Tuesday, 30 March 2010

532 THE SHEILA DIVINE, Lester, Club 9, Koersel, Belgium, Sunday 14 October 2001

Day 4 of Belgium; awoke thick-headed and almost late for breakfast, then headed out of the crowded and dirty Brussels city centre for a day out at the Atomium and Mini-Europe! Back early afternoon, then "checked out" of our hotel without checking out- we've got another night left but we're not planning on returning if we can possibly help it! Headed off to the North of the country getting off the E-Way at 6ish and driving around trying to find either a hotel, or the gig, or both! Eventually we stopped in a pub, where a kindly patron drew us a map to both! So, we located the venue - down an alleyway off the main drag, next to a kebab shop! - then found the suggested hotel, a rather sumptuous looking but competitively priced country house! Result!

Had a little rest before changing and heading off to the venue. Bumped into Jim in the lobby of this youth club type building, in the corner of a large car park. Jim's selling TSD merch from a large sofa, so we joined him for a chinwag as he greeted a lot of people arriving for the gig. Not a surprise really, as this is the 8th time The Sheila Divine have been to Belgium! Ryan passes through as Lester kick off their set. Once again they sound unobtrusive, occasionally nice and pastoral in a Daryll-Ann manner, but don't tempt us off the sofa, particularly as Jim ran off at one point and left us in charge of the merch!

Eventually we wandered in as The Sheila Divine are setting up and turning up. Once again they're straight into their set, no nonsense, with "Calling All Lovers", followed by "Every Year", a personal favourite sadly omitted from the Rock Ternat set. Once again with a bit of elbow, knee and leg room, Rachel and I take our last chance to dance with both hands, rocking out in extremis, showing these Belgians how to dance madly! As for TSD - well, what can I say about these boys? The Music - soaring, majestic, emotive rock that builds and then releases the tension in joyous measure, similar to the heroism of early U2, the thrust and sensitivity of Buffalo Tom and the melancholic plangent cool of the Kitchens Of Distinction, but alone and unique. The performance - Jim all angles and extravagant hand gestures, Pete Townshend meets Adam Clayton; Ryan laid back and cool, applauding his own band during song breaks, so obviously a fan and loving it up there; Colin all effort-led facial expressions and doubled-over shapes; and Aaron, immobile, varying between the white faced angelic voice and the red-faced angry howl to the heavens. What else to say? I think I've said it all; quite quite brilliant!

"We All Have Problems" is once again superb, Aaron bellowing at a statue of David that a Belgian fan has inexplicably put onstage, but my own favourite was "I'm A Believer", asked for in tonight's set, and got! This requires the full throttle scream all the way from Aaron, and he sensibly comes down an octave once or twice, without the song losing any of its potency. The final encore, again "Running With The Devil" kicks up the noise and fuss before "Automatic Buffalo", fittingly the last song we hear from The Sheila Divine in Belgium, calms it all with heart-wrenching emotion and cool.

This is our last night - tomorrow's just about travelling home via Bruges for some sightseeing - so we stick around to catch our breath afterwards. I grab a poster and get the boys to sign it as our official tour souvenir, before the Belgian hosts usher The Sheila Divine into an interview in the (rather foul smelling and extremely cerise-coloured!) girls toilets! Nevertheless, we stick around, determined to wring every last drop out of this one, and we're rewarded as Jim emerges and ushers us to the private bar, where much after-hours drinking is going on and Ryan is acting as barman! We chat for ages, mainly to Jim and Ryan, before reluctantly (and extremely tiredly!) saying our final farewells to the Sheila Divine. 3 brilliant shows and on the guest list for them all - boys, you really did us proud!

No comments:

Post a Comment