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The Belle Brigade At The Echo, Tuesday February 25th 2014


Many bands play in the dark, but not the Belle Brigade, for the last Tuesday of their residency at the Echo, they played an explosive set under bright white and red lights, and this was an excellent plan for photographers!

I saw the brother and sister duo a few times at the Satellite a few years ago, just around the release of their 2011 self-titled debut album, and they had a bit disappeared since, but for a good reason… they are now about to drop the follow up, ‘Just Because’, and the album is set to be released in exactly one month (March 25th). I remember about Barbara Gruska being an exuberant ball of energy, but did I remember they were that loud? Because they were a real powerhouse on Tuesday night, and Barbara had definitively settled behind the drums where she, of course, excels. Sure I didn’t really have the same surprise I had the first time I heard their surprisingly old-fashioned (nothing wrong with that!) harmonies, their 70s-inspired melodies (think Fleetwood Mac) and their genuine dynamism on stage, but their show was truly rocking, there’s no other way to put it.

What strikes the most when you see the duo, is their great sense of harmonies. It is so perfectly synchronized, that they seem to be willing to convince you this synch vocals may only be accomplished in case of sibling complicity,… after all the Everly brothers were siblings too! Still, with her drum set in central front stage position, her pounding beats which start each song, it’s clear who is in charge! Barbara Gruska is still this Duracell bunny that nothing seems to be able to stop, especially with this haircut and funny facial expressions,

They obviously played a lot of new tunes, and it will take me a few more listenings to get familiar with them, but, if I didn’t get the melodies right away, the songs had these same loud and perfect-pitch harmonies, these occasional breezy singing dialogues between brother and sister. ‘Here is a new one’, said Ethan Gruska before singing ‘Miss You in my Life’, ‘I though it was about an ex-girlfriend, but it’s really about Michael Jackson’… Oh, was it because of the falsetto during the song? And there was plenty of humor during the show, and in particular a story about a bra that was thrown at Barbara’s face during last week’s show. Everyone seemed to know about it, meaning that everyone was already there last Tuesday! I could tell that it was a very loyal audience and the ambiance was even extremely familial and friendly. The highest level of energy occurred during the old songs such as ‘Where Not to Look for freedom’ and ‘Losers’, the crowd was dancing and jumping and the band didn’t even care to stop between the songs… After a very quiet and sweet lullaby, more energy from a new one and the crowd favorite, ‘Rusted Wheel’, nobody wanted to let them go, so they came back for an encore.

There is something very cute about these two, they look alike a bit and their complicity is contagious. I imagine them spending a lot of time together to compose their songs, and this is probably what happens. I literally heard people expressing their sadness that this residency was over, I guess they had attended each one of them,… ‘Hey we are from here, said Barbara, we will be back!’

Where Not to Look for freedom
Miss You in my Life
How I See it
Mr Goodness
Be like Him
Everything for a stone
When Everything Was The Way It Was
Rusted Wheel


Here are more pictures of the show


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