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Music in Brussels

Brussels has a reputation for a thriving live music scene and so Jane and I planned to take in a few gigs as part of our weekend. Artists performing during the time we were there went all the way from obscure groups who don’t even seem to have a web presence and exist on word of mouth reputation up to major international figures like Bob Dylan. We stuck to the first end of that scale albeit with hit and miss results.

The misses first. Because we hadn’t wanted to constrain our agenda by planning too much in advance, a couple of fascinating looking events we saw were on turned out to be sold out. There was a contemporary jazz band at the Jazz Station venue and a concert in honour of the music of Rodrigo at the Conservetoire and we were too late for both. We also went to a disappointing event at the Archiduc – a fascinating little building but the band came on an hour late, slightly out of tune and with turgid rhythm. This was one I’d had in mind before we went because I’d enjoyed the work of the band leader on a YouTube clip but it was obviously an off-night:

However, alongside the buskers spicing the air around the city, there was one real hit. On our first night, we went to The Music Village, just a few steps from where we were staying. There a trio called Gypsy Flames (who I haven’t managed to track down online) played two fantastic sets. It was a bit of a punt, especially given the relatively high cover charge, but we got seats next to the stage and enjoyed brilliant performances.

Oh, and we found lots of music shops, including one with ukes, lutes and more – it is probably just as well we had to keep in mind how much we could carry back otherwise I would have been sorely tempted!

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