Live: The Lost Tapes/ Reservoir, Le Garage, Liège, Belgium

Local duo ‘Reservoir’ open tonight’s show with a lush guitar-driven set, oozing post-punk Manchester. With left-handed bass and right-handed guitar they even evoke that visual Beatles symmetry, and throwing in a cover of New Order’s ‘Ceremony’ is a smart move and beautifully executed. No-one else is mining that rich seam of indie bliss in these parts as far as I know so they could be the ones to watch.
It’s alright to admit it now isn’t it? We got it wrong. Use paper bags, glass bottles. Otherwise It’ll only lead to global pollution. Let’s do it like we used to before we fucked things up. If only the same applied to music in the era of autotune, overpriced stadiums and transparent vacuous tat. There once was a better way. It took place in scuzzy little rooms painted black and everyone was dressed in the same sombre hue, band and audience alike.
Four musicians, bass, guitar, drums and vocals.No laptops, just a scattershot driving beat, thrumming solid bass, spiky guitar, part Banshees part Joy Division, and a singer who’s a hybrid of Mark E Smith and Julian Cope.
Am I basking in nostalgia here? No, I certainly ain’t because I’m stood in The Garage and that’s what is transpiring before my eyes. I’m not saying let’s reinvent the wheel – what is your problem with the wheel while we’re on the subject? It works fine, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’m talking about that thing that live music is/has/and will deliver since Robert Johnson signed some shit with the devil at the crossroads before you were born. And I’m also talking about ‘The Lost Tapes’.
The Garage is thin on video screens, but it provides a close-up visceral bombardment of music, in-your-face (you can hear the twang of strings, almost taste the metallic resonance of them), the amps are just behind them, battered and time-served.
It’s an old formula and it’s the best formula, that not all bands can deliver in these days of add-ons and paraphernalia, unless you happen to drop on it in a sleazy little joint with a band like The Lost Tapes.
From Germany, which in Belgium is just thirty minutes up the road, they deliver a sound I thought died in ’79, all Dead Kennedys beats, abrasive guitars and acerbic vocals. Their first album is on sale but there’s just one copy left, so the guitarist has copied it to cassette for those unlucky enough not to snag it. Much dry German humour ensues about lost tapes. Followed by some blistering Rock ‘n Roll, a dirty but reliable machine spitting out post-punk gritty ditties, and you may just need to wash your special going-out shirt afterwards because of the oil and fumes.
It is still apparently possible to go to a gig with some venom, attitude and musicality. Now isn’t that a lesson we should all learn from the past?


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