Friday, October 19, 2007


Live at De Living in Tienen rocks! I first mentioned it in FACT mag last year and posted bits and pieces and YouTube clips on my blog, but it's strategic importance is only now becoming seriously evident to me: it's like all the small towns of this world are fighting back and forming a global micro-scene alliance. A spit in the eye of big city complacency.

Respeck due to Olivier Decoster, who I believe is the shadowy noize mastermind behind the shows.

V/VM (aka The Caretaker) had alluded to a serious leg injury he suffered as a consequence of playing a show in Tienen in various emails a while back...and I'd seen a photo of him looking a little worse for the wear at the train station after his thanks to him for getting in contact a day or two ago with an eye-witness report (and pics!) of the art-noise madness that is Live in De Living.

Vee says:

"Before the show we arrived in Tienen a couple of hours before (it's inbetween Brussels and Liege). The venue is in a small town square and is where Olivier, the guy who runs the place, lives. The walk is like a walk through a small town that time forgot, we didn't see a soul there.

"We got to the venue which was by this point pretty full of people, some I recognised from previous visits to Belgium and people had travelled there from Antwerpen and Brussels. Before the show, we went to a bar next door to get well oiled before the performance, after sinking a few large European freepour measures of scotch whiskey we arrived back to see the legends that are Kunt playing in the space.

"The audience is going nuts in what is literally Olivier's living room. Their show ends and we go on. What happened next will be remembered for two things. About 5 minutes in, I started rolling around the venue to this horrific noise track and, at some point, rolled down the exit stairs by accident, dislocating my knee in the process. The pain was excruciating, but, like my idol Elton John, I knew the show had to go on, so I cracked my kneecap back into place and then hobbled outside for air before returning back into the venue in considerable pain with a floating kneecap.

"What I found in there was nuts: my friend, who was performing with me, had covered the entire space with cooking tomatoes, as he found a big catering tin in the venue. So the audience was covered in tomatoes, my laptop was covered in tomatoes and the floor was like an ice-rink (not good for my knee, which was giving way as soon as any weight was put on it!!!) We finished the show and then my friend noticed then that when opening the tomatoes he had cut his finger open, so in with the tomatoes was a load of blood.

"The show finished and we then faced a dash to get to the station and, luckily, we found the one sober guy at the venue (there was no taxi option) who ran us to the station as we needed to catch the train to Liege so we could both go to hospital. Again on the way back we didn't see a soul, it was as if the only people in the whole town of Tienen were at De Living.

"Olivier himself seemed really pleased about the show and I guess there has never been a more absurd show there in terms of injury and output. It's a great space to play in and a shame that something like this space cannot for example be allowed to exist in the U.K.

"It took me a full three months to get full mobilty back in my knee as well, but was, of course, well worth it. We must suffer to make venues like De Living all the more legendary."

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that it's big and clever to dress up like Elton John, chuck around family-sized tins of tomatoes and dislocate yr knee, but...ah, fuck, yes it is...

But still, Live in De living is an essential stop-over on the global micro-tour network and these guys are totally deserving of our respect. There's a bunch of excellent live vids to be Googled on YouTube, and you can follow the exploits of this marvellously unique venue (and, indeed, the entire Belgian alt.noise sub-underground) on the (let's not beat around the bush) terrific Mangenerated blog/site.

An' if you ever start anything similar in your town, let us know.