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Current page: Concert Diary 2008

Current page: Concert Diary 2008

Concert Diary 2008

Toogenblik, Haren - 2nd May

Chris Simpson writes - To say this is a unique place with unique people is putting it mildly.

I can't remember how long ago it was - sometime back in the nineties - that we came in out of a bitter winter's night to face the musician's nightmare, namely STAIRS. Every player has 'stairs' stories. One of MC's best ever was the fire escape that went up three stories and you got to the actual gig through a ballet school. It was a heavier band then and amps. and drumkit had to go up that way. Togenblik lies in the outskirts of Brussells, a bit like a Martello tower, and you wind round and around up to the venue.

The walls are papered with posters ancient and modern, hopefuls looking fresh and eager and the more famous looking resigned and world weary all in one multifaceted kaleidoscope, known and unknown gazing out across the room. There are rough hewn wooden tables around the walls, a small stage and LUC.

Luc Geldoff (no relation) is a small vole like man with a surplus of nervous energy and 'the voice'. I couldn't believe my ears the first time I heard him, but he is straight out of the Pink Panther. He is Clouseau.

It was probably the last time we will play there. The money is minimal; the clientele a little better but the scene unbelievable.

Sometime you get Willy, the main man behind the bar, a larger than life character with a lethal array of Belgian beers to hit you with from Trappist to Deuvel.

We went to the Campanile Hotel to check in and landed amongst bus loads of Kenyans. The staff were friendly and helpful and we sat outside in the sunshine until I espied Luc. Espied him? I heard that voice a mile off.

He announced that we were having dinner first and went through the back streets to Robert and Rosemary's. What a lovely couple. We could have sat there all night as the conversation ranged back and fourth and every beer tasted better than the last.

Still, time to go. Oh, those bloody stairs... We loaded in and set up on the tiny stage; laying out the CD's for sale and clocking old friends and faces starting to arrive. John, the beloved fan who follows us around... Herwig with a sad tale to tell, and the late banjoman's (Derroll Adams) widow...

The sound man or something approaching that genre, eventually turned up pulling on a wet spliff and speedily convincing us that sound was something he knew absolutely nothing about. Temperatures rising and in the end it was Linda and Matt who got it all operational.

We played two tight sets ending on 'Paradise Row', and ever the questions afterwards, 'what will you do when MC stops?'. I can but reply that the answer is somewhere in the stars. Afterwards, it was back to the hotel with Luc, drinking wine and generally hanging out until the morrow pulled us out again.

Maybe, I'll never see Toogenblik again, depending on what happens, but forget it?

Never.

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