The Bevis Frond @Het Depot, Leuven BE – 17 April 2024

Belgium’s live music landscape just got richer last Wednesday with the long overdue presence of The Bevis Frond in Het Depot, Leuven. Embarking upon their first European tour since 2016, Nick Saloman and the band (comprising of longtime comrades Dave Pearce on drums, Paul Simmons on guitar and the recent, and excellent addition, of Louis Wigett on bass) treated the audience to two hours of excellent music. With a setlist going back and forth in time across the extensive Frond back catalogue, the band were also able to promote songs from their new album ‘Focus on Nature’ recently released in March. These new songs perhaps reveal the subtle change in style that has evolved with the current lineup of the band, playing to their strengths of keeping a heavy, solid groove and exploiting the twin guitar heroics of Nick and Paul’s obvious musical telepathy. But the new tracks fitted like a glove alongside the rest of the set and complemented the welcome inclusion of ‘classic’ Frond tracks such as Maybe, Hole Song No.2 and the ever awesome Superseded, the latter incorporating an epic psychedelicized jam that was a personal highlight of the evening.

For those perhaps unfamiliar with The Bevis Frond, Nick Saloman has always had an ability to write songs that go beyond the psychedelic conventions normally associated with this type of band, diving into whichever genre befits his musical genius and eloquent lyrical stylings of the given moment. The inclusion of the two (self-professed) “hits” in the set, Lights Are Changing and He’d be a Diamond showcase the depth of song-writing Saloman possesses alongside the killer riffs and magical guitar soloing that fills the rest of the back catalogue of songs the audience were treated to.  There is also a story behind each song and personal experiences to narrate, which occasionally Nick Saloman takes the time to tell to the audience, adding to the enjoyment of the evening, but never too much as to steal time away from the music itself. The reaction and reception to each song was testament to the mutual appreciation between band and audience, Nick himself appearing to be humbled by the success of the evening, and the way that the band launched into a blistering rendition of I’ve Got Eyes in the Back of My Head as the final song of the night was sonic proof of this.

Another important moment of the evening was Saloman’s promise to be back, dispelling those sad and disconcerting rumours (from where I don’t know) of this being a farewell tour. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait as long as before, although it would be worth it; it’s never to late to discover The Bevis Frond and never enough to keep listening to them.

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Author: ywannish