Botanique is a great concert venue. First: it’s the Brussels Botanical Gardens so the whole backyard is a jungly maze of vegetation. Second it’s the Brussels Botanical Gardens so the whole trip from the entrance to the Orangerie Hall is a jungly maze of vegetation. And third: once arrived in the Orangerie the first thing to notice is how shallow the room is. It fits at least a few hundred people, but nobody can stand more than 15 feet from the stage. It’s a nice arrangement. Too bad the guy standing in front of us was a CCCF (Chronic Concert Crowd Farter).
Turner Cody was up first to sing and play solo for the Bruxellois. His mindless banter between songs was meandering and charming. It didn’t hurt that his main through line was how much he liked Brussels (‘Your city name is plural! How cool is that?).
But the most impressive thing was definitely the music. His style hearkens back to a Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan-esque singer-songwriterthing. Not that he’s necessarily on the same plane as those legends, but if one’s going to hearken, you might as well make it good. And anyway he was definitely good enough and present enough to keep us engaged the whole opening set.
For his last few tracks he was accompanied by the Herman Dune band and he showed he could rock-out.
The headliner Herman Dune sold out their last trip to the Botanique, during Brussels Nuits Botaniques. They are like Jethro Tull, in that even though they have a guys name, they’re actually a band.
And a really fucking good band at that. Catchy, hooky, melodic ‘anti-folk’ (as they like to call it). Upbeat and cheery, sometimes lovesick, sometimes with a ukelele, sometimes some trumpet, always dressed as extras in a low-budget western (vintage distressed denims, vests and scruffy facial hair), and always entertaining. All the way through their three encores.
Colour me ready for more live music.