Brutus (OLT Rivierenhof, Antwerp) – 17/07/2020

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Finally! The Belgian lock down period is over and little by little we’re able to attend gigs again. be it small ones, but it’s something… My first show sure was something though: I got to see local post/prog rock band Brutus at the open air theater in a park in Antwerp. A great venue for some post rock on a sunny day as I remember seeing Mogwai there back in 2008. To warm us up beforehand they brought their good friend BRENNT .

Brennt (***)

In between being frontman for post sludge band Stake (formerly known as Steak Number Eight), producing albums for King Hiss (among others) and rocking vinyl at Berlin techno parties, musical millipede Brent Vanneste apparently found the time to start yet another project. This time he enters the stage all by himself as BRENNT and delivers a rough mix of ambient techno verging on the edge of soundscaping with eclectic voice overs, sometimes even touching the borders of breakcore.

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BRENNT has some curious mic techniques…

Brutus (****)

It’s been a few years since I saw Brutus live but I remember them being a trio of crazy talented musicians that captured the crowd with their mesmerizing melodies and droning beats. And they still are just that. Which is a good thing!

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Stijn Vanhoegaerden playing his white penguin

Brutus is really the sum of all of its components and although the songs are often loud and a bit dirty, they seem to be built up in a rather fragile way. Take the song “War” for example with its fragile intro that consist of nothing more than some clean guitar and vocals before bursting into a hypnotizing wall of sound when the guitar sounds gets all fuzzy and the bass and drums kick in.

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Stefanie Mannaerts on drums and vocals

When talking about Brutus we’re talking about a band that delivers the same atmosphere and energy live as they produced it on their albums. Stefanie Mannaerts is not only a very good drummer, but also a crazy talented singer. The public happily gives in to her beautiful, yet thin highs and rather raspy lows that seem to create a dreamscape when combined with Stijn Vanhoegaerden‘s dreamy, often repetitive guitar melodies. Just listen to the song “Sugar Dragon” and you’ll immediately catch my drift. Add on Peter Mulders‘ gloomy, droning bass sound to further support the foundation and the picture’s complete.

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Peter Mulders on bass

Open Air Theatre

Now imagine this whole story not in a concert hall or bar setting, but a replica of a roman amphi theater. In open air with the setting sun on one side (remember the dreamscapes) and a breeze gently caressing your hair and bristling through the trees. All that while listening to this awesome band and sipping from a Belgian specialty beer. Seriously: After a few months of being locked down with no gigs to even look forward to at all I’d say my summer finally started. And it started pretty good…

If you like how this report sounds and are wondering what that must’ve looked like, head over to for the full photo coverage!

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