 'Seduction' on El Puerto Records, you will not be disappointed !!! (Geert Ryssen)

WOODSTOCK LEGENDS, Keizershof, Turnhout (B), April 22, 2019

It was fifty years ago that the meaning of the word "festival" was changed forever. The Belgian band Woodstock Legends celebrates the legendary event with a two hour program of acoustic arrangements of songs that were played during the festival by artists like Canned Heat, John Sebastian, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Winter, The Band, Jefferson Airplane, Roger McGuinn, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, etc ... What could be a big disappointment because of the iconic character of the songs, turns out to be a musical triumph! The quartet blends perfectly with 3 voices, one male and two female and a battery of acoustic guitars. The sound is perfect, the performance is flawless and the arrangements are original and very musical with beautiful harmony vocals. Frontman Filip Bollaert is an excellent singer and a funny performer, Pascale Michiels has a raw and bluesy voice which is perfect for the rough work. Singer Patsy Verfaillie is just mindblowing. Let's not forget guitarplayer Bert Verscheuren who takes the whole performance to a higher level with his great playing, perfect timing and bending the notes like a real guitar hero. The spirit of the songs is amazingly retained with an extra dimension of the unique sound of the band. As a bonus there's also a guest tonight and it's Belgian rockstar Guy Swinnen from The Scabs who joins the show in each of the two sets for a couple of songs and makes the evening even more memorable. They skipped artists like Sly And The Family Stone, The Who or Ten Years After, but that didn't spoil anything as the level of performance was so high throughout. The setting in Keizershof Turnhout is beautiful and a bunch of warm friends to enjoy the evening with makes everything perfect. Woodstock Legends are legends in their own right! (Geert Ryssen)

Gorilla Mask, Lokerse Jazzclub, Lokeren (B), April 20, 2019

On the final night of their mini tour in Belgium and The Netherlands, Gorilla Mask plays for a well filled and enthousiastic Lokerse Jazzclub. A nice accomodation with a good sound. The trio is currently working on its fourth album and tonight we get an almost complete new set trying out the new pieces. The combination of composed themes and free improvisation is still the trademark of the band but the new pieces involve more electronics with a rumbling and droning bass and haunting rhythms. It's an important step forward for the band which puts them in the league of hot new and energetic cross-over jazzbands combining free improvisation with a rock timbre. Saxplayer Peter Van Huffel really blows his horn with passion and sounds like a controlled explosion. The new pieces are full of variation, sound imaginative and powerful. Gorilla Mask played two one hour sets and I didn't get bored for one second! Neither was the crowd that yelled for an encore (and got one). Put these guys on the stages of our big festivals! They will blow a fuse! (Geert Ryssen)

What a show, what a great tribute to the late Jon Hiseman and his beloved wife Barbara Thompson. Four hours of top musicians playing top music !!! Thank you Ana Gracey & Hiseman family for having us !!!

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