Powerful women, new discoveries and old memories

Suikerrock – Grote Markt, Tienen; July 28th, 2018

This year and especially this summer is apparently the time to ride the nostalgia train and see bands/ artists that I’ve love back in the 90ies, some for the first time and some again after a long break. I went to Suikerrock to finally see Anouk and while I was there to give Alanis Morissette a second chance. Having the goo goo dolls in the line up was a welcome addition and the other bands were not half bad either. My quest to see artists I have never seen before often takes me to amazing places and this was one of them. The festival was well organized and lovely overall – I had a great time.

Going to Brussels on the first possible train meant being up at 4 am – a little early for a Saturday. Luckily, I could directly check in when I arrived in Tienen around 10 and catch up on some sleep. I had no idea when the festival area would open so i went and checked it out around 1:30 and they were just setting everything up. Abou an hour later I was back and got in. The stage had a good size and at that time there was still a lot of room so I got a front row spot on the right side of the catwalk and thanks to the nice people around me managed to keep it until the end of the night. Drinks first (really, you could not sell bigger bottles in this heat?) I settled down, sitting as long as I could to get some shade. Shortly before the first band started I realized I had forgotten my earplugs. Luckily they were giving them away for free at the festival.

SONS were up first and they did not impress me much. It was straightforward rock, loud, but nothing unusual. They were young or at least they looked like they were barely out of high school and at times they seemed to have a contest on who could play the fastest. They weren’t bad musicians, just not my style. There enthusiasm was great though and they had a few fans in the audience who rocked along, sang and head banged with the music. As  far as first bands go it could have been much worse. They made me smile and that was enough. 🙂

Somehow I had thought it was the goo goo dolls’ turn now, but before that happened, Milo Meskens played for us. His pop tunes were lovely and instantly wormed their way into my ears. The whole time he was playing I could not shake the feeling that he reminded me of someone else, but I have no idea who. Maybe it was just because his name made me think of Milow. Either way, I loved his songs, I’ll put him on the long list of people whose music I#ll need to check out eventually and by check out I mean buying a CD. I liked his voice a lot and what I gathered of the lyrics was nice too. I’ll have to listen again and figure out if it still appeals to me then, but for now I was happy I got the chance to see him. He came across really likable too, maybe I#ll see more of him one day.

I highly anticipated the goo goo dolls, even though I wasn’t sure I knew any song but ‘Iris’. For a while I was convinced I had seen them before, but eventually it occurred to me that I had only seen Gin Blossom and embarrassingly I have no idea how I managed to confuse the two. Either way, I knew they had been around for a while and was looking forward to seeing them. Rightfully so, they put on one hell of a show. Their energy was contagious and soon they had people moving and clapping along. Clearly, some people had come just to see them and quite a few others enjoyed their music as well. Many of the songs were familiar to me, even though I could not have named any of them. I loved the music and I loved how they interacted with the audience making much use of the catwalk and therefore coming very close to me. 😀 It was fun seeing them and when the singer announced “this was the first song anyone knew and I don’t know if you know it, but I am a guest in this country so be polite and pretend you do” I pretended alright. I can’t remember which one it was though, just that I liked it and it actually sounded vaguely familiar. I even attempted singing along even though I did not know the lyrics. *insert sheepish smile here*. Their set was over in a heartbeat and of course they played ‘Iris’ too – it was the very last song.

Setlist

Dizzy
Slide
Big Machine
Rebel Beat
Here Is Gone
Black Balloon
Free of Me
So Alive
Name
Over and Over
Stay With You
Bringing On The Light
Better Days
Broadway
Iris

Next up where White Lies a Dutch band I have never heard of even though they must have been around for at least ten years since the singer announced one song they released ten years ago. It was dancy pop music, a bit on the electro side. I have no idea if that description makes sense, but that was what it felt like. Listenable tunes, no more and no less. I liked some of them, others did not speak to me, but overall it was good and they got the audience going too. It worked well to bridge the time before the act I really wanted to see.

Setlist

To Lose My Life
Farewell to the Fairground
Take It Out on Me
Morning in LA
Believe It
Is My Love Enough
Unfinished Business
Death
Hold Back Your Love
Don’t Love Your Mothers
Big TV
Bigger Than Us

Anouk was the one I had come to see and what a force of nature she was. Back in the mid 90ies she’d had one hit in Germany with ‘Nobody’s Wife’ and my best friend B. and I had tickets to go see her in Düsseldorf. Unfortunately that concert was cancelled due to her being ill and to my knowledge she has not been back to Germany since or at least I didn’t know about it, She is, however, quite popular in her home country the Netherlands and a few years ago I came across her music again, bought a couple of albums and have been wanting to see her ever since. Finally I did. Obviously I had not listened to her music enough though, because apart from ‘Nobody’s Wife’ there was not one song I recognized and judging by the setlist I should have at least know a few. That didn’t matter at all though, I loved every minute of her show nonetheless.

She had an amazing band, including a four men background choir who sang their hearts out. Their singing and the great playing of the other band members created the perfect background for her amazing, soulful voice. Every not she hot was perfect and boy did she get into it. Sometimes she stood really still and at other times she moved wildly across the stage, her hair flying. I could have watched and listened for hours. She had powerful songs and softer ones and she even gave us ‘Nobody’s Wife’. Many people sang along to every word and I wished I could have done that, but I had to be content with listening. The sound was great, every word could be clearly heard. There was one very beautiful slow song towards the end that brought me very close to tears, but I have yet to figure out which one that was. At one point, someone in the audience yelled “Anouk, you rule” and I agree that she does. 🙂 So much power and so much soul. It blew my mind. Time went by too quickly and before I knew it she already waved goodbye. What a woman! Totally worth the trip.

Setlist

To Get Her Together (intro)
Girl
Been Here Before
Run Away Together
Burn
Down & Dirty
Modern World
Killer Bee
Three Days in a Row
Looking for Love
Nobody’s Wife
Lost
Jerusalem
Good God

The last time I’d seen Alanis Morissette was in the early 2000s and that concert had left me terribly disappointed, because the sound at that venue was so bad that I could not hear a word she was singing. 🙁 I had lost track of here some time ago, but since I was at the festival anyway I decided to give her a second chance. So gar the sound had been great so I was pretty sure I’d understand her this time around. The woman next to me, who was there specifically to see her, told me she’d been doing mostly her old songs on this tour. Fine with me, I’d loved her music back in the day.

I totally expected long flying hair, but when she came out I saw it was short now – nice too. She had a five piece band with her and none of the guys looked familiar, but it had been a long time since I’d last seen her. They were great, but when she started singing, I once again could not make out the words. I did recognize the songs, but I could not really hear what she was singing and no fiddling with my earplugs helped. So I spent the first few songs thinking “it wasn’t the venue, it was Alanis” and I saw how she often held the mic far from her mouth – maybe too far? Luckily it got better after a while and I started enjoying the show. 🙂

She indeed played many of the old songs, in fact there were only two songs in her set that were unfamiliar to me. I found myself grooving and even singing along with many others in the audience. ‘Guardian’ was the first song I really enjoyed and the turning point was ‘Hand in my Pocket’ where everyone sang and moved along. This was the concert I had been hoping for. Alanis was constantly on the move across stage and the band played together a lot too, i.e. visiting each other. I remember her playing harmonica and leaning down in front of the drummer or following the bassist and guitar players across stage. All of it was awesome. For ‘Ironic’ she changed the line about “Meeting his beautiful wife” to “beautiful husband” while the bassist went and snuggled the organ  player. 😀 I could not remember all of the lyrics, but I did have lot of fun. Unexpectedly she even played an encore an after a good 90 minutes left us with ‘Thank U’. I got lucky and was handed a setlist in the end. Yay!

When I finally got back to my hotel at almost 1:30 in the morning I was dead tired, but glad I made the treck to Belgium. 🙂

Setlist

All I Really Want
21 Things I Want in a Lover
Forgiven
Woman Down
You Learn
Mary Jane
Guardian
Right Through You
Hand in My Pocket
Everything
So Pure
Head Over Feet
Hands Clean
Ironic
You Oughta Know

Encore
Uninvited
Thank U

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