I’ve lost count of how many festivals are based in Barcelona, almost every week there’s a chance of discovering a new artist or movement you hadn’t heard about.
Beefeater In – Edit is one of my favourites. Celebrating 11 years showing a selection of muisc documentaries, from the most internationally acclaimed to some portraying the local scene, this year it’s brought an especially sensitive film “Narco Cultura“.
From Israeli photo-reporter Schaul Schwarz and Spanish sound technician Juan Bertrán, who spent three years filming in Mexico and United States, Narco Cultura shows two opposite realities surrounding narco-trafficking in Mexico.
On one side we follow Richi Soto, working for the CSI of Juárez, dealing with violent murders every single day in one of the most dangerous cities of the world. The film spares no images when showing the victims and circumstances of the murders, so sensitive viewers should be alert. It is heart breaking to see desperate mothers crying for their lost children in what seems a never-ending absurd massacre. Richi confesses how he’s been tempted to quit, especially after some of his colleagues are murdered, but that he feels he’s gotta do his job.
On the other side of the border we follow Édgar Quintero lead singer of the BuKnas de Culiacán performing narcorridos, songs glorifying the deeds of Mexican drug lords. Getting more and more popular in Mexico and United States, Édgar sees no harm in singing about violence and murder. It’s his job and it’s better than what he was doing in his younger years when he ended in prison. Narco Cultura, portrays how multitudes chant together Quintero’s songs and teenagers confess they wouldn’t mind dating a narco as they’re successful and rich.
In cities where there are no jobs, being a drug lord seems to promise a better life a new form of American dream.
Make sure you don’t miss Narco Cultura, although harsh it’s an unmissable documentary to understand the reality of Mexico, will it ever change?
I discovered Shogu a couple of years ago via 8tracks, someone had included his cheerful and uplifting Lahahain a mix and it just blew my mind. One doesn’t need to understand the lyrics to get carried away by the sound produced by a myriad of different instruments used, the pace of the rythm leading to a growing momentum and the sweet sound of his voice on top of it all.
So when I heard he was playing at sala  in Barcelona I knew it was gonna be a great Friday night.
The show started with a chipper Fanny Roz playing barefoot and inviting the audience to become part of the show. Born in France but signed up in Catalan label Bcore, she sang and played beautifully, telling different stories on every song.
It was then the turn of Shugo Tokumaru and his 2 member band: a motivated drummer with a soothing smile radiating passion and happiness and an extremely talented girl who would play a dozen of instruments such as accordion, keyboard, xylophone, flute, woodblocks, chimes and even a puppet!
Shugo, who also performed barefoot, and his band played some of the new songs from In Focus such as Katachi or Decorate and previous hits such as Lahaha or Laminate. The connivance with the audience was obvious and when he grabbed an ukelele and started playing the first notes of Video Killed The Radio Stars it all became a sing-along ensemble.
I took a video of the show, even if the sound is not perfect, it will give you an idea of the positive energy and general state of happiness that could be felt during the show.
Last Saturday 27th April 2013, five guys dressed up in an Adidas tracksuit, dark sunglasses and mandatory beards performed a master class on how concerts should be. Lead by genious Mark Oliver Everett, aka Mr. E, the band from California landed in sala Barts with an energizing rocking mood, ready to overwhelm the audience with a series of fast tracks, some great classics, many of jokes mixed with signs of affection and commitment. But most of all that fresh, fresh feeling.
If you’ve heard a little bit about the band you’ll know that every tour is different and for the presentation of the latest album “Wonderful, Glorious“, maybe not the best but definitely a good one, Mr E and his musketeers chose to rock the house!
You can check the set list here, but the most important thing about the show wasn’t which songs from their endless repertoire they played, but the energy they put in it. After reading “Things the grandchildren should know” I just don’t get how Mark Oliver Everett is able to transmit such powerful positive feelings when playing. I was left with a “Life is worth living” feeling.
Eels has been one of favourite bands since I discovered Beautiful Freaks back in the old days. Since then I have been mesmerized by Mr. E’s talent. Dreaming about this someone who is able to tell you “One day the world will be ready for you -And wonder how they didn’t see”. KEEP ON READING
I met them in a crowded room, back in February 2012 as a support band for The Crookes concert in Barcelona. Their day-dreaming-happy-energizing tunes took the audience to a worry-free island ( probably in the Pacific) in the summertime.
The Seihos have this charismatic touch that makes them instantly connect with the audience. Drifting from surf music, to folk with an oldies flair, the band is able to make the spectators get on their feet and dance the stress-away. Think Vampire Weekend meets Paul Simon‘s Graceland and you’ll get an idea of what they sound like.
The Barcelona based band is a regular of the Alfa En Viu concert series that take place in my favourite Gracia neighborhood club, Alfa Bar. So if you missed yesterday’s show make sure to check the next concert by The Seihos (or any other great band) that are programmed to play in the upcoming months.
Last saturday the histrionic folk singer Micah P. Hinson performed a show at Razzmatazz in Barcelona. It was definitely not a usual performance. There was absolutely no doubt about the quality of the show, you can tell he has confidence on stage and his voice and his band’s sound was really good.
However, I must say I won’t remember this concert only because of his music, but maybe more because of his attitude and behavior. As soon as the show started he began to ask to increase the vocals while singing, and he kept on repeating that all through the show. He is a perfectionist, and he won’t doubt to tell what he doesn’t seem right.
The whole show took place at a very slow pace, and very quietly. I was afraid to sing along. At some point when he had already started to play a new song, and some part of the audience was still discussing, he suddenly stopped and said “There is something I never understood. Why people pay to talk to their friends? I don’t know how much you paid for the ticket all I know is that none of my friends are worth a dime to talk to.”
At this point something very awkward happened. A girl from the audience that was obviously intoxicated who had been shouting like crazy asked:
-“Then why are you here?” – “Why am I here?… ” He replied a little bit shocked and started to explain that some part of the audience though it was worth seeing him live. Then he changed his mind and stated that in his contract there was nothing saying he had to f** justify himself. It was all very tense, and everyone wanted that girl to disappear. I felt sad that he might remember his show in Barcelona because of that stupid drunk girl.