Concours Circuit, one of the Belgian competitions for young talented bands, took place this Saturday, December 20 in Botanique. Five finalists, which previously won eliminatory and semi-final phases, battled in the final with short concerts, each of 30 minutes, alternatively on Rotonde and Orangerie. At the end, a jury chose the winner.
People were still arriving when the first group started on the stage of the Rotonde. Forest Bath is a trio coming from Brussels, lead by a super artistic and ultra feminine figure, Joanna Lorho. It is to be said that among her other many creative endeavors, she has studied music and is playing the piano as well. They have started on time and the drops of piano sound fall upon the seated audience, soon to be asked to stand up to make place for more coming spectators. In her music, Joanna Lorho reveals highly emotional gloomy feelings. Her voice teams-up best with her piano but also with the very skilful cello playing of Corentin Dellicour. There was also percussion, a bit of guitar, trumpet and live looping, all to create a dreamy ambiance, with a dark and melancholic aesthetic. A very beautiful live act.
Prize won: Prix Musictown (30hrs of studio rehearsal in a professional studio)
MAW // SITT // SII
For the second band, everybody moved in Orangerie for a different type of ambience. MAW // SITT // SII had 3 sets of percussion on stage to make sure that at any moment some one was playing the drums. Combining post-rock with electronic music, they have an interesting sound, constructed with care for details and composition, and very coherent in spite of the multitude of elements, from disco, indie, tribal to rock and heavier resonances. Their performance was flawless.
Prizes won: Prix t-heater (a performance at TRix Antwerp) and Prix Poppunt (a performance at ProPulse)
My favorite band of the evening and number two winners was Mambo. Although described as math rock, they are definitely much more than mathematical rhythms or very skilful players. They are a four-piece band extremely natural on stage, with enormous delight of playing together and a great sense of humor. They did not come to win, they came to play and that’s the best rock’n’roll attitude ever. A fully instrumental performance but with enough blast, movements and change of directions to keep the spirit up until the end of the (too short) 30 minutes recital. One more gem coming from the rich Liège rock scene to perform and conquer the audience of Brussels.
Second prize: 1000 euros
Prix Lasemo (presence in the festival line-up)
Prix Ca Balance (1 day of recording and 1 day of mix with a professional sound engineer)
Alternative Rock from Louvain-La-Neuve, Thyself offer a dual musical scenery: soft, gentle at the beginning of the songs, to evolve afterwards into something more dynamic and energetic. The main focus is on the sound (the members are sound engineers themselves) but it leaves the song composition on a secondary place. Very good voice for this genre, use of double microphone, good use of the 90s alternative bands influences as Radiohead or Portishead.
Prix Les Aralunaires (presence in the festival line-up)
Alaska Gold Rush
And the winner is … Alaska Gold Rush. The duo from Brussels managed to win the minds of the jury and the heart of the audience with their universe of a complete original mixture of delta blues, country music, rock’n’roll and folk. And all this just with two instruments. A fabulous drummer Alexandre De Bueger, able to create melody on his kit and a guitar player reminding of the skiffle style, Renaud Ledru. An excellent 30 minutes journey into American music and they left home more than 10 prizes.
Grand prix: 2000 euros + a live session
Prix Club Plasma (750 euros)
Prix Pure fm (live session )
Prix Dour Festival (presence in the festival line-up)
Prix Les Ardentes Festival (presence in the festival line-up)
Prix Bucolique festival (presence in the festival line-up)
Prix Bruxelles-Les-Bains (presence in the festival line-up)
Prix VNYL+Biplan (4 touring dates in the North of France)
Prix Roland (400 euro voucher)
Finale du Concours Circuit was definitely a success. Many prizes and an audience which became sometimes too big for the two venues in Botanique. I only wonder whether a jury of almost 60 people is not too much though. And also why there was no band to play between the end of the event and the winners’ announcement, when the jury retired to deliberate. Nevertheless, a beautiful evening.
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