On November 21st I raced from work to Zappa in Antwerp. I had lived in the neighboorhood from birth until I was 15 and then I moved, but since it’s quite a young venue I had never set foot in Zappa. The line up was pretty promising with Prima Donna at 7:30 and rock prodigy Danko Jones at 9:15. Unfortunately when I arrived at about 7:10 I was a bit surprised as there was no light, no sound and quite a bit of commotion. The whole crowd was still outside in the icy cold and not a soul could get in. Also the whole neighbourhood was dark. No lights to be seen except for a bunch of blue flashing lights around the corner. Apparently there had been a fire in an electrical installation that shut down the power for a few blocks. Amongst them: Zappa.
I can not start to describe my disappointment when I realized I still wouldn’t see the inside of Zappa and I would have to miss Prima Donna and Danko Jones! One of the technicians inside kept us posted via Instagram and it didn’t look good for a long time. Some time around 08:00 Prima Donna started loading everything back in the van and some news reached us: “If the power’s not back on at 08:30 the show will be cancelled”. A collective sigh goes through the crowd like a very depressing Mexican wave.
The show MUST go on!
The clock strikes 08:30 and we got some more news. The band really wants to wait until at least 09:00 before blowing the entire thing off. They stay positive and that empowers the crowd – even though they’d been outside in the dark and icy cold for over 90 minutes. No prob! People are getting to know each other and are still hungry for a good, powerful rock show. And thank baby Jeebus for our patience!
At 09:00 People start talking about going home. The door opens, but no light comes through and we get the disappointing news that there will be no show in Zappa. Smiles turn upside down. People turn around and head back for their cars when all of a sudden – 10 seconds later – the lights switch on and the lovely Zappa sign lights right up. Prima Donna can’t play anymore, but we have electricity. The evening is saved and Danko and band promise us a bomber show to thanks us for waiting and honour Prima Donna with some extra songs!
What a show…
The lights go back on, the beer taps start flowing again, the sound is being checked once more and the band is ready to play. Now there was nothing new or surprising about this show. And that’s a darn good thing too! Danko Jones just proved once more that they’re a really, very solid live band. Don’t get me wrong, I love them on records just as well, but they’re even better live!
One piece of evidence: there was no warm up show and the crowd went friggin’ nuts from the very first until the very last note. People started to get warm again after those 2 hours outside and the atmosphere warmed right up with them. The band burst out song after song after song with a stunning pace and extremely high levels of energy and we could clearly see that they were just as relieved as we were. Danko did what he did best: rocking out, making crazy faces and “not boasting, but truthing!” and John Calabrese makes a great second in command hen it comes to playing not only that dirty, growling bass, but also the crowd!
The night was not only saved, but got totally awesome too!
Check out the full photo coverage on https://www.grimmgent.com/danko-jones-zappa-antwerp-photo/