What’s on: Bone music disc cut live with Dez Mona


Relive Soviet black market history when Flemish band Dez Mona joins specialists to make a ‘bone music’ record with an X-ray. Colourful wall murals in Leuven and a Brooklyn garage band in Antwerp also top our picks of the week

X-Ray Audio

Have you ever heard of “bone music”? It was a big part of the Soviet black market in the 1950s and ’60s when foreign recordings were largely banned, especially all that debauched jazz and rock’n’roll.

The music was created on discs carved from X-rays by skilful Soviet rebel hands. Also known as ‘ribs’, the records could only be played a few times, but it was worth the rouble to hear The Beatles or Billie Holiday. Learn all about it at X-Ray Audio, where a real bone music disc will be cut live with Belgian band Dez Mona. (In English) 22 January 18.00-20.00, House of European History, Belliardstraat 135

Nel Aerts: The Waddle Show

A coconut shell atop a soup ladle atop a plastic cup… Flemish artist Nel Aerts’ marching band of totem poles are precarious and fragile, delivering the message that it’s worth doing, even if it’s risky and could fall to pieces. She has also decorated the walls of Leuven’s M Museum with her trademark brand of colourful, quirky figures, which she uses to unmask her own feelings. This exhibition is a joy to discover for both children and adults. Until 15 March, M Museum, Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, Leuven

The Mystery Lights

Garage rock until you drop with The Mystery Lights, a band that travelled all the way from California to Brooklyn, picking up an awful lot of eclectic influences along the way. Often compared to groups like The Normal and Suicide, The Mystery Lights mix an energetic psychedelia with the pop sensibilities of The Kinks. Plenty of bouncy, trouncy fun to be had here, and tickets are still available. 24 January 20.00, De Roma, Turnhoutsebaan 286, Antwerp

Get tickets now: Bal Rat Mort

It’s the 122nd edition of Ostend’s annual costume bash. With live music and other performances all night long, Bal Rat Mort is one of Flanders’ most jovial parties. The theme this year is Ensor, so make sure to don a mask. The surrealist was, by the way, one of the founders of this ball, way back in 1898. If you want some period make-up or hairstyling, head to the Bal’s Beauty Boudoir, which is free of charge to ball-goers. 7 March from 20.00, Kursaal Oostende, Kursaal-Westhelling 12

Photos: Nel Aerts’ “De boeteprocessie van N Dobbermans” (cropped), 2011-2019, courtesy the artist and Carl Freedman Gallery; The Mystery Lights courtesy De Roma; Bal Rat Mort courtesy Kursaal Oostende