Event Review: #Nuits17 with Angel Olsen, Ryley Walker and Tim Darcy

Our fourth day at #Nuits17 in Botanique is a songwriter day, with Tim Darcy, Ryley Walker and the superb voice of Angel Olsen.

What? 28 degrees in Brussels? And sunny? In May? Is this real life? Even though the first concert was only at 7:30PM, I was in Botanique at 6PM to make sure that I could enjoy a cold fresh beer, in the company of some friends, while waiting for the concert of Tim Darcy to start. Obviously, a lot of people had the same idea as the stairs that give to the marquee were quite filled already at that hour.

Between a beer and a laugh, it was 7:30, therefore, direction to our first act! Tim Darcy is probably more well know as the frontman of Canadian post-punk band Ought, however, for Les Nuits he came to present us his solo effort: “Saturday Night” released earlier this year.

As the weather was great outside, I honestly wasn’t expecting so many people to be inside the marquee by the time the concert started. Like Matias, yesterday, I also went to the concert without having time to really listen or get to know Tim’s music and I was pleasantly surprised. “Saturday Night” is more intimate than his work with Ought but the energy and the attitude are still there. Alone with his guitar – where he apparently did much better than when he performed with a backing band in February in La Rotonde – the room is enchanted by the super talented musician. The concert ended with “Still Waking Up” – his best rendition and performance of the night. Also, his biggest masterpiece, got me thinking as if Morrissey and David Byrne giving birth to a baby. Even with a super warm marquee at #Nuits17, everyone stayed inside until the last note, before leaving for a well-deserved cold drink.

Back to the now almost infernal heat of the Marquee to keep on going with the American Singer-Songwritter Ryley Walker. With his band and his stunning guitar abilities, we were in for a treat. Most of the songs played by him were from his latest effort “Golden Sings That Have Been Sung”. The set, for certain parts of the concert, almost seemed as an improv concert or a jam session. Just a couple of mates having fun on stage. But no – they knew what they were doing as the instrumental of each song is clearly on point.

For #Nuits17, Ryley Walker left the big majority (if not all) the audience pleased with his performance.

High point of the night? The amazing “Primrose Green” from the album with the same name – and my personal favorite out of the two. Even if he had a bum note, here and there, Ryley Walker left the big majority (if not all) the audience pleased with his performance but at the same time, relieved to leave the marquee as the heat was still quite strong.

OH! I forgot to mention that I have the lovely company of Christopher, an addicted to music as much as me and with whom I shared some great concerts – including Angel Olsen, last October. I go as fast as possible to the bar, grab a last big beer and we go running to the marquee as we want to be in front. Even with the heat, 3 or 4 full lines of people stay almost glued to the security bars, while other people sat on floor reading a book.

The lights dim. Her band enters on stage and I can see her behind the scenes. I shiver and hold the arm of Christopher, while he does the same. Among claps and yelling, Angel takes her guitar and we hear the first sentence: “I’ve seen you changing”, from the the beautiful ballad “Heart Shaped Face” of her latest (and of the best albums of 2016) – “My Woman”. From that album, we go to her breakthrough: “Burn Fire For No Witness” and “Hi-Five”. And then, I started to notice something different. Seven months ago, during her performance at Orangerie, she did a great show. But her jokes were: “I was served in a restaurant by a children, I guess that must be normal in here” and smelling her arm pits because she had mussels. Yep. That was all. Now, she is actually having fun! She smiles more, apologized for tuning the guitar because of the heat, “tried” to speak in French, made jokes about America, laughed. She is more in control of her show now and you can see that clearly. Especially, when comparing to when I saw her in 2014 at AB Club.

The show is filled with ups and downs of rhythm. Following “Hi-Five”, we had the room singing along at “Shut up Kiss Me” then we had “Give It Up”, “High & Wild” and the hi-energy vocally – almost angry – “Not Gonna Kill You”. And then… goosebumps, shivers, whatever you want you call it. A beautiful rendition of “Acrobat”, followed by “Sister”, “Those Were The Days” and “Woman”. I have to admit that I don’t remember exactly when but a tear or two shed – but I always cry in concerts, so nothing new. “Windows” was the last song before leaving the stage before returning for an encore. In here, yet again, a tear shed with a superb acoustic rendition of “Unfucktheworld” – that was the high point of the night for me. “Fly, Never Be Mine” followed and even though people in the crowd – me – were screaming for “Intern”, Angel finished the concert with “The Waiting” under a wave of clapping – she is clearly one of the most talented singer-songwriter of our generation, therefore, nothing but deserved.

Feeling super happy, we left the marquee just to meet some friends that were there for different concerts. A last beer, in a packed Botanique, an exchange of reviews, a last hug and it was time to come home. My experience with #Nuits17 continues Friday with Hydrogen Sea. And if the 3 days I have gone are an indication, we are in for another amazing night.

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