Beyond Horizons is a Belgian metal rock band composed of Maxime (vocals and guitar), Lionel (lead & rhythm guitar), Jonas (lead & rhythm guitar), Thomas (bass), and Guilherme (drums). They’ve been around for a bit more than a year now, and have evolved into a more hybrid kind of rock band, mixing pop and metal influences from each member of the band with their common interest in rock music. On Friday 16 September 2022, a year after the release of their debut EP A New Dawn, they performed live at Rock Classic.
On a cold and rainy end-of-summer night, two friends and I head to the Rock Classic, the old metal-head bar in the centre of Brussels, to see Beyond Horizons for the first time. After having interviewed them a few days before at their rehearsal for the show, I was excited to see whether they’d live up to my (and their own) expectations. I’d learned that their hopes were mainly to generate strong emotions in the audience and create a connection at their show, and I was curious to discover whether they would.
The show starts with the live performance of iconically-named rock band Moonage Hookers. The four Parisians have faces that look as if they came out of a 90s skate movie and offer a fresh look on stage with black painted nails, bouncing curly hair and funky vocals. I ask my friend who they remind him of and I immediately agree when he answers “Red Hot Chili Peppers” – it’s the same kind of West Coast shamelessness and guitar riffs as the Californian funk rock band. We even get submerged by an unexpected summer feeling when they start playing a ballad with cricket sounds in the background. The lead singer marks the end of the show ordering us never to forget that “Everything is allowed.” I vaguely recall my evenings coming to Rock Classic as a teenager and realize that you should always be open to surprises at this venue on a Friday evening. Moonage Hookers definitely delivered a unique and entertaining performance.
The crowd is now warmed up for the start of Beyond Horizons, who come on stage wearing the black overalls that are part of their new image. The contrast with the reddish-pink neon tubes reminds me of an American diner night scene. When Max starts singing “The Easy Exit” (A New Dawn EP, 2021), we’re immediately plunged into the band’s signature mood of metal rock with a tinge of sentimentality. The audience is so reactive and loyal – they instantly obey when Max asks them to sing along. After owning the stage with “Revolution” (A New Dawn EP, 2021 and obviously one of their favorite ones to play live), the lead singer amazes my friend and me with his skillful vocals in “Poisoned Tears” (A New Dawn EP, 2021). I suddenly know what Lionel, the lead guitarist, meant at the interview when he pointed to his bandmate’s rage and sensuality in this particular song.
With their new track “We Have To,” (which they’d like to release as a single next spring) the band shows their evolution to a more hybrid kind of rock. As Max had told me a few days before, he wished to include some fresh pop-influences to his new releases and it proves successful with the crowd. It feels as if we’re back in a 2000s teenage rock band’s music video with all these people smiling and jumping around in the audience. Talking about having fun, one of the most entertaining renditions was definitely “In My Name.” A few people take out their phones to document the band members’ cohesion on stage and I catch myself singing along out of the blue. As Max and Lio had so deeply hoped, the rock cover of “Wicked Game” (A New Dawn EP, 2021) is a big success. I spot my friend frowning when he realizes he knows the song but just can’t remember the title (always such a heartwarming token of one’s devotion to music). People just can’t resist dancing on the rhythmic crescendo of their rock version of Chris Isaak’s masterpiece. You can see drummer Guilherme’s eyes glistening with pride. Another hit is their new track “Little Sparkle”: the committed audience spontaneously take out their lighters and start swaying from left to right. Jonas plays the acoustic guitar here, it’s only a pity the sound check is not completely adapted because we have some difficulties discerning his individual contribution to this particular song. Again, Max conveys the deep and emotional message of the lyrics with his rich vocals. We truly get why he participated in The Voice Belgium – Max, you should have won!
By now, it has become sweltering hot in the Rock Classic, drops of sweat are forming on the stone walls of the basement-like venue. Max and Lio, like real devoted showmen, have removed the top part of their warm overalls. Max thanks us, saying “a concert is nothing without us,” orders us to “dance our asses off,” and I can see the crowd’s completely ready for it. Some rockers are already freeing their long hair from tight hair bands and start bouncing their heads to the metal vibes of the encore, a second rendition of the band’s (seemingly) favorite track, “Revolution.” Thomas, the bass player, delivers a great performance and the guitarists end with a blazing dual solo, while the audience, as if in a trance, jump into the whirlwind of the pogo.
Setlist: The Easy Exit, Revolution, Poisoned Tears, We Have To, In My Name, Wicked Game, A New Dawn, Little Sparkle, Bullet in the Storm, Dream Reality, Encore: Revolution.
The musicians can safely claim that they didn’t break their promise – we’ve experienced strong emotions and a connection with the performers. Can’t wait for them to be back!
Missed the show? No worries, you can see them here next:
27 Sept 2022 at 3D Games, Namur.
23 March 2023 at Porte Noire, Brussels.