16 September 2019


Ghent is a display city of Belgium, aged and impressive, a student and tourist centre. I am yet to explore it to any degree but I’ve sat in squares on warm afternoons and perused stone architecture and considered the changes in rooflines with fashion and even passed by a genuine mediaeval castle in the middle of town with turrets on towers and a central keep. I’d have seen more and sat less if I hadn’t twisted an ankle on the steps of the first church I passed by on day 1 but I managed nearby Bar Lume to hear Renaud Gilbert playing solo violin with effects. Bar Lume is associated with the Hot Club Gent which seems to be the major jazz club in town. Renaud was just as I expected and I enjoyed him lots. Well presented and well trained. His confident bowing and pizz and sequenced arpeggiations and sharp intonation displayed his classical training, although his technique could be non-standard, like tapping strings with the violin on his lap. There were vocals and some exquisite harmonies and minimalist repetition and echoed high notes and of course various resets on various effects at his feet. I thought echo was central to his sound and I guess looping and reverb and an envelope generator. He was busy and sometimes jagged and playing to a small group including mates so this may be a new act, but I liked the outcome of minimalism and noise and capable chops. Nice one and well enjoyed.

Renaud Gilbert (violin, effects) performed at Bar Lume in Ghent.

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