Live Review: Boogarins, Reflektor Club, Liege 01.11.2015

I spoke briefly to Rapha, the bass player of Boogarins after the gig, only long enough to ask him to describe their music in a few words if possible. He replied “Free Jazz Pop Rock”. It’s as good a phrase as any, but I would be doing a poor job, and the band a disservice if I left this review there.

Other words I could add are psychedelic, rhythmic, intense and hypnotic. At times they venture into the bombastic chord explosions employed by Porcupine Tree, at others it’s a mesmerising Krautrock drone, given extra exotic oomph by their choice to sing in Portuguese. There’s also a sly ear for melody in there, chiming guitar arpeggios cascade through the maelstrom and then gently shimmer in the quieter passages. Perched over his guitar like a an exotic bird, singer Dino calls to mind a young, wiry Hendrix, as he trades acid-drenched riffs with lead guitarist Benke.

There’s an obvious debt to their Brazilian heritage (primarily ‘Os Mutantes’) in the pot, but it’s a sprinkle, rather than an overriding influence. Tropicalia is but one of many condiments in their cosmic soup, and on an untypically balmy Sunday afternoon in Belgium, that did almost border on tropical, the crowd had no hesitation in abandoning the sunny terrace outside to venture in and drink from it.


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