We celebrate this anniversary out of gratitude for the past decades in which AB grew from an overgrown youth club into one of the leading concert halls in the world. This exciting story is told by Johan Ral and Marc Didden in a book that is to be released in October.
But an anniversary is, above all, a good moment to look to the future and to highlight the guiding principles of how AB works. The three themes around which we have bundled the anniversary project are “collaboration”, “young local artistic talent” and “Brussels”.
- Jupiler 'Best of Belgium'
- September 21st, the festive kick-off
- The AB Book
- New house style & website
- AB unites 13 leading concert halls in a European network
- Get Sprouts Again: AB’s 10 for the future
Our structural partner Jupiler pulls out all the plugs and presents a tribute to AB by capturing the history of Belgian AB bigshots in 35 cans. A can for every year, all under the title ‘Best of Belgium’. From Tura to Triggerfinger, via Arno and Zita Swoon. You can discover how closely the story of AB is interwoven with the musical history of Belgium, in avant-première, here in this supplement.
What's more, Jupiler is also distributing a hundred thousand Best of Belgium T-shirts and at bestofbelgium.com you have the chance of winning concert tickets and countless other prizes, yes, cheers!
1980 Will Tura zingt AB nieuw jaar in/chante à l'AB au Nouvel An
1981 Johan Verminnen van/de "Rue des Bouchers" naar/vers l'AB
1982 Arno in/à l'AB met/avec TC Matic: C'est magnifique!
1983 Nacht und Nebel vult/remplit l'AB met/avec Beats of Love
1984 La Muerte doet AB daveren La Muerte fait trembler l'AB
1985 Raymond van het groenewoud plays Brussels by night
1986 Wim Mertens doet AB verstillen op piano/impose le silence au piano
1987 Elisa Waut betovert zwoel de AB/charme tout l'AB
1988 1e dansvoorstelling voor Wim Vandekeybus 1er spectacle de danse
1989 Guido Belcanto op zoek naar romantiek/joue les romantiques
1990 Clouseau mania slaat toe in AB La Clouseau mania gagne l'AB
1991 Worldpop Zap Mama verwarmt AB Zap Mama fait chauffer l'AB
1992 Sttellla présente/presenteert 'Manneken Pis Not War'
1993 K's Choice speelt als "The Choice" / joue comme "The choice"
1994 Evil Superstars wint/gagne Humo's Rock Rally
1995 De Mens: le rock flamand à Bruxelles / Vlaamse rock in Brussel
1996 Novastar wint/gagne Humo's Rock Rally
1997 Sensuele Axelle Red schittert/La sensuelle Axelle Red brille
1998 Das Pop debuteert in AB Club/Das Pop débute à l'AB Club
1999 First sold out show for Zita Swoon in AB
2000 Gigantisch afscheid van Noordkaap fait un gigantesque adieu
2001 Admiral Freebee for President in / à AB Club
2002 2x salle complète pour Ozark Henry 2x in uitverkochte AB
2003 Gabriel Rios in broad AB light
2004 Sold out pour la 1ère de Girls in Hawaii 1e maal in volle AB
2005 Victory voor Daan in AB Victory pour Daan à l'AB
2006 Black Box Revelation Artist in Residence in / à l'AB
2007 The Scabs play “Royalty in Exile” for 6000 fans
2008 Selah Sue 1e studio opnames/ 1er enregistrement à l'AB studio
2009 Hooverphonic zoekt nieuwe zangeres/cherche une nouvelle chanteuse
2010 Record! 6 x sold out avec Channel Zero 6 x uitverkocht
2011 6000 fans dans l'AB pour Puggy lokt 6000 fans naar AB
2012 Netsky tovert AB om tot / transforme l'AB en dancehall
2013 Stomende Goose in nokvolle AB Toute la salle transpire pour Goose
2014 Triggerfinger in recordtempo uitverkocht/sold out en temps record
Television station Acht will also be featuring this AB history in October. London pop group Is Tropical drove through Belgium in a vintage camper in search of the artists that helped to form 35 yeas of AB. They followed Mauro at Pukkelpop, played cards with Clouseau, stared at the stars with Stijn Meuris and had a party with Goose. A rock ’n roll road movie in three episodes, to be seen on 10, 17 and 24 October. Don't miss this date with history.
Produced by Famous, directed by Henri & Fidel, powered by Jupiler, take a look at the trailer.
21 September 1979, that is the date on which AB, in its present form, saw the light of day. After standing empty for many years, the Ancienne Belgique received a new lease of life thanks to the support of the Flemish Community.
35 Years later, September 21st falls on a car-free Sunday, so that's a doubly good reason to set up a grand kick-off for our festive year, with quite a few free concerts in the Steenstraat-Muziekstraat and a cracking psychedelic mini-festival in AB with the likes of Madensuyu, Moon Duo and the stunning Goat.
On an anniversary you like to reflect on the past and so we've taken this milestone as an opportunity to capture the history of AB in the form of a book. Author Johan Ral has dug deep into the richly filled history of AB, also that prior to 1979. Ral began his career as a journalist and news anchor for the public broadcasting network and is a much-appreciated and much-requested music expert/lover in the media. With exclusive contributions from Arno, Marc Didden and Jools Holland, this book is a must-read for everyone who is captivated by music. The book will be published by WPG and can be found in stores at the end of October.
An anniversary is also an ideal moment to launch our entirely new house style and the associated website. A website that is adjusts itself to every possible screen, which means that you can now buy tickets via your smartphone for the first time. What's more, the site makes suggestions according to your own musical tastes. We're pretty proud of it, but make up your own mind.
An anniversary is something you celebrate with friends, so during the concert season ’14-’15 we're entering into a (surprising) collaboration each month. We're working with unexpected partners (Ars Musica, Muziekinstrumentenmuseum, KVS...) and, as often as possible, we're looking in the content for common ground with other art disciplines like dance, theatre, classical music, or even literature. These events will take place both in and outside the AB. For our loyal visitors or for a new audience. Our muse, music, is always the point of reference.
AB is also going to be collaborating far over our national borders, with Liveurope. As one of Europe's leading concert halls, we are taking the initiative of uniting 13 like-minded European concert halls in one network. Well-known music venues like the Melkweg (in Amsterdam), Vega (in Copenhagen) and Rockhal (in Luxemburg) join forces to offer more performing opportunities to young European musical talent. After all, European artists have more trouble getting stage opportunities than their British or American counterparts. Jónsi, Björk, Selah Sue and Stromae certainly demonstrate that there is no lack of talent in Europe.
The Liveurope initiative taken by AB is also recognized by the European commission and receives financial support from the Creative Europe fund.
AB offers support to ten promising young bands and artists during the AB35 celebratory season and instigates a revival of the legendary Belpop LP ‘Get Sprouts’. That vinyl album was compiled in 1980 by Marcel Vanthilt and Gust De Coster, in assignment to a bank, and for most of the participating artists it meant their breakthrough in Belgium: acts like the De Kreuners, T.C. Matic, The Kids and Telex.
In the spirit of ‘Get Sprouts’, we want to guide local talent in the recording process of a song that will adorn another, hopefully equally legendary, compilation album. Do we want to predict those to be the next big thing in the Belgian musical landscape? Time will tell, but we'll certainly put our neck on the line for young talent.
Amongst others, our three Artists In Residence acts for the coming season (Stuff., Kaat Arnaert and Oaktree) will be involved in this project. Stay tuned throughout the season for other names.