Friday, 31 October 2014

Live music in Santander, October 2014

A great thing about Santander is that every night, and I mean every night, there is live music somewhere, and lot of it is free. For my first three weeks here, I did not have internet connection at home and there was not that much time to write about every gig I attended. So here’s a monthly digest, if you will. I learned about many of the gigs listed here from La Guía Go! (which also exists as a little booklet published every month).

  • 3 October: Guitar Lightnin’ Lee and His Thunder Band @ El Almacén de Little Bobby, Calle del Sol 20
  • 4 October: Tasty Grooves @ Black Bird Club, Calle Vista Alegre 13
      The reggae band from Madrid presented the Studio One tribute. The club was packed and everybody was dancing. I should say that beer in Black Bird is rather expensive by Spanish standards, which would be OK if it was a free concert (it wasn’t).
  • 11 October: Los Ruidos @ Black Bird Club
    • Veteran rockers from Asturias, of Si te gustan los toros mata a los toreros fame, gave an electrifying performance for a cheering audience of, um, about a dozen. I honestly don’t know why there weren’t more people.
  • 14 October: Mabel Sierra Quartet @ Canela Bar, Plaza de Cañadio
      An evening of boleros and jazz standards such as Lágrimas negras, My Baby Just Cares for Me, Nature Boy, Si te contara and Silencio. Magnificent.
  • 17 October: Alan Broadbent (piano) & Harvie S (bass) @ Salón de actos de la Fundación Botín, Pedrueca 1
      The first of the planned three concerts in series Jazz y otras músicas organised by Fundación Botín. I loved the duo’s take on jazz standards such as Body and Soul, Solar and How Deep Is the Ocean. But — sometimes I think musicians should talk less. This was one of these times.
  • 18 October: Chucho Manoucho @ Desafinado Wine & Jazz, Barrio Las Mazas 15, Liencres
      Not just Minor Swing but also La Foule, Две гитары and Очи чёрные, gypsy swing style. I was worried that I won’t be able to out of Liencres (the show started 10 pm and finished about midnight) but there actually is a night bus stopping just outside the bar. Even so, I was offered (and accepted) a lift to Santander by one of the musicians. Which was nice.
  • 22 October: El Turbión @ Rubicón, Calle del Sol 4
      Tango, milonga and waltz, straight from Buenos Aires. Santanderinos are very reserved people (I guess I am mentioning this not for the last time). Certainly nobody was attempting to dance tango, in spite of the singer Germán Pintos’s invitation. But I loved how he made the audience to sing (at first, reluctantly) Volver and Por una cabeza with him. They knew the words!
  • 23 October: Leslie Helpert Quartet @ Rubicón
      A Billie Holiday tribute presented by Leslie Helpert accompanied by Albert Vila (guitar), Pere Loewe (bass) and Caspar St. Charles (drums). I could swear a saw Billie herself there.
  • 29 October: Carlos Pizarro Cuarteto @ Rubicón
      Another fantastic band from Asturias, featuring Carlos Pizarro (guitar), Jacobo de Miguel (piano), José Ramón Feito (bass) and Fernando Arias (drums). If I were writing for a music magazine, I’d entitle my review “ECM-esque jazz at its minimalist best”, or “How a simple theme played by one hand on the piano can give goosebumps to anybody”.
  • 30 October: Jam session @ Restaurante Bodegas Mazón, Calle Hernán Cortés 57
      Yes, every Thursday, between 21:00 and 23:00 there is a jazz jam session. I learned that from Chucho Manoucho’s bassist. The musicians sound like they know what they are playing; in other words, too advanced for me. Besides, all my instruments are in Las Palmas. But, who knows, one day I may have a go.
Now that I wrote everything down, it looks like a lot! Luckily, most of these events (apart the one in Liencres) were about 10—15 minutes walking distance from my apartment.

The last day of October also happened to be the last day of veroño, at least here in Santander. Now it is cold and miserable outside. I am looking forward to more music in November.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Meet the Jacks (The Tale of the Flaming Witch)

by Timur Kulikov

With Hallowe’en upon us, it’s time to introduce you to... Jacks. Timur had been working on this project through all summer.

The flaming witch is the villain and is called that because she is a Jack. You play as a little girl who, after hearing about the witch, set out to stop her.
Jacks are the pumpkin people displayed in this picture and they all work for The Witch. The girl with the blue skin is who you play as and in this picture there are 11 Jacks.
Ain’t you scared?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Guitar Lightnin’ Lee and His Thunder Band Live

In blues, you don’t have to be that terribly inventive. You can play the same old three chords (or, as Ali Farka Touré demonstrated, just one old chord) over the same old twelve bars and still get away with that. The lyrics also doesn’t matter much. Typically, you go from Indiana to New Orleans, or was it the other way round? The only thing that matters is that you do it well.

Yesterday I went to see Guitar Lightnin’ Lee and His Thunder Band, all the way from New Orleans, in El Almacén de Little Bobby. They started 21:30 and were cooking non-stop for about 100 minutes. After the first two songs, the tiny club was packed so I can’t see much from my bar stool. Boy, the man himself was good. The band members, every one probably half his age, also were rock solid. I couldn’t understand that well what he was singing or talking about but he looked genuinely touched by the crowd’s enthusiasm. “You guys are so nice to me”, he said at some point. “I’m not used to such kind treatment.”