Brussels concert life - part 1

Brussels concert life - part 1

A life without music? Unthinkable, at least for most of us. Thankfully, in Brussels the music never stops.  You can attend a whole range of concerts every day in the most diverse of genres.

Go to agenda.brussels for a detailed concert calendar. After all, you want to know who will be appearing on stage next, don’t you? But before you check it out, have a look at the go-to hotspots we’ve selected for an unforgettable concert evening. Music, maestro!

 

 

  • BRASS (c) Fabonthemoon

    For music lovers in general

    The words 'concert hall' and 'Brussels' immediately bring to mind Ancienne Belgique, known as AB for short. This legendary temple of music in the heart of Brussels is a major player on the international scene. For years it has also been the go-to venue for occasional and seasoned concertgoers alike. AB is known far and wide for its excellent acoustics, service provision and programming. No musical trend goes unnoticed here.


    Ancienne Belgique

    Botanique is also an integral part of the Belgian concert scene. In 1984 this cultural centre took up residence in the former greenhouses of the beautiful Botanical Gardens. With an average of three hundred concerts and ten exhibitions a year, there is always something going on. And here too the programme features lots of up-and-coming talents who will soon be hitting up the festival scene. Les Nuits is always a hit. This annual music festival perfectly captures what Botanique stands for.


    Botanique

    Cirque Royal and La Madeleine are event venues that also regularly welcome musical guests. They are within walking distance of Brussels’ Central Station, near the Royal district. In addition to circus and stand-up comedy, the programme also features big names of French pop and rap, international singer-songwriters and other celebrities.

    Concert halls may burst at the seams when successful bands suddenly become larger than life. Fortunately, Brussels has some massive venues that are perfectly equipped to handle mega-productions. The best examples? Forest National in Forest and Palais 12 on the Heysel Plateau. You’ll have to share the floor with thousands of other music fans, but hey, the more, the merrier, right?


    Paleis 12

    For those in search for something else

    Are you into smaller concert venues with a strong identity? Love incubators that are up for challenge and happily experiment? The concert halls listed here are averse to any interference and offer a platform to innovative music artists who often appeal to a niche audience. They are all intimate venues where the synergy between musicians and the audience takes centre stage.

    Ready for a unique experience? Here we go!

    Check out the programme of Les Ateliers Claus. This arts centre in Saint-Gilles is the place to be for performances by experimental and daring bands with a quirky touch.


    Les Ateliers Claus

    Another must is Beursschouwburg, a multidisciplinary arts centre located in the historical heart of Brussels. Its programming steers away from monocultures, instead advocating diversity and cross-pollination. This also applies to Atelier 210 in Etterbeek, a cultural centre that gives a voice to those that have a story to tell but cannot find a suitable platform to share it. Le BRASS cultural centre in Forest, is another such example. Located in the heart of the former Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery, BRASS organises, among other things, concerts and themed festivals throughout the year. Imbued with Brussels' signature diversity, BRASS supports the emerging artistic and cultural vitality of the city.

    VK Concerts has been a reference for alternative music fans for more than 25 years: it’s a temple of underground music. The concert hall is currently being renovated, but you can still enjoy concerts on the move.

    Magasin 4 has been a Mecca for fans of hardcore, metal, ska, experimental and crossover music since 1994. They will soon have to leave their current home, but no need to worry, the City of Brussels knows their importance in the capital and has decided to give them a brand-new venue.


    Werkplaats Walter

     

     

    Volta is quite a recent addition to the alternative music scene. They operate out of the buildings of the Studio CityGate temporary project in Anderlecht. It's a place where resident musicians can experiment to the full and get a stage to share their creative endeavours with the public. Werkplaats Walter is another fairly new hotspot for subculture-loving Brussels. Artists get access to rehearsal spaces and studios enabling them to give free rein to their creativity, which often results in performances that linger long in the memory.

    We could go on and on, but in order to avoid a bout of FOMO, we'll conclude with some words of praise for Recyclart, LaVallée and other creative occupations that also treat the audience to unforgettable performances.


    Volta (c) Elena Majecki

    For hip-hop lovers

    If there's a scene that's been making quite a splash in recent years, it's definitely Brussels hip-hop.  Rappers like Damso, Roméo Elvis, Caballero & JeanJass, Hamza, L’Or du Commun and Zwangere Guy are the stars of the local hip-hop scene. They give it their all in concert halls and at festivals far beyond our borders. Yet it's not easy to pin down the hip-hop hotspots of Brussels. Unless you're into nightlife, that is, because clubs like Bloody Louis, Mirano and Birdy Brussels are the new go-to places for hip-hop fans. They know exactly how to throw a party.



    Bloody Louis (c) Nachtschaduw

    For bar and pub lovers

    Cramming all of Brussels' music venues into a single article is impossible. The list of bars and pubs that programme live music is endless. Madame Moustache, Bonnefooi, Café Central, Café Beguin, KFK Hope and Rock Classic are just a few of the venues to discover. Musicians from all walks of life meet weekly at jam sessions in pubs such as The Crazy Circle, Café Bizon, Delirium, Lava and Chat-Pitre. Did you know that Brussels even has a semi-annual festival of pub concerts? Stoemp is the ideal occasion to discover young musical talents in Brussels’ bubbling underbelly.


    Madame Moustache (c) Alexis Machet

    Read also: Brussels concert life - part 2