Saturday, 27 December 2014

Live music in Santander, December 2014

My last few days in Santander were a bit hectic. Too many Christmas lunches and other commitments, no time to write. Now I am back to Gran Canaria, trying to get as much sun as I can before returning to Cantabria in January. Here are the highlights of the first three weeks of December.

  • 3 December: Javier Vercher Trio @ Rubicón, Calle del Sol 4
      Featuring Javier Vercher (sax), Deejay Foster (double bass) and Roberto Gatto (drums). I would have enjoyed it even more if not for a tall bloke who insisted on dancing in front of everybody and obscuring the view of the musicians, especially of Mr. Gatto. Listen buddy, whoever you are: it’s not nice, and your dancing sucks.
  • 5 December: Los Zapata @ Taberna La Solía, Liaño de Villaescusa
      50s, 60s and 70s standards (with the band members also in their fifties, sixties and probably seventies), from Elvis to The Beatles and Roy Orbison. No surprises here, but still: good stuff (and very decent food) in a vintage motorbike-themed pub.
  • 7 December: BRUUT! @ El Almacén de Little Bobby, Calle del Sol 20

  • 10 December: Flamenco Tablao @ Rubicón
      A warm and crowded evening of flamenco toque, canto and baile.

  • 12 December: Christian Escoude Quartet & Lew Tabackin @ Salón de actos de la Fundación Botín, Pedrueca 1
      Featuring Christian Escoudé (guitar), Jean-Baptiste Laya (guitar), Thomas Bramerie (double bass), Bruno Ziarelli (drums) and Lew Tabackin (tenor sax, flute).
  • 18 December: El Tumbao @ El Cazurro, Playa de La Arnía, Liencres
See you next year!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Fulton Stormshield Golf Umbrella

by Fulton

This October was unusually dry and sunny, by Santander standards. I spent it umbrella-less. On the 1st of November, I realised that resistance is futile and ordered this brolly from England (because I can’t find anything approaching it here). Now that people keep asking me about it, and I keep explaining, I thought I may just as well write the story down.

Unless I miss something, this is my fifth Stormshield. The first three were purchased in the now-closed (sigh) Eaden Lilley store in Saffron Walden. The very first one was black. It was under this umbrella that Yuri taught me his Life Cycle of Umbrella Bearers theory when he was about six. Unfortunately, I left it in a cinema and it was never found. I don’t buy black umbrellas anymore.

As much as I love to say that Stormshield is unbreakable, the truth is that the one of spokes of the second one’s got broken. Not by wind, but by a combination of various heavy objects in our car boot and kids competing for the right of carrying it. Even so, it was serving us well until we had to move. We left it behind and took another (intact) umbrella with us to Canaries.

The Stormshield #4 was bought when we were living in Porvoo. We didn’t use it that much there. Now it’s found a new home in Moscow.

So what’s so good about it? As I said, it’s practically unbreakable. Thanks to its vented canopy construction, it does not get turned inside out by wind. It’s lightweight. It’s huge: if it is not very windy, you can get four adults comfortably standing and chatting underneath it with their rears still dry. Mind you, the size can be a problem as well: at 130 cm when open, it is wider than most sidewalks here. Quite often I have to tilt it to fit, say, between a wall and a lamppost (naturally, I get wet). Finally, it’s long and sturdy. On weekends, I use Stormshield #5 as a hiking pole during dry spells in Cantabrian countryside.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

BRUUT! live in Santander

It was raining all day, so I ventured to El Almacén de Little Bobby to see what was on offer on the long weekend Sunday. I’m glad I did: it was undoubtedly the best show in town.

BRUUT! is a Dutch band featuring Maarten Hogenhuis (sax), Folkert Oosterbeek (Hammond organ), Thomas Rolff (bass) and Felix Schlarmann (drums), and music they play is... OK, maybe you can label it “jazz” but to say “jazz” is to say nothing. It’s swing, it’s boogie-woogie, it’s boogaloo, it’s rhythm and blues, it’s rock and roll, it’s twist, it’s fast, it’s groovy, it’s humorous, it’s super cool, it’s... well, rather bruut (which means “rough, brutal, fierce” in Dutch). And you can dance to it! People actually did dance tonight, although there was absolutely no space to do it. Maarten said, “Thank you guys for dancing. In Holland they don’t dance.” How weird. In Spain they dance.

I said it was fast. There were two slower numbers this evening: a jazz ballad (don’t remember the name) à la Gato Barbieri and a heavy blues, a very bruut tribute to Led Zeppelin.

Here’s a BRUUT! paradox for you: the tunes, all originals I reckon, sound uncannily familiar. I’m sure I heard them long, long time ago. Before these cats were even born. The sound is vintage and in the same time fresh. How do they do it?