Yesterday, the great day had come: the day on which we would attend Ashels’ concert in Melle with the free tickets we had won. When I came home from work around 6:15 p.m., I was rejoicing at the thought of having a hot shower and a decent meal, but my boyfriend greeted me with the words: “We should leave shortly, the concert starts at 7 o’clock”.
- What? Are you mad? I’m hardly awake at 7 o’clock in the evening! I’m a bit of a night bird, you see… So we rushed to the place where it was going to happen: “Rodeo Caravans” in Melle. Second surprise, a bit of a strange place for a concert, if you’d ask me! Then again, who needs conventionalism, anyway?
When we arrived, it appeared that the concert took place in the company’s hangar in which some caravans were exhibited and four rows of chairs were placed in front of a little stage. Somewhat later, it all would become clear! This concert was part of a series of activities organised on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the paved road that runs through Melle. Those inhabitants of Melle are quite right: any excuse to celebrate will do! That’s the spirit!
Ashels consists of a female singer, Annemie Piron, and 7 musicians.
I already knew two of the musicians from the band Fluxus (Cfr. my review of Fluxus), namely sax player, Koen Garriau, and his father Paul who plays the guitar and the hurdy-gurdy. Ashels also features another member of the Garriau family: -no, no, not Greet- but Ulrich, who plays the whistles (loads of them) and the bagpipes. Then there’s also bass player Jeroen Dewulf and drummer/percussionist Koen Danhieux. Wilfried De Schepper plays the guitar and the cello, while Guido De Meester takes care of percussion, Jew’s harp (which goes “woiiiiiing, woiiiiiing”), bagpipes and who knows what else!
Ashels brought a mix of songs in Dutch, in English as well as in French, and instrumental tunes, such as andros, squares, Schottisches, bourrées, polkas, jigs, …
In their invitation, Ashels had advised us to bring our dancing shoes, which turned out to be a valuable advice. Spurred by a few die-hard folkies, among which Aedo’s saxophone player (Cfr. my review of Aedo), the audience started dancing an andro throughout the hangar … and even in the caravans in order to ‘try out their stability’, as Koen nicely put it. I am happy to inform you that both the audience as the caravans passed the test! I must admit that I wasn’t among the dancers. I still haven’t got the hang of those typical folk dances. If only someone would teach me, one day, I might also throw caution to the winds!
To sum it up: this really was a sympathetic performance, with an enthusiastic audience and a pleasant atmosphere!