Sunday, 30 November 2014

Live music in Santander, November 2014

And so, another month has ended. It was good.

  • 2 November: Jam Manouche @ Rubicón, Calle del Sol 4
      Apparently, I was attending an historic event: first ever Manouche Jam in Santander. From now on, it’s gonna be every first Sunday of the month.
  • 6 November: Antonio Borja @ El Cazurro, Playa de La Arnía, Liencres
      An evening of flamenco music in a cozy restaurant (great seafood!) overlooking the beach in Arnía.
  • 7 November: Samuel Blaser Trio @ Salón de Actos de la E.T.S. de Náutica de la Universidad de Cantabria
      An experimental jazz trio featuring Samuel Blaser (trombone), Marc Ducret (guitar) and Peter Bruun (drums).
  • III Encuentro Internacional de Canción de Autor featuring:
    • 11 November: Gustavo Almeida (Brazil) + Cierto Pablo @ Canela Bar, Plaza de Cañadio
    • 12 November: Ida Susal + JaviBotanz @ Rubicón
    • 13 November: Claudio H (Argentina) + Yael Gaitero @ Escalera 41, Calle San Celedonio 41
    • 14 November: Julio Hernández (Cuba) + Paolo Latrónica @ Restaurante Bodegas Mazón, Calle Hernán Cortés 57
    • 15 November: Linker vs Latrónica @ La Nave Que Late, Calle Antonio López 66
    • 16 November: Tincho Fernan (Uruguay) + Nuria González @ Cientocero, Calle Río de la Pila 20
  • 18 November: Swing Sentidos @ Canela Bar
      Appetisers: a couple of groovy originals. Main course: Gypsy swing standards. Dessert: a sizzling interpretation of Man of Constant Sorrow.
  • 20 November: Chambao @ Escenario Santander
      Say no more.
  • 25 November: The Buttshakers @ El Almacén de Little Bobby, Calle del Sol 20
  • 26 November: The Blue Ribbon Healers @ Rubicón
      I was meant to meet my friends at Rubicón that night but I was late. When I got there, about 10 pm, the room was totally crowded and the singer sang Ямщик, не гони лошадей (she seemed to know about three-quarters of the lyrics). I got quite close to the band but still could not see my friends. As I learned later, they turned up on time, found it too crowded, and headed to another bar. But I decided to stay because the band were really good. What their music is like? You can discover yourself. In the Healers’ own words, they “have concocted a sonic gumbo of tasty treats for the ears and feet, a sound you can drink to, dance to, and smoke to, a feeling that warms the heart and brings people together in lively celebration”. Yummy.
  • 27 November: Curtis Stigers @ Salón de actos de la Fundación Botín, Pedrueca 1
      I just found out that Curtis Stigers plays four shows over two days at Ronnie Scott’s in London next month, with tickets priced from £65 to £100, and they are already sold out. Well I just saw him for free. He is supported by the band featuring Matthew Fries (piano), James Scholfield (guitar), Cliff Schmitt (bass) and Paul Wells (drums). Stigers smoothly moves from jazz standards such as Our Love is Here to Stay, The Way You Look Tonight and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning to Things Have Changed and Jealous Guy to his own Hooray for Love. My favourite was his take on Emmylou Harris’ I Don’t Wanna Talk About It Now by Emmylou Harris.
  • 30 November: Jam Manouche @ Rubicón
      This jam (originally planned to be on first Sunday of December) was moved one week forward. The last song was Очи чёрные played completely unplugged.
Bring on the winter!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Buttshakers live

With so much free live music going on in Santander, you must be really good if you want people to shell out for the tickets. Well when I first saw the poster advertising The Buttshakers, I instantly knew that I have to see them. A band with a name like that simply has to be good. “Good, old fashioned THE”, in words of Jimmy Rabbitte. Even so, I did look them up on YouTube (yes!!! I knew it!!!) before heading to El Almacén de Little Bobby to buy my own ticket. In advance. I am that organised.

The band were organised too. They even started on time. OK quarter an hour late, but who would seriously expect the show to begin at 20:30? Ridiculous. And what an absolutely fabulous, ground-breaking, butt-shaking show it was. All way down from Lyon, France, The Buttshakers delivered 110% of the promised “hot, wet and raw” rhythm and blues and soul. Their frontwoman is a beautiful, charismatic and super-energetic Ciara Thompson from St. Louis, Missouri. She started to dance the minute she entered the room, lost her shoes on the second song, and by the end of the concert even made some santanderinos to shake their butts. (Not me though. I was lucky to find a good seat and spent all my time sitting there, probably open-mouthed.) At one point, she sang from the bar top. Imagine what she could do in Andalucia! And what a voice she has. Yes, THE voice. The voice soul should be sung with. They also had shown off their jazzy side playing a couple of instrumentals while Ciara was dancing away. I was especially impressed by duelling trombone (Guilhem Parguel) and baritone sax (Jérôme Bartolome). It’s a real stuff, man, I am telling you. Catch them live if you can.

Next month, The Buttshakers tour take Germany.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Chambao live @ Escenario Santander

Last Sunday I discovered, quite by chance, that Chambao were to play in Escenario Santander on Thursday 20 November. I just had to be there.

I bought the ticket online, but getting to the place turned out to be not as trivial. Their website does not tell you how to. There’s no bus that goes directly to Escenario. I was told that #6, #7 and #20 move in that general direction. I took the first bus that came my way, #20. The bus driver did not know where Escenario was, however a fellow passenger promised to show me the way. She did and, when I thanked her, insisted on dos besitos. I say.

I arrived there quarter to nine and was surprised to see a crowd outside. In contrast to what was printed on the ticket, the concert did not start at 21:00. They only opened the doors at that time. The venue itself uncannily reminded me of Cambridge Junction 1: dark interior, similarly-sized standing space (no seats, that is), overpriced beer, a small stall with (overpriced) merchandise... At 21:30 they started to screen the advertisements of forthcoming events in Escenario. Man it was boring, especially for the third time. At 22:00, the projector was switched off, to the enthusiastic applause, but nothing happened. At 22:05 the upbeat Balkan-ish music began to play through the PA, but there was no sign of the band. The public, densely-packed by now, started to clap and whistle. Myself included. I mean, Paco de Lucía used to be late but not that late. At 22:18, La Mari was on stage to a rock-star greeting, and this organisational disaster did not matter anymore.

Somehow, don’t know why really, I wasn’t expecting so much energy from the band. Nor from the audience who were dancing and singing (they appeared to know all the words!) with La Mari non-stop for two hours. So much for santanderino reserve. I begin to doubt that there is even such a thing. Unless all the people who go to the same events I go (and board the same buses that I do; see above) are not santanderinos. No, there was nothing chilled out about this night at all. You’d better believe me, it was one of these events which make anyone who happens to be there happy and in love.

Chambao played quite a few encores (Otra! Otra!) and concluded the show with Te la creío tú — starting as a tango, ending as a ska.

Monday, 17 November 2014

III Encuentro Internacional de Canción de Autor

III Encuentro Internacional de Canción de Autor*, organised by Paolo Latrónica and friends, was taking place most of the last week throughout Santander. For me, it was the first ever music festival where I managed to attend every single event (of six). Good thing it was free.

  • 11 November: Gustavo Almeida (Brazil) + Cierto Pablo @ Canela Bar, Plaza de Cañadio
      Yes I know, the canción de autor simply has to have a certain degree of amateurism. Gustavo, however, has delivered easily the most professionally-sounding gig of the Encuentro, without compromising the spirit of the genre. Great job.
  • 12 November: Ida Susal + Javi Botanz @ Rubicón, Calle del Sol 4
      I went there with my friends and we all enjoyed this evening a lot. Javi Botanz and Julia Botanz Guimerá have completely different styles: the former is more like a blues-rocker, the latter is a bit like cabaret chanteuse, but they were working together like a charm (or three charms).
  • 13 November: Claudio H (Argentina) + Yael Gaitero @ Escalera 41, Calle San Celedonio 41
      I loved that performance. Claudio H and friends were rocking! At the same time, I discovered a cozy and inexpensive pub.
  • 14 November: Julio Hernández (Cuba) + Paolo Latrónica @ Restaurante Bodegas Mazón, Calle Hernán Cortés 57
      Another great gig, but, in my view, inherently wrong venue for this (or maybe any) sort of concert. I would prefer a small bar where people listen to a big restaurant where people, well, mostly eat.
  • 15 November: Linker vs Latrónica @ La Nave Que Late, Calle Antonio López 66
      La Nave Que Late is a curious venue, apparently a former hangar converted into el espacio cultural. Currently, there is an entertaining exhibition of “e-robots” made from diverse industrial junk. It could be even better if the visitors treated it as an enclosed space that it is and refrained from smoking there. After the concert, there were some short films (?) to be shown but I never learned what it was about as the laptop and its owner had disappeared, nobody noticed at what point. Charming.
  • 16 November: Tincho Fernan (Uruguay) + Nuria González @ Cientocero, Calle Río de la Pila 20
      It was raining all day on Sunday, so Tincho and Nuria and guests (sorry don’t know their names) brightened it up. I guess the concert would be better attended if it were in the evening rather than in the early afternoon. Then again, there is not much space in Cientocero.

* The Spanish term canción de autor (or Russian авторская песня) does not have a good English equivalent. Nor is “singer-songwriter” the same as cantautor (a portmanteau of cantante and autor). One has every right to call Cab Calloway, Gary Moore and Shakira “singers-songwriters”, but they are definitely not cantautores.