A couple of months ago I got the chance to attend a great festival in Bilbao and write the review for July-August issue of Rockzone Magazine. Needless to say, when the bosses handed me a copy with hot Josh Homme on the cover and I discovered my review occupied almost a full page I got immensely happy for the achievement and very proud of myself.
Truth is that it’s not the first time some of my reviews are published on a real and physical magazine, however because I was talking about one of my favorite bands whose members are friends from my London years, this article was very special to me.
You know summer is being too warm, crazy and very very busy, so to be honest I haven’t found the proper moment to translate what I wrote until this evening. I hope you like it even though it might miss some of the “Spanish” essence and style, but at least I think you’ll get the picture of the experience. and those who’d like to read it in Spanish, please, don’t be stingy and buy it. I promise to sign it before I become famous, inaccessible and a prick 😉
In February, when Kristonfest confirmed British band Orange Goblin to be part of the line up this year, next to Clutch, Truckfighters and Karma to Burn, who unfortunately cancelled just 10 days before the show, I didn’t think twice and arranged a flashtrip to Bilbao. No matter how many times I’ve seen the band led by Ben Ward -last time was at Sonisphere in 2012-, the opportunity of enjoying one of their powerful shows at a venue such as Santana27 for the first time in Spain, was an irresistible bait. No doubt it was a rad lineup for all the stoner fans.
Therefore on Saturday, suffering a (light) hangover after Clutch show at Music Hall in Barcelona the night before, relieved with the help of some beers and pintxos, we arrived at the venue.
Surprisingly Truckfighters, the Swedish championed by QOTSA, had started with beyond British punctuality, so we couldn’t enjoy the actual startup of the fest. Even though many more had been caught by surprise, when we arrived you could feel the party atmosphere, with the audience in high spirits all the time. However, even though the band sounds pretty solid and powerful, there’s something worng. They wanna be but they’re not able to be. They have good songs but these are not overwhelming, and even thought their live performance is quite acceptable, but they couldn’t blow our heads at all.
During their set we really missed Karma To Burn, an absence wisely handled by the organization of the fest, affecting positively to the most interesting shows extending their act.
Orange Goblin opened their set with Red Ride Tiding, the first song of their terrific last studio album A Eulogy for the Damned, which has caught the attention of many people, and has confirmed they’re enjoying their best moment. Their set list was mostly based on their last work, including Acid Trial, The Fog or The Filthy and the Few, but had room for classic songs such as Quincy the Pigboy, Some You Win Some You Lose, Time Travelling Blues or Blue Snow. They didn’t give us a break, and the audience was getting nutter thanks to the huge and exultant frontman, who was cheering everybody up nonstop. No doubt Ward is the most outstanding member of Orange Goblin for obvious reasons, but Joe Hoare’s work on guitar is impressive. There were sound issues at the beginning of the show, but luckily everything was improving. I’ll never get tired of repeating the Brits are a 100% live band.
Finally the main course was delivered by Clutch. We were all ready to face what was coming, and some of us were playing in advantage as we had seen them earlier that week in Madrid or Barcelona, but the show they performed got Santana27 crazy as I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Perfect sound, Neil Fallon completely out of control, , and a bombing proof set list to keep us breathless. Crucial Velocity, Cyborg Bette, groovie Mr. Freedom, and Book, Saddle & Go as the first part of the show, blew our heads. Once on the track, nothing could fail, and the venue turned to host mass mayhem. They continued playing song from Earth Rocker, but also recovered awesome hits such as 50 Thousand Unstoppable Watts, The Mob Goes Wild, Burning Beard, and of course, Electric Worry. Neil Fallon is THE frontman, with an overwhelming energy, and the remarkable ability of balance the lack of charisma of his band fellows Dan Maines and Tim Sult, accomplishing his tasks impressively on the other hand. Regarding JP Gaster, apart from taking our hats off and bow, nothing else could be done. This guy on drums is definitely not from this world. Probably one of the current best active drummers. Huuuuge.
This Kristonfest evening was terrific, and we all ended very pleased , neck aching, and willing for some more. Let’s hope this fest becomes a fix event in calendars so we can visit Bilbao in the future to enjoy this celebration. Congratulations to the promoters, the venue and the bands for an incredible evening.
*** Thanks to Jordi Meya and Richard Royuela for everything. You’re fuckin’ great, guys!