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Colour Haze & My Sleeping Karma (Het Depot)

Right in front of the Leuven train station lies ‘Het Depot’, the venue of tonight’s psychedelic escape. With Radar Men From The Moon, My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze it promises to be an evening to enjoy and relax. This bill was thoughtfully composed in cooperation with Orange Factory who brought us many interesting line-ups in the past.

Radar Men From The Moon (***1/2) hails from Eindhoven in the Netherlands and it has been since the Yellowstock festival in Geel in 2015 that I saw these guys live. A hypnotic trip into space is how I could best describe a live  show by this band. While drummer Tony Lathouwers is in my opinion the backbone and metronome of the band with his steady but ever consistent beats, other members Glenn Peeters, Jan-Titus Verkuijlen, and Bram van Zuijlen musically hover around him ever so gracefully. Their little variations keep you looking forward all the time. They do not necessarily build up to predictable climaxes, but allow you to dance, just for the sake of dancing. What does strike me in comparison with their 2015 show I saw at Yellowstock is the greater emphasis on the electronic side of the music spectrum. While I remember a groovier guitar-driven sound in the sweaty hall of Geel, tonight in Leuven the band has evolved even further in their sonic recreation of soundscapes and exploration of too many damn subgenres. Don’t try to squeeze these guys into one box, for the universe is vast and possibly infinite. Just sit back and enjoy the trip.

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After a false start where the audio intro got interrupted abruptly, the German My Sleeping Karma (****) took the stage. While many bands hold a group hug or cheer backstage before showing themselves to the public, MSK does it in front of the crowd. Just one of many examples of how this band is all about love, friendship and peace and that they are not afraid to show it. Fist bumps are thrown around eagerly among its members throughout the show.  While RMFTM holds on to short variations around a strong drumbeat, MSK flows on the repeating lead rhythms of guitarist Seppi. With Prithvi, Vayu and Akasha MSK share several songs of their latest 2016 Moksha album, which are happily received by the audience. The strong visual projections playing around the animated artworks of their albums added to the experience for those who managed to keep their eyes open. However, I believe many of the attendees gave themselves over to the music and just retreated in their own mind for the length of the show. As always, when bassist Matte announces the last song the ending comes as a shock as I could listen to these guys for much longer.

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But of course, we still need to receive the headliner of tonight. Active from the mid-nineties this German trio should not be a stranger to anyone reading this review and who loves some good stoner music. Colour Haze (****) and more specifically guitarist Stefan Koglek are the only ones providing vocals tonight, though very limited, as also here the music does most of the talking. Listening to Colour Haze on record and watching them live is still a huge difference as most of the times the songs end up being spun out in lengthy improvisations. And even though bass player Philipp Rasthofer looks like my 5th grade math teacher with his sober grey costume, his bass lines could keep me interested for hours (unlike linear regressions and goniometry). And hours of improvisation and groovy mind trips is what we got. Two hours to be precise! A while after the last trains had left the station (causing some visitors to miss a big part of Colour Haze’s show) Koglek announced one last encore song… Peace, Brothers & Sisters! Another 22 minutes later the crowd left the Depot venue smiling and discussing the visual mind trip provided by the ‘oil on water’-like projections throughout the show. I have the feeling the happy and relaxed faces were a reflection of my own state of mind after such an entertaining evening.

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For more visuals of this psychedelic stoner experience by our photographer Gillian, go here.