killthelogo (Ancienne Belgique, Brussels) - 25/02/2022

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We’ve only just gotten out of one global crisis (sort of), and we’re already getting dragged into the next one. But last Friday we did manage to catch a break as at least COVID restrictions were somewhat lifted and the concert scene opened up its doors again. For many attendees this was the first show in a long while and it showed. Groups of friends laughing aloud, toasting to heartfelt reunions with happy faces all around. Notice my using “happy” and not “relieved”, because relief is still nowhere to be found. However joyous everyone seemed at the prospect of returning to a sense of normalcy, there reigned a palpable sense of unease due to the latest events. Should we really be enjoying ourselves what with the mess that’s going on in Ukraine? It’s certainly open for debate. But at least we were attending the return (or sequel) of a band renowned for their politically supercharged lyrics and killer grooves.

Through the Void (***)

First things first though, since it wasn’t certain this gig would take place due to ever shifting corona measures, communication from the venue was scarce, so I completely missed out on the fact that we would be treated to opening bands. But you don’t hear me complain. The more, the merrier obviously. So while the venue was still slowly but surely filling up with people, the local Through the Void were the ones to kick off the night. The Brussels nu-metal unit brought us some powerful grooves very reminiscent of bands that were popular during the genre’s heyday, back in the early 2000s. And when you think ‘nu-metal’, there’s a chance some rapping will be involved, which was the case here. I wasn’t entirely convinced at first, but as the songs went on it grew on me. The alternation with tight cleans and harsher screams also helped me appreciate them a bit more. Musically, it’s good fun: grooves alternated with a few breakdowns here and there. But they seemed to be short of a man. There being no bassist on stage, it was obvious I would notice the much needed bass samples that were played along with the songs. They sounded good, but a little loud at times. And was it just me or did I catch some scratching samples as well? Now that’s something I want more of! The crowd looked like they were enjoying it well-enough, and from the interaction with one group of people in particular I believe the band enjoyed the support of one loyal group of fans they knew personally. Good for them, but the band needs to make sure they don’t forget about the rest of the room. On the other hand it can be tough too… Because when your frontman is requesting crowd participation from an audience that isn’t fully warmed up, I can get awkward sometimes too. It’s a good sentiment, but in such a case, I would say less is more.

Set list:

Lalma (***1/2)

The second band of the night was a bit of an odd duck, but hear me out. I’d never actually heard of lalma before, which is my bad since they played Alcatraz 2021 among others. This is another musical project by John Roan, whom most of us know as one of the masterminds behind the Belgian electro act Arsenal. As expected, however, lalma is something else entirely. I was already completely taken aback as the set exploded with a series of post black metal blast beats, but you can imagine my surprise when on top of that the singer opened his mouth and his beautifully clean voice resounded through the AB Club. Not one single lyric was sung in a harsh voice. As odd as the combo may have seemed, it definitely works once you get in the zone. I only have a small issue with it, but it’s really a matter of personal preference: the singing didn’t always follow the musical pattern the way I wanted it to. Of course it’s not up to me. Still, I prefer it when both elements flow effortlessly. But this is very much a band that breaks with convention and requires a bit of effort from the listener. And as is the case with any type of effort, you should stick with it to reap the rewards. lalma is sure cut from different cloth, but now that I’ve tried it on I find it suits me rather well.

Set list:
The Irrecoverables
The Realm
A Safe Distance
Beyond the Pale
Echo the Wolf

killthelogo (****1/2)

The band we were all there to see – and the band I somehow thought was the only one I would see tonight -, killthelogo knocked it out of the park. Named after the eponymous album by the – sadly – much forgotten band .calibre which disbanded somewhere around the beginning of the new millennium, killthelogo consider themselves the sequel to that band. They insist on the fact that we shouldn’t see them as a reunited band, but as an upgraded continuation of the former. An interestingly unique approach, to say the least. In short, their show was a blast from start to finish. I was a huge fan then, and I’m still a fan now. To be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy their new material as much as I did their old songs, or “covers” as they would have you call them since they’re technically by another band, but I’m officially hooked. However amazing it felt to be able to see songs like ‘Karma‘, ‘Meritocracy‘ and ‘Calibre‘ performed live after so long, and it’s hard to draw focus away from those if you’re a long-time fan like me, these gents will make sure to pull you in with the new material. Speaking of which, riffs are groovy as hell and lyrics are catchy. It helps that they’re simple, despite the razor-sharp social commentary. They deeply believe in the political views they’re bringing to the stage, and that makes all the difference. Bands who put their money where their mouths are at are quite rare these days, and often the impact of their performance will suffer for it. Not so with killthelogo. The words hit just as hard as the grooves, and the show’s as loud as the message should be. And the audience was completely on board.

Set list:
Deep State
Boutique Pharma
Karma (.calibre cover)
Meritocracy (.calibre cover)
In The Factory (intro)
Clear as Day
Midlife Crisis (Faith No More cover)
Calibre (.calibre cover)
Fuck Your Data
Buy More Shit
Riot As One
Conspiracy (encore)

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