I was in Brussels last weekend for the 3-day Couleur Café music festival. It was my third Couleur Café – it’s becoming a bit of a tradition.
If you’ve never been you should definitely check it out next year. I think the venue is changing in a couple years, so next year will be your last chance to check-out the festival at Tour et Taxi, a great festival grounds on the edge of Brussels. It’s apparently moving to the Atomium or thereabouts.. we’ll see how that works out. (Is there still that hilariously frightening Charlemagne Palestine exhibit of weird puppets inside the Atomium?)
The music at Couleur Café is always good, the event is well-organized, you eat well, the weather is inevitably sunny – at least every year I’ve been – and Brussels is a very fun place to spend a weekend if you know/meet the right people. A big plus is that Couleur Café, like Solidays in Paris but minus the attitude, is in a city instead of a muddy field somewhere.
The line-up this year was pretty good. You can never see everyone at these festivals, especially if you’re going to survive the million chopes in the uncharacteristically hot, sunny Belgian weather, but I did manage to catch quite a few good shows.
Today we’ll hear some music from some of this year’s highlights including Bibi Tanga, Asian Dub Foundation, Khaled, Alpha Blondy, Patrice, Cesaria Evora and the Kasai All-Stars.
I didn’t know Bibi Tanga before the festival – great show. Asian Dub Foundation put on a good, loud and sweaty set as usual. Patrice really rocked the crowd. Unfortunately for me, the Kasai All-Stars set had some of the worst sound I’ve ever heard. I was really looking forward to seeing them but the show was almost unlistenable due to bad mixing, bad mics.. oh well. Alpha Blondy was, well, an Alpha Blondy show with plenty of smoke in the air and dazed franco-reggae youth in the sun. Cesaria Evora looked like she’d seen a ghost or suffered a stroke, but her music still goes so well with the nice weather. (And no, Hocus Pocus didn’t actually play with her. That’s just a 20syl remix I like.. a nod to the Paris hiphop scene.) And we all know that Khaled is classic.
There was much, much more – some that I saw, much that I didn’t – but that’s enough for a big weekend. I’m still tired but Couleur Café is well worth the trip every year.
Big love to the whole Belgium crew – always a pleasure to see you guys.
PS Happy Canada Day!
Bibi Tanga – It’s The Earth That Moves
Asian Dub Foundation – Flyover
Alpha Blondy – Brigadier Sabary
Cesaria Evora – Petit Pays (20syl remix)
Kasai Allstars – Quick As White
Patrice – Fear Rules
Khaled – Raba Raba