Tightly dressed and with their guitars at the ready, the silhouettes of Balthazar’s men appear on the stage of the Lotto Arena. Two evenings in a row they fill the Antwerp concert hall for their album Sand, which they released this year, to finally be able to play live.
Class, that is what the five-piece band radiates from minute one. As if a club of directors spontaneously treats us to a performance over coffee in a large meeting room that has fallen apart. Balthazar starts the evening with that self-assured nonchalance. Like so many artists, they have waited long enough and are clearly tired of that: “I don’t wanna wait”, it sounds during opener Hourglass in falsetto. No time too clear, because songs from both Sand like the previous record Fever follow up seamlessly one by one. Of course, another question may follow from the public.
The more famous Don’t claim them anymore cannot count on too much enthusiasm yet. But despite their impatience, Balthazarischweg is not a band that jumps hysterically or urges the audience to sing along. Instead, Jinte Deprez, Maarten Devoldere and co do their thing and the rest of those present can admire them from a distance. A visual light show, magical harmony singing and that exciting, funky sound: that’s all you need to know.
At the end of Blood like wine everyone willingly raises their glass to the final notes – “raise your glass”, which are even reverberating in the arena. The suit vests have long since been thrown aside at that time and now and then looseen the band members a word of thanks to the spectators – true highlights of interaction. Not that anything arises, we have already sunk too far into the depths of the vocals and lost in the layered melodies and loops of guitar, percussion and even trombone. The temperature is rising with Fever and all applicable energy is released at entertainment.
Technically, the performance is a game of “spot the seven differences” with the album versions. This is the ease with the band bringing their repertoire live, although that way they don’t bring their, especially new, songs to life. They impress and captivate the fans with their artistic skills, but from a high, ivory tower. What more could you want than to see your favorite songs played in real life by five tough guys who have the world at their feet? Nothing, Balthazar must have thought. I will never disappoint you again is skipped, but Bunker serves as a bis number for enthusiasts and losers can not be missed as a closing. The show’s over, then back home – back to work tomorrow, whether you’re director, band member of…