Review: Priests @ Botanique

May 23, 2019

Punk was explicit and colourful, post-punk was introvert and gloomy - so the story goes. In the 1980s bands like The Smiths and The Cure have set a model for other artists eager to paint their nails black and stare at their footwear (hence the genre is colloquially known as “shoegaze"). Not Priests. While taxonomically they belong to the species of post-punk acts, their on-stage energy shows otherwise.

 

[ an impression of Priests live ] 

 

The Washington D.C. threesome (+ extra bass player) has quite the European tour scheduled this month, including gigs at London Calling at Paradiso, Amsterdam, and Best Kept Secret Festival. Last Monday they played Botanique in Brussels in front of some hundred people. The venue itself is reminiscent of the Cavern Club — the Beatles’ cradle — with similar cellar acoustics. It took me a while to get accustomed to Belgian concert customs, such as standing absolutely still, filming the entire show, and demanding once place in the very front back after a run for beer, to just stand absolutely still again. 

 

Priests completely ignored the lack of energy in their Brussels crowd and went full throttle. So full throttle that the main singer announced halfway the concert that the frog in her throat could only be overcome by singing with sometimes funny facial expressions. Katie Alice Greer, as she is called, wore a yellow latex minidress with stockings, and gave it her all. Only when the studio-rendition demanded a howl — a signature trait of Greer’s vocal qualities — did she just provide the onset of the peak to be reached, leaving the rest to the audience’s imagination. 

 

 [ the cave in which they performed last Monday ]

 

My biggest regret of the evening was riding with the slowest Uber driver in Brussels (I propose the Dutch-German neologism: Ubermacht) making me miss the first 15 minutes of the 50 minute show. However, the band only grew in my appreciation the longer I suppressed my frustrations with the tame crowd. Guitarist G.L. Jaguar (who looks an awful lot like a friendly version of Toy Story 2’s “Al”) noticed that and kept doing what he did best: giving me a good time. 

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