ARF 2011 CHRONICLES – MY LIFETIME FESTIVAL

Hey guys! It’s been too long time since I last wrote the previous post, but you know, with the festival and a few days taking a break at my parents, haven’t been able to find a proper moment to write something readable and worth of your interest.

Hope you’re all fine and are not melting with this heat wave. I love summertime, but this has been too much. When on Sunday I read 44C in Zaragoza I shitted on my pants.

Anyway, in barely a week many cool things have happened, and I’ve attended and witnessed amazing shows at the Azkena Rock Festival 10th anniversary edition. To be honest’, I’m still in a cloud, yes, wasted too, but in a state of bliss I’ve never felt before after coming back from a festival.

Gotta admit regarding bands I took it easier than other years, I knew what I wanted to see, and didn’t feel like being under stress to swallow as many bands as possible. Not this year, I could do whatever I wanted to, without being conditioned by a partner. This has been my personal favorite Azkena, a festival of music and truly friendship, and I can’t feel happier.

As this is not a musical blog, and I’ve told you many times I’m not an encyclopedia but just a music lover, I’m not analyzing the festival in a diary split, but will recall the most outstanding moments for me, in my personal style. You can visit other serious sites in case you want a detailed summary of what occurred in Vitoria, this is my portrait.

Due to working schedules of some people, we couldn’t arrange to rent a van among 7-8 people, thus, in order some people could enjoy Thursday properly, my sweet sista Agnès offered her car t o give us a ride to Vitoria. Apart from her and myself as her copilot, Joaquin and Jordi completed the crew.

Estimated time of departure was set at 9,30 AM but we had a sour surprise. The car has been pulled to a car deposit due to be parked in a loading/unloading area…Agnès had this lapse in her mind and thought Thursday was Saturday, you know, these things happened.

Fortunately it didn’t take too long to pay the fine and get the hell out there, plus the deposit was in the best place to be, heading towards the highway.

Timing was perfect and reached Vitoria at 16h. Once there, Claudia, christened the princess of punk after the festival, joined thus, and we proceeded to check-in the hotel and get ready for the first evening, having a quick late brunch consisting on omelet, pintxos, beer and carajillos of Bailey’s with ice (yum yum!).

As we were to see the Madman, Ozzy Osbourne, I chose a t-shirt of Black Sabbath as the perfect outfit for the night, and checking the weather forecast and as per previous festivals, nights in Vitoria are as tough as in Siberia, so I took my backpack and filled it with hoodies, pullovers and scarves. You can laugh but we used all the stuff that night.

We didn’t have to queue much because I met some acquaintances from Zaragoza, Salva and Vampiro (Vampire!), and they let us join them to get it, so, we saved minimum half an hour. We got the wristband and we got it, oh yeah! That’s one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had, you’re IN, and from this point whatever is to come it’s gonna be fun and awesome.

Positive I’ve already told you about my blood brother, my soul brother, my toxic twin, Gonzalo, I couldn’t wait to see him the days before, so first thing I did was to give him a call and join him and the Mañoland crew. From this moment, we didn’t split much, I’ve regretted many times not having enjoyed a festival with Pamp at its fullest, and this time was the opportunity to get rid of such feeling and recover such missing time.

A cigarette, a couple of katxis of beer, everyone ready to see The Cult, we approached the stage, named Solomon Burke, by the way. The show was odd, Ian Astbury was higher than anyone at the fest, with a terrible look, reminding of Falete, fatter than usual, with long but messy hair, and those horrible MC Hammer like trousers. He kept on joking for himself and everybody was in shock wondering why the fuck he was constantly saying Bon Jovi in the middle of the songs, Mr. Piso and other freak stuff. He seemed not to care much for the show, his voice started poor but got warming up, but I’m still not sure if he wasn’t capable of rising the tone or  just didn’t feel like. I had seen The Cult in NYC in 2008 last time, and he didn’t have any problem with his voice but, who knows… The truth is that, despite the singer’s attitude of abandon, the band sounded incredible, Duffy led the whole situation with balls, and in the end, I enjoyed their show.

What can I tell about Rob Zombie? That’s not my war at all. My friend Jordi was really excited for seeing all the stage performance and scenery, apparently American show is very visual and extreme, but I couldn’t care less, I only enjoyed White Zombie’s 3 songs, because they belong to my teenage years, but apart from that, the only Mr Zombie I’m interested in has to do with his filmmaking.

Ozzy’s wasnt’t his best show, very criticized afterwards, but, in 2011, what do you expect? For me was the coolest live karaoke session, I could sing many songs with my friends out loud, drink beer, and have fun…it’s a waste of time to be analyzing about his quality of voice, his physical state and rest of stuff… Ozzy’s never been a sportsman, his claps have been ridiculous and awkward all his life, and c’mon! Think of your state when (if) you reach the 60’s… I’ll be fucked up for sure, and all things considered, he’s quite fine.

The moment many people were waiting for arrived, it was time for  Kyuss Lives! Time for nostalgia, a gig for fans. Everyone was drunk and happy, I managed to join two of the biggest Kyuss fans I know, Gonzalo, and my London mate from Sevilla, Alvaro. Basically we were singing, or better said, yelling, in absolute excitement. Truth is that I wasn’t even looking at the stage, I didn’t need to. Imagine, all the hit we wanted to listen so badly, one after another. Gotta admit I used to be a diehard fan of Kyuss, but few years ago I sorta quitted, some of their fans are too boring and annoying for me, and this sometimes happens, you end up fed up with a band just because of their fans. But you know, listening to Gardenia, Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop, Green Machine or One Inch Man, made me forget about that crap. Sure Josh Homme was the pillar stone missing, but the guitar player accomplished his mission. It was a great gig.

Once the shows finished these  3 rascals (Mariano, what a man!) wanted some more action and spent some time drinking and nosing what was going on at the Ben Keith Stage marquee. Useless fun at terrible low temperature, we had a good laugh though.

Friday started with one of my favorite shows at the town main square, with an Elvis impersonator named Rob Kingsley. Show started so on time as soon as I heard Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I ran as if my life was at stake to settle at the first rows. I couldn’t miss anything at all. Elvis-Kingsley offered an outstanding performance for more than one hour and a half, giving silk scarves full of sweat to girls, smiling and cheering up people all the time. I had my time. I requested Never Been to Spain, obviously wasn’t included in the set list, but the guy sang the first part just for me…that was AWESOME! Claudia and I dropped few tears with an American Trilogy…I was thinking of how ridiculous of that scene, what would happen if we were standing in front of our beloved Elvis? Guess we’d turn nuts.

Oh man! Lunch time at La Riojana was too much fun, the mañoland crew, together with Barcelona and Madrid elements, joined strength with the Locomia-Ibiza guys, Sandro and Gabi. Beers were coming and going, we had to wait for our sandwiches for almost two hours, but we didn’t care at all. We went back to the hotel for getting ready for the evening super late unable to see Blue Rodeo (in my defense, I had seen  them already in October last year).

Cheap Trick was a fine show, however, in my opinion, of course, many hits were missing, they were in perfect shape, seemed in high spirits and fans were very happy, but, although again, I’d enjoy more with more hits. Pity!

Directly, I completely ignored Bad Brains and Primus…not my cup of tea. I heard some stuff of Dirty York, and they sounded pretty fine, but dear friends, I only wanted to see QOTSA.

And they didn’t disappoint me at all. QOTSA had announced their European tour would be based on their re-issued debut album, but lately I had read Homme was sick of playing same set list every night. They forgot about this story and offered a show covering all the albums, in fact they only played Mexicola from the first. Those Songs For the Deaf themes were, OMFG! Explosive, powerful… put any adjective which means amazing or awesome and you got it. And I found the perfect mate to enjoy the show, a friend of Gonzalo’s named Chema (I love you, by the way), who is as diehard fan of the band as I am. He was the air guitarist, I pretended to be Randy Castillo (my God, what a machine!), both completely insane, shouting as if it was the last show in our lives. At this point, my voice took vacation.

Casino Flamingo became our second house at the festival area, and after the shows there were DJ’s till advanced morning. Most of the gang left, but the cake couple, Agnès and Kiko, were in party mood so we stayed there dancing till sun started shining too much. I met lots of people there, our state was not ideal for our parents’ pride, but we danced and danced…until I couldn’t stand tight. Slept completely dressed that morning…no comments. Big time though.

Saturday is a classic, we always make a reservation for eating huevos rotos (scrambled eggs with potato, usually accompanied by Spanish different kinds of sausage, I didn’t fail to my commitment as veggie, I must say, I resisted the temptation, good girl!) and other delicatessen at Taberna Clasica. I’ll tell you about this place very soon, it’s a blast! Topics of conversation are usually really freak, and this time we ended talking about bullfighting (!!!).

Although we had a relaxing time, I wanted to see The Avett Brothers. Not everyone was up to it, so I went to the festival with very few people, determined to see the guys from North Carolina. I was lucky to convince the others to move fast because the gig started earlier than scheduled, but we didn’t miss any song. I’d love them to play more Emotionalism songs, yet it was one of the top 3 shows I’ve seen this year. Full of passion and sensibility, the band transmits a huge stream of emotion and audience were very receptive and charmed. Lyrics have so much meaning, everyone was praising many verses. I and Love and You really made me cry of happiness…The Avett Brothers stole my heart and I only hope they come back soon.

Sure many people will disagree with me, but Band of Horses, despite their performance was perfect, do not transmit such feelings to me. Everything is nostalgic and beautiful, even bucolic, but they are too cold. I came to this conclusion in February, and it was confirmed last Saturday, great musicians, great performance, zero emotion.

After this show, everything to come was fine for me, but didn’t need much more to be happy, thus I spent most time with my friends, relaxed, chatting on the grass. Allman is not my style either, and we saw him quite close to the stage, but we were more focused on our stuff. Sure Setzer was great, we even danced, but you know, these friendship moments arose at that time, so basically we were declaring our love for each other during that time. The festival was over for me…

This year the festival has meant few great bands I love, some others which deserve credit, and others I directly took a pass preferring to enjoy my friends.

These 3 days in Vitoria have meant much for me, apart from my party animal mood, I’ve enjoyed everything completely different, I was tired of a festival meaning a marathon for me. I adore socializing, being surrounded by friends who have taken care of me, have fun, analyze shows not as a critic but as a devoted to music person, with people who are real, humble and human.

Just want to thank everyone who’s been sharing these amazing moments with me, it’s meant a lot, and I can only say that next year I hope we are the same, and we can repeat this glorious experience I will never forget.

THREE WORDS THAT BECAME HARD TO SAY: I and LOVE and YOU

4 responses to “ARF 2011 CHRONICLES – MY LIFETIME FESTIVAL

  1. Long Live José Tomás!!!

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