Event Review: #Nuits17 with Magnus, Agar Agar and Whispering Sons

Our journey through #Nuits17 at Botanique continued, this Monday, with Whispering Sons, Agar Agar and Magnus.

Once again, the sun was shining in the beautiful gardens of Botanique. Already by 7PM, the stairs that lead to the marquee were filled with people relaxing on the sun, while enjoying a beer or some delicious meals that the food trucks have to offer. On the other hand, because I’m cheap, I took a free cider that Strongbow was offering at the entry and entered the room for the first band.

When Whispering Sons entered on stage, there were already quite a lot of people waiting for the Belgian band fronted by Fenne Kuppens. While checking their website or Facebook page, you can see that they describe themselves as a “Belgian post-punk breathing dark and atmospheric sounds”. With a quite low and distinctive tone, that reminds me for example of Nico, they presented their great EP “Endless Party” and their new singles Performance/Strange Identities.

The band, that won Humo’s Rock Rally 2016, gave a captivating performance from the beginning till end and all we can say is that the future of post-punk in Belgium sure seems in great hands with them.

The concert is over and the marquee is completely empty. Not a single person stays inside as everyone wanted to enjoy the great sunny weather that Brussels was giving us. After one beer, it was time to go to Agar Agar – during this period I got the chance to talk a bit with Fenne from Whispering Sons, but you’ll read about that in a near future.

5 girls are glued to the bars already when the technicians were doing the sound check – I, obviously joined them as Agar Agar is probably one of the freshest French groups of the actuality, and one of my favorites too.

The duo, formed by Clara Cappagli and Armand Bultheel, released their brilliant first single: “Prettiest Virgin” just one year ago and followed by their EP “Cardan” last September. The duo was acclaimed by the critic thanks to their mix of sonorities coming from the 80s between synth-pop and techno. In the instant that the first beat drops in the marquee, it got full – No one wanted to lose a bit of the performance. During the first three songs, it was quite difficult to connect with the band – it is never easy when you are two people behind two keyboards. It was with their cover of Demon, and latest release, “You’re High” that we started to see Clara leave with more attitude and confidence the keyboard she was behind and starting to enjoy herself on stage.

While Armand kept dropping 80s and 90s machine sounds, Claire started to dance to the rhythm of her own beat, rolling on the floor, and just jumping around the stage. However, they were saving the best for last with “Cuidado, Peligro, Eclipse” when the marquee was, like the day before, a dancefloor, with some hard beats dropping while a psychedelic game of lights was going on stage. They ended their set over a thunder of applauses and it was time for some last rays of sun – and a beer refill.

For the second day in row in #Nuits17, the marquee was turned into a dancefloor, this time by the promising duo Agar Agar.

Tom Barman is, for sure, one of the most charismatic and talented Belgian artists. Otherwise, let’s review his career: Founder of the experimental-indie-rock band dEUS, who have released seven albums to date. He is also the founder of the Jazz band TaxiWars, directed and wrote a movie called “Any Way The Wind Blows” and is currently preparing his second movie. If this was not already a pretty impressive resume, he is also behind Magnus – the act closing this night of concerts.

His latest project was founded alongisde CJ Bolland in 2004 but it took until 2014 for them to release their second album. The audience in the room was slightly older than the one we witnessed for the #Nuits17 with Hercules and Love Affair yesterday, or even compared to Agar Agar. Several people were using t-shirts of dEUS, and one of them even told me that he never heard Magnus and that he was just there because of Tom Barman.

The minute the 5-element band enter on stage, there is no coming back. With guitars, a drummer and a laptop, the marquee quickly turns again into a dancefloor. And the energy of Tom is undeniable. He is charismatic, he smiles, dances, jump, plays guitar, flirts with the audience. Magnus were exactly what I was expecting – explosive. Jumping between their 2 albums and expressing the love for CJ Bolland – we got two surprises: 1. Their new material is coming out in September but they felt it was too soon to present it live. 2. dEUS drummer Alan Gevaert joined them on stage for the great “Summer’s Here”.

Slightly past 22:30, we have the final goodbyes. To enjoy the summer night, some people stay for a last beer while others rush to the cloakroom not to wait in line. If the past two days have anything to go by, we are in for one of the best sessions ever of #Nuits17. Next up, other members of the team will attend Shannon Wright‘s concert, but I myself have Angel Olsen tomorrow. #excited

Artur Correia
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