When you listen to music, you get influenced by a lot of other musicians, but I doubt anyone has as much influence as your local bands. Especially in Belgium, where everything is only a short train ride away, I’ve looked up to several bands.
I still listen to some of those musicians regularly. So which bands were huge for influencing my musical taste and style? Let’s go over a few. I’ve tried to order them from most influential to least, but it’s been challenging to choose.
Death Before Disco
Of all bands I grew up with, Death Before Disco is by far the one I still listen to the most. They were innovative and creative. They were explosive on stage. They were amazing musicians. They were everything I ever wanted to be as an artist. Especially the album
Especially the album Party Bullet was a game changer for me. The breakdown in “The Nations Divide” still gives me goosebumps.
The band Facedown had just called it a day, and shortly after that .calibre was shaped. I saw them for the first time at a festival in Torhout, where Pennywise, Sick Of It All and Slipknot were performing as well. But .calibre stood out more than any of those big names. A clean, slick style with an iron-solid live performance; what more do you need?
The Belgian band I’ve probably seen perform the most is Circle. I saw them so often that the guitar player at one point recognised me at Pukkelpop. 17-year-old me was super excited that one of my heroes knew my face.
East-Flandres based punk rock band A200 Club were big when I was in a band. We played with them at several shows and loved doing that. They always brought an amazing crowd, they had fun on stage, and they made amazing skate punk.
Technically, Now, Voyager was not a band I grew up with, I only discovered them later in life. However, their creativity and superb live performance earn them a mention in this list.
Panopticum was the example of musical genius that was the closest to us. Having gone to the same high school as some of its members, and receiving guitar lessons by Isaac (now guitarist in gothic metal band Epica) and Mattie, I looked up to them. They were amazing guitar players. Their progressive metal touched the edge of what I thought was even possible. They pushed the musical boundaries with their music, and they did that from our hometown.
I couldn’t find a single music clip of theirs online, and I no longer have their CD Reflection either.
Another punk rock band we all looked up to was Flatcat. What was not to look up to? They have toured in South America! Their fun vibes and music makes them a necessary addition to this list.