Europe without borders was the message behind a popular live music initiative in Brussels aimed at highlighting fresh talent from across the continent. The famous Ancienne Belgique in the heart of Brussels, provided the main flagship stage last week when Liveurope took place for the third year running. The event showcases up and coming contemporary bands from across Europe from Iceland to Hungary and UK to Slovenia and the event proved popular once again say organisers.
Liveurope, a European Union funded initiative, launched the career of French band, ‘Christine and the Queens’, Belgian metal band, ‘Oathbreaker’ and the all-female Spanish garage rock band, ‘Hinds’. This year Liveurope featured UK soloist, Rag N Bone Man and Icelandic acts Sonic Jesus, Vok and Soley as well as many other emerging talent from across the continent.
The aim of Liveurope is to invite new European bands who have made no more than three albums, to perform in 14, mainly intimate venues, across Europe to reach new audiences and kick-start fledgling careers. The Brussels’ live event, included Belgian electronic piece, Meteor Musik, a cross between Daft Punk complete with space suits and illuminated helmets and iconic German electronic band, Kraftwerk. Also playing were Norwegian rock trio Aiming for Enrike whose fantastic sound had shades of British band, Royal Blood, about them. The guitar and drum outfit is known for its ‘mathy riffs’ and ‘schizophrenic drumming’ ensuring they already have a loyal fan base. The evening was rounded off with French act, Carpenter Brut an electronic metal synth man, real name, Franck Hueso, who thrives on anonymity to strengthen the message of his music. His band’s performance was accompanied by cinematic footage of shock horror films from the 1970s and 80s which also went down well with the enthusiastic but often vocal, crowd.
Each act at the AB event, was preceded with inspiring speeches by cultural activist Andri Soren Haflidason, from Iceland who is also co-founder of FTRSND collective of Brussels, Javi Lopez, a Democratic and Socialist MEP from Spain and music journalist and Guardian writer, Laura Snapes from the UK. Each speaker had his and her own message to deliver but shared one common thought; bringing Europeans together through music.
Ms Snapes’ impassioned speech resonated with many British members of the crowd when she highlighted concerns from those in the music business post-Brexit who fear rising imports and production costs could lead to tough times in the industry. She accused the UK government and what she called, ‘opportunist hacks’ in the newspaper industry of deliberately limiting the spread of music across borders. ‘Music is an influential medium and I don’t understand why anyone would make it hard to stop the flow between nations and their people;’ she said.
Elise Phamgia, Communications Officer for Liveurope, agreed and added that it was important to celebrate cultural diversity across Europe. ‘There is a good appetite among audiences for emerging bands and we at the AB were happy to put a lot of effort into co-ordinating the concerts in cities across Europe, even those countries which are non members of the EU such as Norway and Iceland,’ she told the Brussels Times.
She added: ‘We wanted to show everything in popular music from Electronic Rap to Heavy Metal and show that, through music, we can bring Europeans together and break down discrimination.’
Attracting huge audiences is never the aim of Liveurope as smaller venues were carefully chosen. ‘Often, small venues have the biggest impact on the audience;’ added Elise.
In addition to the concerts across Europe which started in April and run on until the end of June, ‘Liveurope’s event at the AB was also the curtain raiser for a mini three-day music festival here in Brussels and in Dortmund, Germany and the French city of Lille, to celebrate Europe Day. Live acts in Dortmund included Bounty Island from Netherlands, Camp Claude from France and Belgium’s ‘Newmoon.’ Over in Lille, Portugal’s White Haus, Dutch outfit, Ex Champion and Hungrian artists, Uffalo Steez’and AO Uzzi were the headline acts.
Information of where to obtain tickets for the the remaining concerts throughout Europe can be found by going to the www.liveurope.eu website.
By Kim Revill