Elder in the Northern Quarter, 2016

Magasin 4
Brussels, Belgium
May 17, 2016
It hasn’t been two weeks since I saw Elder in Berlin and there’s still some leftover cosmik debris from their DesertFest set rumbling through my head but they’re blowing through Brussels so I’m all in and committed on this random Tuesday night. Traveling solo I roll into Gare du Nord which is a seedy desolation row train depot and reminds me of my own Port Authority in NYC which is the high water mark for the weird and surreal but it’s just another side of the rue so I amber down to the docks in the Northern Quarter business district which is dead quiet and ghostly. Magasin 4 is a burned out warehouse surrounded by junkyards and tangled rebar and inside it’s all busted concrete and punk flyers and I feel like I’ve been here before. It’s real deal and no-nonsense so I take in the scene and hit the bar and order the Kriek lambic in broken French but end up with a Grimbergen Triple but I keep quiet because this is as good a place to start as any. The dudes from Elder are rapping with some punters and another cat is selling records in boxes with titles like DOOM and BRUTAL PROG and CRUST. I find my place and wait for it all to coalesce and it’s familiar but also new and I hear Flemish and French and English and ain’t that a damn fine Belgian brew. Carousel from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania take the stage without anyone noticing and they bust into some amped up twin-guitar machine head rock from ‘72. I realize I forgot my plugs but it’s all good and I plunk down the 2 euro coin for the cheap ass Maes pils in a cup and it ain’t the Grim but what else is? I wanna get as close to the essence of Elder as possible so I’m dead center up front and they start at 9 on the dime cause there’s a curfew so let’s go and don’t get left behind but why there’s a cut off in this dead zone neighborhood is beyond me. The set resembles their Desertfest jam from weeks back and it’s harsh and loud up front with the stage volume low and clean and you can see up close how well oiled the band is. “Dead Roots Stirring” is urgent and scrappy and it’s an epic prog masterpiece I’m ranking right alongside “Close to the Edge” in stature and pure ass-kicking awesomeness. Everything else is smash and grab and the band encores with “Spires Burn” which wasn’t played in Berlin so the added bonus is a gift and damn they’re leaning hard in the pocket and having a shit ton of fun cause it’s all smiles and whoops and hollers. The power surge coming at me is devastating and my beer tumbles off the stage because it’s shaking and the rafters are about to come down but I give it all a nevermind cause this shit right here
Photo by the Rock File
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