Helder at JH Het Zwaantje on 17/04

On Saturday 17 April, I decided head over heels to go and see the band Helder at JH Het Zwaantje in my home town Sint-Martens-Latem. I had heard a lot about Helder lately, as they supported both Novastar and Flip Kowlier during the last few weeks and played in some of the more important concert halls such as the Vooruit, the Handelsbeurs and the Ancienne Belgique. So it was about time that I checked them out!

They were scheduled at 11 p.m., but when I arrived around that time, Chris Hageland was still on stage, a band that I check out every year at least once during the Gentse Feesten, especially when I feel like singing all-time classics at the top of my voice.

It was not until around midnight that Helder finally got on the stage. First, a number of technical problems had to be dealt with, for singing turned out to be a life-threatening experience. Apparently, there was something wrong with the microphone, resulting in electrical discharges! Fortunately, lead singer Helder found a typical Belgian solution: he simply hung his knitted cap over the microphone.

I find it most difficult to describe the type of music Helder plays. The band itself, describes their music as “stubborn, honest rootspop”, which seems like an apt description to me.

The word “roots” definitely refers to the many “traditional” instruments used. Lead singer and guitar player Helder also plays the mouth organ, dobro, banjo and mandolin. The keyboard player also plays the accordion. The bassist, who, for this occasion, had been replaced by Novastar’s bass player, also plays the contrabass. In other words, versatility abounds!

And then there’s of course the lead singer’s beautiful voice, which is certainly one of the assets of the band.

It was a pity that a part of the audience did not seem ready yet for this rather sophisticated music, since their attention left a lot to be desired. It really is music that requires attentive listening and I’m sure that the more you hear it, the more you’ll like it. One of the high points of the concert certainly was the band’s cover of Christina Aguillera. I must admit that I prefer Helder’s own songs, for I’m not really an R&B adept, but the audience definitely seemed to enjoy this cover. Two enthusiastic girls danced their hearts out and decided to brighten up the concert a bit, by dancing on stage next to the drummer during the next song. I’m pretty sure the drummer could use a beer afterwards! Unfortunately, the concert was coming to an end before we knew it. The last song featured Helder solo on the mandolin.

When the enthusiastic part of the audience called them back, the band returned on stage to play another R&B cover. This time it was TLC’s ‘No scrubs’, or so I was told, for R&B really is a big black hole to me. Anyway, again it was very much appreciated by the audience.

After the performance, host Toki came on stage and apparently he had promised a few people to sing something himself. When he started, Helder jumped back on stage and started drumming, so poor Toki had to keep on singing and before he knew it he was jamming with the whole band! A very nice surprise that was!

Not one, but two new stars are born. The first one definitely as bright as their name suggests, the second one only needing a little bit of polishing… 

Helder’s official website: http://www.heldersite.com

Other projects featuring Helder’s band members:




20:22 Gepost door Aisling | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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