Vreny Van Elslande Kicks Ass In Belgium
Roxy Café, Ypres, Belgium, December 30, 2004
By John "Bobo" Bollenberg
Café De Platse in Rollegem, Belgium, January 6, 2005
He was seventeen when he decided he wouldn’t become a surgeon after all but settled to become a world famous guitar player instead! Needless to say his parents were as shocked as you are reading this. After years of music lessons in Belgium, Vreny Van Elslande hopped on a plane in the direction of the Berklee College of Music. There he graduated with the best results possible and flew to LA to begin yet another chapter of his life. Vreny has been in LA for two years now teaching guitar, composing stuff for his upcoming first solo album, writing and arranging music for others and even being an extra during the shooting for Zakk Wylde’s "Suicide Messiah." Every year Vreny comes home to celebrate Christmas and New Year with his parents and sister. Whilst he's over on native soil Vreny often plays one or two small concerts just for family and friends. This time it was no different. So on December 30th last year Vreny and friends performed in Ypres, Belgium at the Roxy Café. Exactly one week later on January 6th, a slightly bigger crowd showed up at "Café De Platse" in Rollegem, Belgium. In Ypres "White Christmas" was played as a jazzy solo guitar arrangement, a song which was omitted from the setlist a week later. In return, the Rollegem takes were much longer especially where his own compositions were concerned.
During the first half of both concerts Vreny Van Elslande performed some songs illustrating his technical skills, whether tapping or slapping, shredding or picking. During the second part of his show he turned towards his own compositions, five songs which will feature on his still to be recorded debut album, which should be released later this year. As if this wasn't enough, Vreny threw in a stunning rendition of Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" as a thank you for his fans. Although the spotlight most certainly was on Vreny Van Elslande and his incredible guitar skills, we should not forget his three friends backing him. We had the tight rhythm section consisting of Mattie Archie on bass and Arne Lagatie on drums expanded with Dieter Cailliau (Karma Depth and Panopticum) on Kurzweil keyboards. With only four days of rehearsals, for sure what we heard sounded very professional and no doubt a great future is installed for Vreny. I was more than happy to be present with a handful of family and friends and whenever Vreny is in your neighbourhood make sure you check it out (see www.vreny.com where some tasty sound samples should be made available any day now).
Dieter, Vreny, Arne and Mattie (l to r)
[More pics in The Gallery -ed.]