MASSIS SHOWCASE (+ One Man Brawl) @JH SOJO Leuven, Belgium – 1 May 2015
To mark the release of their self-titled album, MASSIS channel their spirit live on a tour of generous diversity in dates and locations. The showcase took place on 1 May in Sojo, Leuven and added great music and lovely warm ambience to this public holiday. Special guests: One Man Brawl with Dennis Van Dyck, along with Vévé ‘Shake’ Mazimpaka and Esther Mondésir.
I love the smell of Led Zeppelin in the evening and One Man Brawl brought plenty of it with them on stage last Friday. These first special guests took the spirit of the good old times and filled in the ambience with a sense of novelty and lots of passion for blues rock. With their own compositions, One Man Brawl displayed a setlist bearing blazing guitar signatures (Alexander Doucet), notable, solid and very much involved bass playing (Tim Segers, who also played with MASSIS on several occasions), relentless drumming (Stan “The Man” Vranckx) and a pleasantly loud and rich voice (Gil Persoons). Lots of action on stage, switch of instruments throughout – guitar, tambourine, mic effects and a special appearance on harmonica (Dennis Van Dyck ) on ‘Bad Reputation’. A journey from traditional blues riffs to uptempo rock’n roll. Good music, good vibes, cheering crowd reaction.
MASSIS opened the show with a rousing performance of ‘N°3’, setting off the point of no return for energy in live music. In a full venue, those listening to MASSIS for the first time were captured in the moment with the attention span stretched at maximum, those already familiar with their live shows went directly on motion.
This time, they were backdropped by black and white filming, which poured even more emotional substance into their powerful sound, especially when looped scenes madly matched the riffs repetition like on ‘Powerplant’. This song made the case for the decisive importance of the guitars in the overall style, notably with Andy Heurckmans’ fantastic range of craftsmanship in shredding noise over the audience. On ‘Joan’, the guitars battled for a special sound, much more powerful and experimental then on the album, a clear added value brought by Steven Janssen who reinforced the band recently.
An instrumental band, yes, but there are no boring moments in a MASSIS concert. Each song brings something new to the table in terms of composition, rhythm, speed. Erwin Reynders’ confidence on bass makes everything seem so easy and the focused drumming of Jo Reynders makes precision smooth and fluid, but they are building the strongest backbone for that massive sound. ‘Clockwork’ started with a precise drum beat to end up in a majestic post-rock sound. Difficult to notice the ambiental tape between the songs through all the enthusiastic feedback from the audience.
The favorite moment of the evening was without any doubt ‘Mondésir’, the only track with vocals on it and a masterpiece that live exceeds any expectations. The band members welcomed and made place on stage for Vévé “Shake” Mazimpaka and Esther Heurckmans. ‘Mondésir’ became a spiral rhythm that was pushing the singing parts upwards. With wonderful voices evoking angry angels performing Creole lullaby, Vévé and Ester painted a full layer of emotions over the powerful instrumental part.
Unfortunately when you hear the voice samples on ‘Snakes’, you know that the end of the show is near. The only thing to do is take advantage as much as possible of the already induced energy. At that moment, the live performance feels like it could end any moment with smashed instruments and in total anarchy.
Each wall of noise coming from stage that evening was echoed back by a wall of applauses coming from the audience. In consequence, an encore number was inevitable. Followed by a second one – ‘Purty Mouth Boy’ is more of their killer combination of technical precision and energy-infused attractiveness. But it’s good to keep in mind that these guys have enough songs for three encores so don’t be shy and request it. Even if you would still be in need for more after they had delivered it.
Next show, 4 May in Het Depot with The Hickey Underworld.
Purty Mouth Boy
Full sets of photos
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You can read this review also on Concert Monkey