Category Archives: Events

Black Friday

I always make jokes about having a boyfriend from the States so I could join the traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, even though I don’t eat turkey. Yep, everybody remarks the fact that I’m vegetarian as if the American veggies wouldn’t not fit to traditions because of their choice. Anyway, it’s been another year and I haven’t yet found my man from Wichita. Ha! 😀

Today it’s Friday. As good or bad as any Friday. But in America it’s Black Friday. The starting pistol to Xmas season shopping, marked by a fixed festivity on the fourth week on November. Apparently the term was born in Philly due to a massive traffic mess occurred one Friday, but actually this black means the point in the year when business start getting profit in sales.

Nowadays this day, extended till the end of the week, is marked by massive discounts “intended” to help family economies to face Xmas shopping, although at the end of the day, anyone with a bit of common sense knows that’s a lie, because discount makes people to consume more. And you are aware of it.

black friday

I’m not here to judge this tradition in the States, it’s not my war. For some time I used to think it was right to have sales before Xmas, rather than after, but things changed in my mind when I realized how stupid can be sometimes to spend so much money in Xmas presents. And Black Friday has finally reached Spain just like anything else, and it’s kind of ridiculous.

I buy. I have no problem in admitting it. I BUY A LOT OF SHIT. But I hate to be imposed when  and how to buy, because that means everything is accurately calculated to suck us dry. Plus I hate going shopping to suffer due to so many queues and so many people around it’s impossible to get focused on what you want. Definitely, I am not cattle.

Now, in order to attact those who hate going shopping, an eDay has been created to get discounts on the net. The tentacles of big companies go beyond anything and they’ll get lots of money for sure.

I got paid today. I thought of buying a couple of albums of a band I’m starting to like a lot at a very reasonable price, out of this Black Friday thing. But, I feel bad following the masses and decided I’d get them tomorrow. I’m not supporting any cause but just standing up for my principles, and at least I feel good about it.

You know what I bought today? Beer. And there was no discount  for that. WTF?

And today, there’s a song that’s been repeating in my head, and now I fully understand its message.

Merchandise keeps us in line
Common sense says it’s by design
What could a businessman ever want more
than to have us sucking in his store
We owe you nothing
You have no control
You are not what you own

I’d like to know the opinion of those who criticize Halloween so much about this.

My first Roller Coaster

September 2014 is being weird. Trying to get back to my routines, fortunately gigs are back and at this point heat is weakening and days are getting shorter. However my office is a mess, and we haven’t yet overcome the fucking summer peak season, so I’m doing lots of overtime and I’m working frenetically, so I feel tired and frustrated quite often lately, and it’s hard to keep this thing updated, which annoys me even more. Really, can’t wait to see the day everything goes back to normality, at least temporarily.

Few weeks ago I said I felt like going to an amusement park to spend any random day. I was thinking of the typical shabby local park in my hometown, or perhaps Tibidabo in Barcelona. You know, beers, carousels, boats, candy floss, the labyrinth and the fun house… as if I was 10 years old again. In my mind it was a very simple plan. I only needed the right company.

Partners in crime

Partners in crime

There are some times I think people don’t pay me attention, but when my friend Jack reminded me of this wish I expressed out loud, I realized how wrong I was. He told me he wanted to visit this huge amusement theme park in Salou, Port Aventura, the most popular in Spain after almost 20 years since its opening, and one of the most established in Europe. I was so surprised I confessed him that I had never had a ride on a rollercoaster, and that I felt like trying at least once in my life, but of course I was thinking of some humble and harmless ride. It didn’t him much to convince me to go to this hue park with him, and he even set the day, September 24th, as our target. Being local holiday in Barcelona on the second half of September would grant less visitors and nice and warm weather. Everything sounded perfect, so we went ahead.

The last week before the event was a bit distressing due to tons of work and a very changeable weather, which might ruin our plan. We couldn’t decide whether going or not until 12 hours before catching the train. Everything done at the very last minute.

We got really lucky. It was a magnificent day in all senses, too damn perfect.

It’s hard to choose the first attraction to start with, especially when I was a virgin on the subject. Many people was stuck in the first tough one, and there was a 90min queue, so we decided to move forward, and start in the typical water ride which gets you  completely soaked (thank Universe for not wearing a white tee!), especially when you are sit in the first row. It was sunny and warm so to be honest, the shower was even a reward., but my hair was a mess for the rest of the day (I couldn’t care less).

shambala2

We decided to go towards Shambala, aka the expedition to the Himalayas, and wait for half an hour. In brief, this is Europe’s highest (78m) and fastest (134 km/h) hyper coaster, and that was to be my christening in roller coaster. Cool, huh? Not for me, really. I was observing the fall and it seemed that the angle was so vertical (actually 86º) I started to shit on my pants and get nervous, so I had a beer. Jack adores roller coasters, but he hadn’t tried this one either and seemed to be excited yet relaxed. So the ride started and the wagon went upwards. It seemed like an eternity, and I took a watch around and saw how beautiful Tarragona port was, but at the same time I was very concerned about the height, till we reached the top, and all of a sudden

Zzzzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmm!

Holy shit!!! that fall was endless (apparently it has also the longest drop in Europe) and I had this funny feeling in my lungs, and then it went up, and down, up and down, quite violently and I couldn’t do anything but cursing yelling. My feeling was that the action was quite long (3 minutes ride), I never felt I was going to die or end up smashed against the floor. The fear was what if I couldn’t handle that overwhelming body feeling. When we to left the wagon I was shaking, my legs were weak and I was laughing and crying hysterically. I know my friend didn’t expect such reaction and got frightened not knowing if I was ok. My inner self was questioning if I could spend the whole day having these feelings, and then I went for another beer, to calm down. It worked. As usual.

dragon khan

I’m not gonna recall all the roller coasters I rode, but believe me I had a great time and even though I was yelling all the time. I had a crush on Dragon Khan’s loops, rolls and its 8 inversions. In fact it was so dynamic I flipped. It was fuckin’ awesome. And Furious Baco, an intamine accelerator coaster, was absolutely insane. That feeling of being propelled from 0 to 135km/h in just 3.5 seconds was one of the most exciting ones ever.

furious baco

Thus it took me almost 38 years to realize that I like roller coasters. Never too late they say. It’s similar to my taste for horror movies. I got scared, I shit on my pants easily, but when the tension ends the relief invading my body is one of the greatest pleasures I can enjoy, and the final conclusion is that I’ve had a great time. The difference is that with roller coasters I can’t stop yelling and laughing with every ride.

It was one of the most perfect days of 2014, with the best company.

There’ll be a next time, I swear.

Do it right, baby! Well, at least the best you can.

Oh, God! It’s been ages since I wrote my last post, Germany won the World Cup, and that event seems to have been ages away. I had opened a draft document and written some stuff few days ago but I was so busy and last week was such a shitty one I think I deleted it at some point or just lost it. Meh! What a shit!

Guess I have to take control of this and some other writing homework for the magazine I still got pending to finish and start focusing, but summer is the killer season for a writer, blogger or any asshole who loves spending time in front of the computer, for this unbearable heat becomes even more terrible in front of a boiling screen. Believe or not, my inspiration and motivation go on holidays in summer, and it takes me ages to concentrate and think of anything interesting enough as to waste my time melting. But I’ll do it. I have to, and the best way to do it is to recover one of the funniest episodes occurred lately in my life.

3 hours later…

I had in mind telling you about the day I had to dj with just one CD player for a musical vermouth session at Es Xibiu. Finally I broke my curse and was invited to play some music  10 days ago. the offer couldn’t be placed in a better moment as there were some friends from Zaragoza and Madrid spending the weekend in Barcelona, and we had a reservation for dinner at O’Barquiño, a restaurant feauring some live performances of copla by some (unknown) old glories, freaks and transvestites. Really worth attending if you want to know something of deep Spain in a very underground way. Thus, with the vermouth Saturday was fully booked, with friends.

es xibiu july

Problem was when one of the CD players decided not to work, and cancelation was not an option. I had to deal with playing music with a single player the best I could manage, so I did, without the comfort and security of pre-listening songs and trying to the music gaps of changing Cds were the shortest possible. Imagine I chose mostly 1 or 2 tracks of the CDs without the titles included, sometimes with good luck and sometimes creating awkward changes. Once I overcame the tension of not knowing how to handle, I started getting relaxed and ended enjoying lots of the good companion of all those friends who stopped by. At the end of the day you gotta take things as they come and try to make your best, no matter the adversities.

What can I say? It wasn’t my best session, of course, but we had fun, which at the end of  the day it’s what matters and the main reason for doing this kind of stuff. But I hate that Spotify is constantly removing songs as they please, so this playlist will miss Danny & The Champions of the World, ‘Over The Edge’ of Fu Manchu or ‘No Way Out of D Generation’, among others. My apologies.

Hope my friend Leon reads this. He was a good backup playing music. Thanks a lot!

My World Cup 2014.

world cup

Did you ever think I’d write a post about soccer and a World cup? Well, me neither. I can’t remember everything I’ve been writing here for these 4 years, but there are chances to find some old hate post talking about the shitty soccer business in Spain and how the game has turned into money interests. If such is the case on court I will apply temporary mental disorder or something like that. Ha!

This time I don’t feel like cursing or blaming all my problems on the World Cup but the opposite. More or less I’ve been following the tournament from the beginning and I’ve enjoyed some moments and games a lot.

I think there was a key fact that allowed me to get into Brazil 2014: the awful performance of the Spanish team and their elimination on group stage. The fuckin’ Red only won their match against Australia when there was no option to pass, after the shameful exhibition in the previous games.  It also happened with Italy (I was supporting hot Pirlo from the beginning), and England, but the arrogance of Spain was vanished in a nick of time, and honestly it was a relief.

andrea pirlo

The Spanish league of soccer is one of the most distinguished and praised worldwide, but I don’t really think it’s because of the national players, but for the insane and outrageous money business involved at the time of signing , especially in the case of  two clubs mainly: Real Madrid and F.C Barcelona. Thus both teams have a great percentage of the world best players. In my opinion there should be some rules and limits to this signings, as NBA applies, thus clubs would be more balanced. But of course, this is just my point of view.

Anyway, traditionally Spain didn’t pass from second stage to quarters, in fact there were some megastores offering free tv equipment if the team was reaching quarters or semifinals (of course with some small letter  accompanied). The team has lived a period of glory, always keeping the same formula and varying the players quite few. But eventually repetition starts failing, players get older, and the strength, the tactics and the attitude become obsolete, therefore the strategy turns into shit. Fuck off! It’s time for a new era, and both the team and the supporters reset their attitude towards struggle and competitiveness and humbleness.

This been said, in the era of social networks and communications, the opportunity of enjoying such a popular event through forums and Twitter is a blast. You can comment the game in streaming, faults, penalties, highlights, spread as fast as gunpowder, and memes and GIFs are terrific. You support teams for many reasons, some related to proper soccer, and most for empathy or weird feelings. And something very funny is the way your support to a team changes as the final gets closer. One day you hate Deutschland and a couple of weeks later they make your day humiliating Brazil. That was AWESOME!

ger bra

There’ve been some unexpected surprises too. I loved the evolution of the US team, and I’m pretty sure soccer will be another category Americans will be good at with time, as it’s started to be taken serious and not just as a sport for girls at highschool.

The role of the goalkeepers has been decisive as many matches have ended with penalties: Courtois from Belgium, Tim Howard from USA, Argentina Romero, Julio Cesar for Brazil or the German Machine Neuer , are some of the most successful names. Two more days for the final match. Argentina VS Germany. My support goes to the European team. I hate Messi and his fans, and on the other hand I love Muller and Klose’s style, and Mertersaker and Schweinsteiger have the coolest names ever.

So from now till Sunday night:

SCHLAND, SCHLAND, SCHLAND!!!

**Janos! Good luck!

** Reckon I finally understand Offside and I’m very happy 🙂

20 years of WELCOME TO SKY VALLEY

sky valley

Last Saturday I was reminded of the 20th anniversary of Welcome to Sky Valley, the third album of the Palm Desert band Kyuss, and this time it’s made me give it a lot of thought, and listen to it again. I’m not one of those who worships this band as if there isn’t anything better in the world and I’m not looking forward to witnessing a reunion between John Garcia and Josh Homme because I don’t regard it necessary. I don’t criticize Homme for forming QOTSA working hard to rise to stardom, but I do get upset with Garcia for not managing to keep a single project steady for long time. There was a time and a place for Kyuss, and for that reason this band probably achieved the status of underground legend, and if its members decided to split ways, I’m sure there was a good reason for that, so there’s no point in insisting on a reunion. Believe me, I learnt the lesson with GN’R some time ago.

I love Kyuss records though I hate the diehard fans of the band, no offence. In my PERSONAL opinion, they are often too narrow minded musically speaking.

I’d say Welcome to Sky Valley is not my favorite album of the band, however every time I recover it and listen to ‘Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop’, ‘Whitewater’ and ‘Demon Cleaner’  I must surrender and admit it’s a masterpiece. Thinking of the first time I approached it and Blues for the Red Sun in cassette, I reckon the experience was totally mindblowing. Kyuss opened the gates to another musical dimension for me, and I learnt to listen to music in a different way, tasting and enjoying the different instruments, both separately and together, feeling the different vibes and atmospheres created thanks to the changes in rhythm, the guitar effects, and the distortions, and I also discovered my favorite instrument was drums. Kyuss could make me travel in my mind (no acid involved), and I think it didn’t happen again until I discovered Monster Magnet’s Dopes to Infinity.

Moreover, it was the first band that I reckon I felt passionate for which wasn’t mainstream, highlighting the fact that in that day even Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam were popular on a global scale, broadcast on MTV and any radio station. In the past it was more difficult to get acquainted with cult bands, due to the complexity of spreading the word, and getting to discover overseas bands in first place, mainly caused by a period of isolation our country was forced to go through for too many years. Also the fact that not many people around shared the same interest in music as me made things a bit worse. Whatever, the point I really intend to make here is that Kyuss was an unknown band for the majority of people here. I was introduced to the band through my friend Pablo, and he heard of, or better said, read about the band on a magazine, so we didn’t know the actual impact and popularity of the band in the States and abroad. As far as we were concerned they were some sort of gurus, with all the Palm Desert scene, playing in the middle of nowhere, just surrounded by cacti, and enlightened by the creative and magical power of weed…or something like that.

I think the cult towards this band had to do with this mysterious halo they were involved, at least we perceived it as such, and the evocative music combined with wonderful hard guitar riffs.

scott reeder

I was talking about Welcome to Sky Valley, huh? Getting back to it, there’s one more thing. I’d like to give the credit to one of the most remarkable bass players in rock/metal scene, Scott Reeder, who joined Kyuss at this point, but I think he earned by far enough credit to be recognized  as THE bass player in the band. His style, his rough way to play, and his attitude just made it. We always focus on the roles of John Garcia and Josh Homme, comparing them to another rock couples such as Plant and Page, Slash and Axl, or Tyler and Perry, as they’re more remarkable and easy to identify and analyze, and after all, their current bad relationship with suing involved makes us all wonder what happened between them, forgetting the rest of the members in the band and their contributions. I couldn’t affirm which is the main Kyuss drummer though, Bjork or Hernandez, no matter their influence on other musicians after their contribution to the band, however, regardless the fact that Nick Oliveri was there first on the 4 strings, Reeder won his place in rock history.

 

Against Me! and Vitoria.

Few months ago I commented so hooked I was with one of my favorite album releases up to date, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, what a great surprise that discovering Against Me! had been, and my fascination for Laura Jane Grace, and her circumstances, struggles and late gender change choice.

I don’t think there’s a better way to reaffirm your passion for a band than to culminate the learning cycle with a live show, and I was lucky Against Me! decided to visit Europe to introduce their last work, and even luckier when a headlining show was scheduled in Vitoria, just one day before Azkena Rock Festival took place.

mary joe against me

I love attending shows in different cities and at new venues, because not only the quality of sound differs a lot, but also the vibe of the audience.

This time I was attending the show with bunch of people who I’m acquainted with at the forum I regularly participate on, so the experience of seeing this band with people I don’t usually hang out for geographical reasons, sharing the same passion I have, or even more, was a great motivation for me.

Before the show we were having some drinks, getting more acquainted with “new” friends (we already knew quite much of our lives for so many years sharing this common space on the net). Some of them were huge fans of Against Me! and some others were just in the mood to discover something new. I think everybody ended with their expectations fulfilled as the show was the blast.

I had already heard of the venue many times. In fact Jimmy Jazz sound techs were involved in Siberia fest last year, and I had the memory of a great quality in sound and much professionalism. I liked the venue right away with a fine stage, and as soon as I heard  The G.A.S Drummers, the second supporting band, playing I knew it was going to be great.

with laura jane grace

Some time before the show while accompanying a friend to the ticket office we could meet Laura Jane Grace. She was really tall, but looked very nice, and she was smiling all the time. it was a pleasure to greet her. She also agreed to take a picture with us immediately. She seemed very relaxed and glad about the way things are going on this tour. After this meeting I was ready for the show.

I think it lasted approx. one hour and a half. To be honest I wasn’t checking the time because I was very excited, and as soon they jumped onto stage and starting with ‘Fuckmylife666’, followed by‘Cliché Guevara’ and ‘New Wave’, the audience got crazy.

against me

I don’t have any previous show as a reference to compare, but the band looked in perfect shape, and sounded pretty solid. The work of Atom Willard on drums was brilliant, the voice of Grace was excellent, and the energy and passion of the band members was contagious. The setlist was quite balanced going over all their career and playing not so common songs such as ‘Miami’, for instance, and didn’t forget hits such as ‘New Wave’, ‘I was a Teenage Anarchist’ or ‘Pints of Guinness Make you Strong’. Really, it was a party, and I was thrilled.

against me2

I reckon it’s never too late to discover a band, yet it’s even better if it’s still active and you get the chance to enjoy a live show, as it’s happened to me this time. I’m glad and grateful, and I’m looking forward to seeing Against Me! soon.

My first FIESTONER

In Spanish we call a stoner rock party Fiestoner, and that’s exactly what we celebrated last Friday night at La Ley Seca, a riff party.

fiestoner

The main reason I arranged the after show session and attended the event was the chance to see Sonora live act for the first time. My long time friend Dave is now playing bass for this stoner hard rock band in my hometown, and I’ve always liked not only his musical taste but his quality as musician, and since I had already listened to a couple of songs available on their bandcamp site time ago, I wanted to check them. And it was a really great surprise, even though the singer had his throat wasted for a month already (apparently he’s got a vocal cord damaged). To be honest, I got the idea that vocals were completely secondary, and the work on guitars and rhythmic part was the real shit. The band sounded pretty solid and the songs worked out very nice. I really dig their stuff, and I’m looking forward listening to properly recorded stuff.

The guest band was Twin Wolf from Barcelona introducing their album. I already knew their leader, Ramón, the owner of Hey Ho! Bar, place where I used to dj several times last year. Their style was completely different and songs were more complex and extended but not as catchy as Sonora’s. I loved the technique of Pepo, the drummer. He looked a mathematician of drums, very skilled rolling and a great play of wrists.

fiestoner cartel

So after the two acts I was in charge of keeping the heat, so I tried my best to entertain people and as far as I can recall I did it fine, especially when I played ‘Dragonaut’ by Sleep and all of a sudden there were more than 10 men on stage flipping. What a blast!

If I tell you the truth, I must be growing old, for my neck still hurts after so much headbanging, but it was terrific, so i don’t regret at all.

Hope we can enjoy another Fiestoner soon. It was a terrific night and a a great pleasure to discover Sonora.