Concert review: Joe Henry in Ghent (6/10/2014)

Concert Manic’s most famous Belgian correspondent, Bjorn Weynants, is back with another excellent guest post! Many of my music-loving European friends have been catching shows on Joe Henry’s current tour, and their reports are making me really look forward to seeing his concert here in Boston in a few weeks. Have a listen to one of the songs from his brand-new album, Invisible Hour, while you read. – Sarah V.


Joe Henry is the not the kind of artist who tours regularly. The fact that he planned a massive European tour (at least massive to Joe Henry’s norms: only 12 dates, from Sevilla in the south of Spain to Bergen in Norway) with a stop in Ghent, Belgium is big news for his fans. His last Belgian concert was in 2007 (in the same venue as tonight’s show), as his Brussels gig two years ago was suddenly cancelled for undisclosed reasons.

The Handelsbeurs is a beautifully converted 19th century Trade Hall building in the centre of Ghent, which has been used for concerts for the past 10 years or so. (They have a rather Concertmanic-friendly programming as e.g. Ceramic Dog played here last April.) For this concert chairs were put around tables, giving the concert hall the feel of some kind of smoke-filled New York jazz club in the fifties. An ideal setting for a Joe Henry concert.

Joe Henry just released his 13th solo album, the excellent Invisible Hour. Just like his previous albums, it’s one that only discloses its full beauty after repeated listens. Add to that way-better-than-average lyrics and the result is that this is an album which will score very high on end-of-year lists (or at least it will on mine). Unfortunately, this is the kind of music that you won’t hear on the radio, as his music sits somewhere in the no-man’s land between folk, blues and jazz. And that’s a place not a lot of people (let alone your average radio DJ) venture into. While he is one of the great singer-songwriters of the last twenty years (and a great producer as well), the best known fact about him is that he’s the brother-in-law of (more…)

She’s not dead, she’s… pining for the fjords?

(Pardon the Monty Python reference, I couldn’t help myself.)

I just wanted to write a quick post saying that, yes, I know I haven’t written anything in ages, and no, I haven’t abandoned the blog. In April I got hit with a perfect storm of simultaneous health issues, job crises, and housing/home problems, among other things. That stuff is all calming down now, but the result is that I’m moving out of state, so now I am absorbed in all of the packing, apartment hunting, travel and so forth involved with the move. I had to give up trying to blog for a while – I just haven’t had the time or energy, and I didn’t want the blog to turn into some kind of unpleasant obligation that I would start to hate doing.

The good news is that the out-of-state move is going to end up with me living in the live music capital of the world, New York City! I’m really excited about it. I hope my blog readers will be patient enough to wait for me to settle down and start writing more regularly. In the meantime I’m trying to figure out which neighborhood is the perfect balance between a short commute to my new office and a short commute to the Stone…