”Bitterballen And The Story of How Chippen Went Opera Du Cravalle”
The Devil's own orchestra just revisited the metal grounds of Europe once more. This time Belgium was the target of choice. Beveren and Antwerp offered Bitterballen, Leffe, Them Bones and one fantastic copy of Tom Cruise, all of whom we'll seldom forget. As a token of appreciation, the six swedes went hats off, and worked their Opera Du Cravalle, stuffed with charm as always.
As seen on YouTube lately, the amazing people of Belgium showed us how to dance like a true Balrog. One word, my fellow Rag Dolls. Wow.
Being a travelling swede, you always keep a copy of your worried, though dear little mother on your shoulder, where ever you go. On your opposite shoulder, there lives a little devilish vagabond, afraid of few things. The competition between those two often result in a great balance travelling around the world. In Belgium, on the other hand, you have very little use of the tiny angel-like mother-gnome. Constantly surrounded of people like the ones we've met on this trip, you might aswell go All In! Everyone was amazingly nice, and practically offered their whole world to us. As a result, Blikfest IV was a real treat to perform at. Everything from being welcomed by the people in charge, to preparing and performing the show, worked like a charm.
While entering a local bar in Beveren, the man behind the counter exclaimed ”Chippen”, pointing at Johannes Bergion. The people in the bar turned around in amazement and welcomed the look-alike of swedish soccer player Christian Wilhelmsson a k a ”Chippen”. The rest of our visit to the bar is history, containing a lot of swedish references as ”Båtsman”, ”Pelle” and the street food dish ”Tunnbrödrulle” (nothing compared to the belgian ”Bitterballen” though!).
The orchestra had the honor of playing two nights in a row, with the band Oceans of Sadness. Artists mastering their instruments, and at the same time delivering a cultural smash, is always tickling me the right way. The mix of Gothenburg-metal-In-Flames-like riffs and vibes from the grungy ninetees felt like being home, yet having traveled in time and place to Seattle around 1994. I was among the lucky ones experiencing The Oceans of Sadness cover version of Alice In Chains song ”Them Bones”, two nights in a row.
The voice of singer Tijs Vanneste is equally powerful as the one of the late Lane Staley (rest in peace). How Vanneste manages to sing the way he does, night after night, remains a mystery, but I'd like to see and hear more of where that came from. D:S:O will make a great effort in having Oceans of Sadness come to Sweden during the spring of 2008 for a couple of shows.
The second night was a totally different experience than the one at Blikfest. This time, the challange lay in making the six of us fit on a stage the size of a plate of Bitterballen. Headbanging was a limited adventure that eve, but still an instructive delight!
Kudos to those who attended the shows, bought our album, and made the Belgium trip one hell of a ride. Once again. Hats off.
Oh, if the world only could be a tad more Belgian...
Live photos by Tim Tronckoe