Tag Archives: gigs

MY FIRST SHOW IN 2014

Wow! I had never thought that the first show I’d attend in 2014 was performed by Depeche Mode but I guess I was lucky to be invited at the very last minute, and I’m glad I accepted, because this event has been by far the highlight of this rough week.

Never been a huge fan of the band, to be honest, but Violator was one of these first albums  learned by heart when I started digging music at age 14, and they’ve been always releasing cool singles. It’s a band I feel respect for, and David Gahan seems quite a character, very interesting.

This was not the first time I attended a show of this band. Many years ago I was invited to sneak into Palau St Jordi through an access from the Euroleague headquarters. Heh! i was a very funny night and my first contact with one of my best friends at huge events and festivals: Mr Beerman.

This time was a proper invitation, perhaps the entrance to the same venue wasn’t so exciting, but considering the expensive tickets, it was a good gift. The location in press area was a great one, and I could focus on the audience vibe and all the visual work through screens. Spectacular. There were videos recorded for each song, integrating live shooting at the same time.

My feeling is that it took some time to the band to warm up, and even though Gahan is a wonderful frontman, too dramatic and theatrical, I was surprised by the lack of interaction with the audience, which by the way was average 35-45 years old.

It was wonderful to listen to ‘Policy of Truth’, ‘Walking in my Shoes’, ‘Enjoy the Silence’ or ‘I Feel You’, but I don’t know, I missed more enthusiasm or intensity perhaps. Don’t know how to explain it.

Anyway, if there was a moment my eye won’t forget was during ‘Enjoy The Silence’, the main screen was showing some contortionist girls in awkward positions against a see through floor, breathing, moving and blinking for near 8 minutes. It was fascinating yet at the same time disturbing, but I couldn’t move my eyes from them.

Impressive, huh?

Depeche Mode

ALIVE N’ KICKIN’ 2013

Let’s go on with the best of this year.

Checking my daily planner I’ve counted  approximately 46 shows (probably some more I forgot to write down), and 4 festivals attended: Primavera Sound (2/3 days), Kristonfest, Cruïlla, and Siberia. Compared to previous years I’ve been more relaxed this 2013 at the time of choosing which bands to see.

The variety of live shows available in Barcelona is huge lately, hard to cope with, and there are on one hand very expensive tickets for barely 1 hour performances, and on the other hand promoters booking small bands every 6 months which eventually get audience bored. Personally speaking, I reckon those promoters should look after both the bands and the potential audience to start with, assume more risks bringing different bands, and start seeking for sold out shows at less benefit which will ensure bands to feel like coming back and achieve fans loyalty for future shows. Of course I’m not a promoter, and I don’t put my money on the table, but I’ve attended shoes enough as to assure a sold out show for 10 Eur/ticket rules much more than a half empty venue for 22 Wur7ticket, if you understand me. Considering the tight and hard times we’re going through live music must me supported and audience encouraged, and not the other way.

Once this said, let’s talk about my top 5 favorite live shows of the year.

NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE, Àrenes de Nîmes

neil young

The best show for obvious reasons. You never know when it’ll be the last time you will be able to attend one of his shows, plus this time he was accompanied by his pals, as I had seen them the first time in 1996. Promoters in Spain don’t think it’s worth taking the risk bringing him here, thus we had to move our asses to France. The whole experience was tiring yet very cool, as some guys in Girona hired a mini coach for the trip, and 20 people met by chance only moved by our love for the musician. Patti Smith opened for him offering a surprising excellent show, and then the boss came onto stage and made the old stones of les arenes, vibrate with his tunes.

CLUTCH, Music Hall (BCN)

Even though the set list was reduced due to the early curfew imposed by the venue, the atmosphere, the crowd, the band, the attitude and the powerful songs, and of course, the wonderful companion, contribute to turn this show into something memorable. I felt the fan scent I was missing, the passion and the excitement, and I went crazy.

VALIENT THORR, Razzmatazz 3 (BCN)

sadat n nitewish

Every time I see these guys on stage I have a crush, really. They are so powerful and straight and on the other hand so good at interacting with the audience, their shows are a blast. I loved ther previous show in 2012 in Madrid, and this one was excellent. There were some friends who had attended the show just because who finished very enthusiastic about the experience.

THE SWORD, Razzmatazz 3 (BCN)

I was pretty sick of my stomach and had been sleeping 18 hours straight because I felt like shit, so I wasn’t at my best for the show, but as soon as Kyle Shutt started playing his riffs and the crows d started headbanging uniformly as a respond I started to feel better and better and enjoyed lots.

Can’t wait to see them again soon. Here’s their show at the Hellfest few days earlier, so you can get an idea.

ORANGE GOBLIN, Kristonfest (BIO)

chris and toi

What can I say? I’ve attended to their shows since 1998 and always claimed their live act is solid and amusing. Any time I get the chance to see them I’ll be there. I reckon their show at Kristonfest was superior than the previous I had attended years ago at Azkena Rock Festival. No doubt A Eulogy for The Damned has been a great pusher to finally get more recognition and attention, although here in Spain they haven’t been booked for playing at venues yet. A pity.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring up. At the moment there are already several awesome shows ahead: Monster Magnet, Red Fang, The Wildhearts…We’ll see.

 

100% GUARANTEE SEAL

quireboys 2

Can’t believe it’s Friday at last! It’s been such a busy week and I’ve been doing so much extra time at the office I haven’t been able to write any single word. Don’t think I’m very happy about it, just the opposite. It’s quite frustrating when work overload absorbs you that much, free time is minimum and you’re so wasted your energy is reduced to none, so it’s impossible you get focused enough as to write a damn worth sentence.

Friday evening, in jammies already, I’ve said to myself I had to write something, not just for those following this blog (eternal thanks), but also because this is my therapy, my escape valve, and yes, my pride and joy.

On Wednesday I was so burnt out with my job I made it to The Quireboys show at the very last minute.

I wasn’t supposed to attend, considering the busy gig calendar scheduled for the next two months, and the fact that the show was on Wednesday really frightened me.

As the day of the show was getting closer I had this weird feeling of betrayal. I’m not a huge fan, in fact I only have an album I purchased quite recently, their outstanding debut A Little Bit of Fancy. I can’t remember the first time I saw them, but the truth is that every time they’ve played in town, I’ve never failed them, and they never disappointed me, their shows turning into a community party.

I joined a packed group of friends at this bar where Budweiser is sold cheaper than at any supermarket, so cheap everybody was feeling generous and buying beers to everyone. We all were in party mood. For real. And that’s what I needed.

quireboys

I don’t feel the need of reviewing the show right now. If you are acquainted with this band, it’s not difficult to figure out The Quireboys didn’t miss any of their hits: Mona Lisa Smile, Sex Party, 7 O’Clock, Hey You…Their set list never fails.

I’d like to talk about a couple of things worth mentioning.

When I arrived at the bar, I was told that the drummer had quit the day before. WTF? How are they gonna play? I was frightened the gig was altered or the substitute drummer they had just hired wasn’t able to learn the songs properly. That fact almost made step backward, however the guy was a pro, the band members were marking parts and changing, and we didn’t notice anything weird. Spike, the singer, requested a big applause to the drummer after explaining this incident.

Funniest thing is that this wasn’t the only awkward situation the band was passing through. Spike told us he broke his leg recently. Again, WTF??? He was wearing these flared jeans so  we hadn’t noticed anything and, to tell you the truth, probably after some beers and some bourbon, the singer wasn’t in pain, as he was moving as if nothing happened. Awesome!

Thinking of these two incidents in depth I reached several conclusions:

  • Spike can be a drunk but he’s a pro. He’s good at singing, is a great performer, a funny frontman, and I reckon he loves his job, and manages to transmit this party mood to everyone.
  • PROFESSIONALISM. Those who attend shows quite often can recall some terrible performances caused by erratic behavior, tension among band mates, lack of focus, terrible sets, and awful playing due to drunkness or highness or just because.
  • A drummer leaving the band 24 hours before a tour implies a complete disaster. Many bands have cancelled dates due to illnesses or personal problems, and if cancellation was announced nobody would be surprised. However they went ahead, covering the vacancy with a drummer, likely to be close to the band, or so it was the general impression.
  •  Nothing can stop you if you want to rock. I’ve seen amazing efforts coming from people in the name of rock, and I’ve travelled and done crazy things to fulfill my passion. You can be injured, with flu, or just sick. If you want, you can.

It’s amazing something as simple as the performance of a band can be so inspiring and enlightening. This time it wasn’t just the party, the friends, the music and the hangover.

Just for this, I won’t question whether to attend or not a Quireboys show in the future, because they’ve earned the title of one of the most effective and reliable bands in the world. 100% guarantee seal!

THE DOGS D’AMOUR? CHECKED!

I remember the first time I knew about The Dogs D’Amour. I think it was 1991. Yeah, 22 years ago, I was reallly small. The walls in my hometown were literally papered with the posters announcing their show. I felt in love with the logo and the name, combining English and French was super classy, The Dogs D’Amour. Admit it, it sounds pretty cool, as cool as Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction repeating “Royale With Cheeeeze”. Well, something like that.

logo dogs

I also have in mind some article published on the local newspaper promoting the upcoming show and revisiting the albums the band published “Errol Flynn” “A Graveyard of Empty Bottles” or “In the Dynamite Jet Saloon”. It was as if a bunch of outlaws or pirates had joined to form the group. They had the appearance, the attitude, the name, and the songs. I couldn’t make it for the show. Nobody accepted to attend it with me, and since I was young and not so brave, I decided not to go on my own. Not that I regret it nowadays, but thinking the way I am now, I should have known earlier I’d attend many shows by myself in the future, and perhaps The Dogs’ show could have been my first.

It took me three more years to listen to their albums though, as I didn’t know anyone who liked this band and could introduce me to them, and I was so short of money, when I could get an album I always chose something I was into at that time. Till I found Joe, my former musical Master (I’m glad to know he’s nowadays reading this blog and has admitted digging bands I talk about here, as if sharing knowledge back). He opened the gates to the Dogs’ comic and rock world, full western imagery, heroes and classic characters.

The Dogs D’Amour were part of a particular British rock scene, combining glam with hard rock and recovering classics such as The Faces and punk icons such as Johnny Thunders…scarves, vests, bandanas, accessories such as rings, pocket watches, eye liner and nail polish…they were classy.

When talking about the Dogs it’s impossible not to think of Hanoi Rocks, The Quireboys or The Jacobites, playing in same league so to speak.

dogs1

Well, a couple of months ago some tour dates with the original line up of the band, Tyla, Jo Dog, Bam and Steve James, were confirmed, including few cities in Spain. The more reunions I’m witnessing the less I trust them, and considering the sad episodes of Tyla’s intense alcoholism, cancelations of shows and other stuff, I wasn’t so sure of being motivated enough as to attend the show. But I did. I had to, after so many years, and also because my soul bro and a great bunch of friends had confirmed they were going. Thus, trying not to think the show was scheduled on Tuesday, the show became an exercise of nostalgia, friends reunion and a plain and wonderful rock evening.

The band sounded solid enough, Tyla’s voice is definitely fucked up, yet he managed to low the songs as to perform correct and, even though the band wasn’t completely uninhibited nor relaxed, you could feel the good vibes, plus this time, the packed audience seemed to be very in the mood of warming up the show and enjoy, at least in the first rows where I was located.

The set list was a blast. Enjoying songs such as Last Bandit, I Don’t Want You To Go, Billy Two Rivers or Victims of Success, was terrific.

The oldest folks who had the possibility of living their live shows back in the day were a bit disappointed, but most of us just focused in the great time we had all together. It was a celebration of rock.

dogs3

As for the future of the Dogs, to be honest I don’t expect anything constant, and don’t need it either. They had their time and their scene, they’ve changed and grown old, we’ve also changed and are older, and speaking for myself, there’s a universe of unknown great bands waiting for me to get crazy with them as to keep on waiting for Tyla and the band to release new stuff. I had to attend the show, I felt obliged after so many years, but once the target was accomplished, I feel like I gotta move forward. But I will be able to say I saw the band with that cool name I felt so curious about when I was a kid.

** By the way, do you think I’m crazy if I admit Ginger and Tyla have like physical features quite alike? I thought of the red haired genius several times during the show.

AND THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM FINALLY TURNED THE RECORD OVER…

Last Thursday was a rough day. Euphoria and fun from the previous night turn into massive hangover, which made it difficult to endure at work, but I’m a pro, and finally managed to recover. I must admit a warm shower at lunch time also helped, and as the day was advancing, the excitement of the upcoming evening was getting noticeable.

Again, the rock troop was gathering at the meeting point for the pre-show beers, and everybody looked as motivated as I was. Yeah, we all were in the mood.

We had heard some rumors about Apolo theatre sold out. If that was the case, tickets were quite limited. Truth is that the venue was packed, much more than the night before. It was a nice surprise to discover that, apart from people in their 20s, older generations’ presence was remarkable. Probably this fact is one of the things I like most of The Gaslight Anthem: their sound is young, their lyrics are more adult oriented, and the influences for the band are classic artists and bands we’ve also been growing up with.

Mae was the atmospheric intro which led to the overwhelming first part of the show: The ’59 Sound, Handwritten, Old White Lincoln and “45”. The audience was insane almost levitating in happiness. We all thought this was going to be an epic set based on hits.

Unfortunately the setlist became irregular right after Here Comes  My Man. The fact that Fallon was quite talkative, interacting with the audience, unfortunately contributed to more empty spaces with radical change in rhythm and  people seemed to be quite confused at some point, and even distracted. I don’t know, they focused on mellower tunes very early when we were all demanding hits and energy I guess.

The band recovered the pulse as they were getting closer to the end, and The Backseat, the song that closes The ’59 Sound, was also chosen for finishing the core of the show, before the encore, which was demolishing, with She Loves You, Mulholland Drive, 1930, American Slang and Great Expectations. This time the band covered Bob Dylan’s Changing of the Guards, which didn’t get me crazy as in the previous show in 2011, when they played State of Love and Trust.

If I had to rate the show, it’d be 7,5-8/10. This could have been a memorable show, because the band is at its best, they’ve found their sound, much more solid this time, and although I don’t think the extra guitarist’s contribution is quite remarkable, the truth is that with his support, Brian Fallon looks more comfortable and can focus on the vocals more properly. The members of the band, however, are overshadowed by their frontman, who takes control and provides the band with the charisma the other members seem to lack of, or perhaps aren’t interested in putting up front. It’s a pity American Slang’s presence was reduced to almost nothing, because, even though I don’t think it’s their best, includes many great worthy hits. Finally, the creation of the set list and the order of songs arranged was their biggest mistake. The distribution of tempos and rhythms was irregular and as explained, left a bitter taste in all of us.

Witnessing their increasing popularity and the path they’re advancing by, I’m sure next time they visit us, the venues they’ll be playing at will be bigger and colder, because right now they’re one step behind the mainstream. I’m glad about them, not so much for me as a fan, but have to admit, when being surrounded by youngsters I felt relieved thinking part of the new generations will keep rock alive when I can’t do it anymore.

The show wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t looking for perfection anyway, I just wanted to have fun, yell songs as if I was a teenager, and sharing these moments with my friends, and that’s exactly what I did. I know eventually I’ll attend one of their shows in the future and will feel overwhelmed, because I can feel they’re actually evolving and improving, and hell, they got a bunch of anthems many would sell their souls for having them.

Thus I can say that In The Gaslight Anthem I Trust regardless, with the strong belief that this tiny turning click of the engine to take them to the top is about to happen.

If you feel curious and have time for more videos, I strongly recommend you to visit my friend rocknrollmfs Youtube channel, his stuff is terrific.

 

THE MELONS IN BARCELONA

It was half year ago when Blind Melon tour dates calling Spanish cities were confirmed. I didn’t stop and think twice and purchased the ticket as soon as they were available thinking of the possibility of being sold quickly out after the amazing and emotive show many of us lived at Azkena Rock Festival in 2008.

Unfortunately I was wrong. I didn’t have in mind on one hand that we’re not in the 1990’s anymore and many of their former fans are in many cases pater familiae or just forgot about their rock past, and on the other that people get very passionate in festivals, but in real life with just one time in their music curriculum is enough of the experience, and considering the wide offer of shows in Barcelona this month, the economy tightness affecting everybody and many other circumstances, Apolo theatre was at barely 2/3 of its capacity. Pity!

I have to admit I almost sold my ticket, fearing this show wouldn’t be as special as the previous one, and because wasn’t ready for disappointment of any sort coming from a band I’ve loved so much. I told you in my previous post that I was more excited for seeing Abandon Jalopy, and this was the main reason, FEAR. I had a buyer already and almost sold it, also for the money to allow me to buy another ticket for another show, but at the end of the day someone convinced me not to make such a terrible mistake I’d probably would regret for the rest of my life.

The previous night I had attended Jim Wilson’s and mighty Dan Baird’s show after being invited by Manny, their European tour manager. It was completely unexpected and I really enjoyed the show, especially Baird’s. My soul brother Gonzalo is a diehard fan and I just had seen Baird with The Georgia Satellites many years ago, and his solo project also long ago, thus it was a great surprise and I loved the performance from top to bottom. Very powerful show, pure rock and balls.

After the show I was having a beer and something to eat at our meeting point, a bar named Can Eusebio, which has Budweiser and bravas (Spanish potatoes in mayo and spicy sauce) on special offer. Jonny Kaplan, Brad Smith and Kevin Haaland were having tapas like craze, and both Jonny and Brad stood up to greet me and they introduced me to Chris (Thorn!). They told me about their day off, changing hotels and taking it easy before the Big Night.

As I’ve always been a bit cheeky, in a good sense, and was a great opportunity, I threw this question to Brad: What were we to expect from Blind Melon on Wednesday?

The answer was that we wouldn’t get disappointed, and they had decided an hour and fifteen-twenty minutes set. “Make it one thirty”, I said, making him laugh. It was going to make us enjoy and travel back in time, thus I read For My Friends album wasn’t to be much present.

Wednesday arrived and I was nervous anyway, very optimistic after my chat with Brad. I knew for sure i was going to enjoy, still I was afraid to lose the emotion I experienced years back. Nah! Unnecessary worries which diminish thanks to Jonny Kaplan’s songs during his opening act. The rhythm, the set list, the vibe, the attitude of Blind Melon and the atmosphere were perfect, surrounded by the regular troop I’m usually joining for the shows, I couldn’t ask for more.

The band chose Soup’s 2 X 4 to open the night, however the set list was mostly based on their debut album, Blind Melon including 9 songs, from Change and Sleepy House, to Soak The Sin, No Rain or Paper Scratcher. The absence of songs from Nico, with only Soup, and For My Friends, was balanced with 6 songs from Soup. Mouthful of Cavities really gave me the creeps, Skinned sounded awesome, and closing the show with Galaxie, in my humble opinion, was the best decision ever. It’s great to see the band supports Brad Smith’s project, who invited his pal Kevin to come up on stage to play the beautiful I Won’t Be The Same as the first encore song. I have to say this songs really moves me, and I can’t keep it out of my head these days. I’d say it’s in my top #3 singles of the year. Honest.

I don’t have many complaints about Travis Warren’s performance even though I must admit I tried to avoid looking at him. Sorry but I can’t. I know it has to be way too hard to stand overshadowed by Shannon Hoon’s eternal presence, and due to the general not so enthusiastic response of people to For My Friends, he had this, we could say, emotional outburst, which led him to leave the band some years ago. I can understand what he did in some way, but Hey! He knew the story of Blind Melon, he’s the personification of Hoon from voice and  melodic style to tattoos in his body, so justification for his actions is not acceptable. Probably this has to do with the feeling I’ve had, reading many comments posted these days in different sites and forums, killed the possibility of the band going on with Blind Melon and record more albums. Hope I’m mistaken, but apart from nostalgic tours, I can’t see further actions. And I don’t blame them. In fact, I’m very proud and excited with Abandon Jalopy, and as I’ve heard, there are already many tracks ready for a second album. Crossing my fingers wishing to have it delivered to my Hellhouse really soon.

Anyway, after a perfect show with souvenir included (Thorn‘s pick), the night went on to be perfect in booze and fun, and to take it to the top, I crossed Brad, Chris and Kevin on my way home, so I could thanks them for coming, congratulate them for the incredible show they offered, and warmly wish them the best in the most appropriate manner…with the feeling of saying goodbye to good friends.

These 3 days with the Melons around have been unforgettable. I could get used to have them around in the city as neighbors. How cool would that be, huh?

Thank you guys! Come back soon!

WEEK 45, 2012

Hey hey! How you doing friends? It’s been ages since my last post, I know. It’s not something I’m proud of but Hell! It’s been the hottest gig week of the year, and probably one of the most remarkable in my whole life, in terms of music events.

These have been such intense days, my routines have been reduced to none, leaving work aside, and everything’s been mayhem.  My past days have been basically like this:

I wake up at 7,30 (as days were passing by, it was harder), go to work struggling to avoid being mobbed by one of my bosses (I’ll tell you about it in the future), finish at 7pm, running home to put on a cool tee and some make up, and pick up the ticket and my camera, and fly to the meeting point nearby the venue to have the first been with friends before the show. Thing is, there were beers before, during and after the show, so I’ve been hangover most of time.

Since Monday this is my first day off, and it’s Saturday. I’ve been attending 5 shows in a row, and tomorrow there’s another one. do I complain? By all means, but deep in my heart I’d rather experienced such week a month ago, when I was unemployed. This kind of rockstar lifestyle is too hard for a working girl in my age and circumstances.

Imagine today. I thought Saturday would be my day off to chill out and do nothing, and it’s been just the opposite. I woke up at 8,30 am, puffy eyed, went to the supermarket to fill my poor fridge, did laundry, cleaning and washing up, baked some cookies and finally I’ve stopped, come to terms with myself, and have decided now it’s time to write a bit.

Truth is that I don’t know where to start, because I have many things to tell you about these past events. Hope I don’t get you bored with so much music stuff.

There I go! Well…little by little 😉

PS. By the way, bo you remember my last post dedicated to Ryan Adams for his birthday? Sheeeit! The least possible chance happened! He read it and liked it!!!