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Culture Beat - July 18
Sunshine! Proper summer temperatures! And, in case you still haven't heard, we’re having a new King & Queen. This Saturday’s Bal National on the flea market - Brussels’ equivalent of a good ole cockney knees-up – will be the last one under the reign of King Albert II, and chances are that many a glass will be raised to the outgoing monarch (and to Philippe too, of course). The Marolles are a notoriously patriotic part of town, and National Day is sacrosanct. On the bill, a 100% Belgian programme, including Johan Verminnen, Lio and The Planes, who promise guest turns from Sandra Kim and Plastic Bertrand. You may want to spend National Day in the park although, what with Philippe’s swearing-in ceremony, the area might be a tad crowded. It’ll much safer to eat mussels and chips (what else?) at the Resto National, still although seafood and heatwave do not always go hand in hand.
If dancing in the open air isn’t your thing, maybe dancing on boat is more your cup tea? Pseudo-sleazy downtown venue Madame Moustache has just the thing for you, in the shape of La Croisière s'amuse, a Love Boat-themed night, complete with retro-kitsch music (we are promised “30 years of dancefloor hits”), as well as – oh yes – a dress code inspired by the seventies sitcom, requesting, or at least suggesting, that you wear white & navy attire, complete with epaulettes. Will you be invited to the captain’s table, though?
The talented, refined and weathy Sir Robert Wiltern really is the Ideal Husband... until his less distinguished past threatens to catch up with him, that is. This superbly observed Oscar Wilde will be performed in some of Wallonia's most stunning stately homes throughout all summer, as part of the Compagnie des Galleries' delightful Tournée des Châteaux. July 18 & 19 at the Cercle de Wallonie in Namur, July 20 at the Château de Corroy, July 24 at the Château du pont d'Oye in Habay-la-Neuve.
This weekend’s three-day Blues Peer festival is fast becoming one of Europe’s blues gatherings although not all of the acts would necessarily qualify as ‘blues’, Sunday’s headliners Status Quo being a case in point. On Saturday, Hugh Laurie (pictured), known these days as Dr Gregory House (although he was always more entertaining as Bertie Wooster or Tony Murchison), is back in Belgium with his piano, backed by a five-piece and band and two female vocalists. If you’re around on Sunday morning, though, do not miss the excellent Doghouse Sam & his Magnatones. They’re on early (12 noon) but they are worth it.
Meanwhile, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters brings his touring circus impressive production of The Wall Live to Werchter. The Wall has been performed live 192 times. More than 3.3 million concertgoers worldwide, encompassing several generations no doubt, have enjoyed the stage version of the Floyd’s 1979 concept album. The Wall Live tour is one of the most successful tours in rock history. This Belgian date is the first of this year’s European tour. But you already knews this; you don't need no (music) education.