Over the past few years, Fluxus has established an excellent reputation and now belongs to the top of the Belgian folk scene.
They produce a very particular sound, which they describe as “fluid folk”. I’m not acquainted with the philosophy behind this expression, but I’ve formed my own opinion about its signification. I’m pretty convinced that it has something to do with the diversity of genres they play. Their music flows from traditional folk, via jazz and a few whirlpools of cabaret, to contemporary folk, discharging into cacophonous psychedelic music.
What makes Fluxus stand apart from other folk bands certainly is the use of the saxophone, which is rather uncommon in the world of folk music.
That sax is played by Koen Garriau, who also takes on the role of host, -or should I say jester?- of the evening. The first victim of his jokes was his father, Frank Zappa look-alike Paul Garriau, who plays the hurdy-gurdy and who always looks incredibly “zen” to me.
We seriously suspect drummer Geert Simoen of placing his drums there as a façade to hide the myriad of other instruments he was playing, such as the wooden board, the bongos, the jembe, etc. Drumsticks seemed to be limited to Kentucky Fried Chicken only, as he played the vast majority of instruments, including the cymbals, using nothing but his hands as tools. Meanwhile, bass player Sam Van Ingelgem seemed to have trotted off into a world of his own, happily plucking his strings. That is to say, his body language from time to time did betray some technical difficulties with the sound, which we didn’t really notice. Away to the side, a flurry of activity was going on with Toon Van Mierlo changing instruments like supermodels change clothes on the catwalk. Yet, he seemed to be equally proficient at each one of them, whether it be bagpipes, uillean pipes, thin whistle, flute, etc.
As in a lot of folk bands there’s need for about five men to compensate for one female band member. Fluxus is no different. Here, girl power comes in the guise of Greet Garriau, who plays the accordion and adds her lovely voice to the whole. The least we can say is that Greet plays the accordion with a passion that makes the male part of the audience wish they were that very accordion. She’s always totally immersed in the music.
The show itself wasn’t the best they ever played, but even with its minor flaws, it remained highly enjoyable, the band not taking themselves overly seriously and just enjoying themselves on the stage, which after all is what music is all about, right?
Koen did the best he could to convince everyone to shake off that awfully restraining influence of those benches, but even promising a free keg couldn’t do the trick.
Nor could “Kapitein Zeppos” or “The lion sleeps tonight” remedy that, which proved that it wasn’t their fault! Seated concerts just don’t stimulate us couch potatoes to get out of our seats..