It began on Monday already, with the fusion of klezmer, world, folk and dance known as Oi Va Voi. I discovered this band – then still with violinist Sophie Solomon and guest singer KT Tunstall - in 2004 in the Botanique in Brussels. They played a downright smashing concert but later, still savouring the mood as we returned to the car, we were confronted with a different shattering reality: that of our car window, looted boot and at least three police stations that cheerfully stated that this crime didn’t take place within their area of jurisdiction… So there are a number of reasons why that Oi Va Voi concert occupies a special place in my memory.
These days Anna Phoebe provides the violin action and as a photographer you won’t hear me complaining. As, if the light cooperates a little, there are spectacular photos to be made of this flamboyant lady. You can’t accuse new black singer Bridgette Amofah of a lack of enthusiasm either, even though - due to a lack of light - I haven’t completely succeeded in immortalizing Oi Va Voi’s usual explosiveness on film.
The support act for Oi Va Voi was provided by Belgian band Amatorski. They still need to grow a little on stage but they’re versatile and already made a promising impression.
Chris Chameleon, frontman of former South African band Boo!, appeared in the ABClub on Thursday. Boo! had already collected a whole heap of Belgian fans as support act to Zita Swoon but only a few of them have also found their way to Chris’s solo project. After all, following the split of Boo!, he swapped his hot-pants, exuberant behaviour and bass guitar for a tailored suit, intimate mood and an acoustic guitar. In his new role as singer-songwriter, he allows himself to be inspired by South African poetry and that certainly doesn’t have to be boring. Admittedly, as photographer, I resolutely prefer the hot-pants and exuberant behaviour but even solo Chris still does the craziest things with his voice and he appears to be a born entertainer. Either you love him, or you think he’s completely bonkers. I love him, because I think being bonkers is a good thing… Chris also performed a few old Boo! songs on his bass guitar and announced the happy news that there are plans for a Boo! reunion. With or without hot-pants, we’ll have to wait and see, but we’re not going to make a fuss about that!
Finally, I was really looking forward to the concert by The Cult, who would perform my favourite album ‘Love’ in its entirety, in a practically sold-out AB. I really wanted to take photos too, of course, but that was before taking the tour manager into account. Resentful as I am, I’d resolved that the band would have to do an extremely good job to win me back again. I would have happily made matchsticks of them (quite handy in these fresh temperatures by the way), but the gnarly old rockers from The Cult don’t let themselves be cut down to size so easily. The musicians where in top form and, although Ian Astbury’s voice sometimes sounded as if he had roasted an animal over an open fire (the tail was still hanging on his trousers!), my kindling quickly disappeared into the fire of their AB-concert.