Friday, 31 August 2018

Live music in Santander and beyond, August 2018

The summer’s over... And here’s the end-of-summery summary.

  • 4 August: Jairo & Sesi @ Rvbicón, Calle del Sol, 4, Santander

      It promised to be an informal musical encuentro between Jairo León (piano) and Sergio Mier (guitar). However, after Jairo playing two solo numbers, it morphed into an almost private party with a multitude of guests reading their mostly awful amateur Vogon poetry in honour of somebody who appeared to be as embarrassed as the musicians and the rest of the audience. One of the versifiers was a spitting image of Lord “I shall kill everyone by giving them syphilis” Byron from Blackadder. It would have been funny were it not so long, and the two protagonists of the show (I mean Jairo and Sesi) had no chance to play a single song together. The photo below sums it all up. Thank goodness we didn’t have to pay for this entertainment.

  • 8 August: Albert Vila Trio @ Rvbicón
      The latest project of Spanish guitarist and composer Albert Vila, featuring French bassist Alex Gilson and Dutch drummer Daniel Jonkers. Highly recommended.

  • 11 August: Mabel Sierra Trio @ Bluemoon, Savieja, 9, Loredo, Cantabria
      A charming mix of boleros, soul and bossa nova. On this occasion, Mabel Sierra was accompanied by Quiu Herrero (guitar) and Yanil Macagüero (bass).
  • 15 August: Free Mode @ Rvbicón
      A band from Majadahonda (Community of Madrid) playing feel-good, mostly Anglophone mix of reggae, funk and swing.

  • 17 August: Aba Taano @ Festival de las Naciones, Sardinero
      Gospel, songs by Miriam Makeba, and even ABBA medley brilliantly performed by the Ugandan a cappella group featuring Harriett Nabbaale, Joshua Kimeze, Morris Kamogga, Louis Mayanja and Derrick Ssenteza.
  • 18 August: James Room & Weird Antiqua @ Kursaal, Avda. de Zurriola, 1, Donostia / San Sebastián
      A great live act featuring James Room (vocals, guitars), Indigo L. Agudo (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Aitor Zorriketa (guitars, backing vocals) and Gabriel León (double bass, electric bass). Somehow mislabelled in the program of this year’s Semana Grande of San Sebastián as folk-jazz, this band plays Americana-inspired yet original music. A kind of country-rock number that I heard upon arrival did not appeal to me that much and I was about to leave when the band started playing Tom-Waits-esque Jailed Lion. I got hooked and stayed.
  • 18 August: Yasmin Shah Trio @ Altxerri Jazz Bar, Calle Reina Regente, 2, Donostia
      Later that same night, Yasmin Shah (vocal, piano) played in Altxerri Jazz Bar with Nicolas Chelly (bass) and Olivier Verneres (drums). I have to say that I was more impressed with Yasmin’s piano playing than with her singing. The trio made a break at 22:45 to allow the audience to get out of the bar and watch the fireworks.
  • 19 August: Extraño Veneno @ Rvbicón
      The only reason to see the duo of Pablo Díaz and Julián Suárez that Sunday evening was it being a free event, or, rather, “Pay after show” event. As the name suggests, this scheme means that it’s entirely up to you how much to pay to the buskers. Provided that you stay till the end of the show, which I didn’t.
  • 22 August: Rachel Reyes & The Fireballs @ Rvbicón
      Rachel Reyes (vocals) with Víctor Sánchez (guitar), Moisés Pindado (bass) and Adrián Carrera (drums). Yet another band from Madrid playing a way too familiar set of rhythm and blues, soul and funk standards. Good enough to eliminate the aftertaste of the “strange poison” but instantly forgettable.

  • 24 August: Katia and Marielle Labèque @ Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Calle de Gamazo
      The first part of the penultimate concert of the Festival Internacional de Santander consisted of works by Philip Glass: The Chase (Orphée and the Princess), Stoke’s Duet, The Poet Acts (Katia Labèque solo), Étude No. 5 (Marielle Labèque solo) and Four Movements for Two Pianos. For the second part, Bernstein’s West Side Story arranged for two pianos and percussion by Irwin Kostal, the Labèque sisters were joined by Raphaël Séguinier (drums) and Gonzalo Grau (percussion).

  • 29 August: Blue Ribbon Healers @ Rvbicón
      Since I saw them the first time almost four years ago, the band have further perfected their “sonic gumbo” although not their spoken Spanish. But who cares when the music speaks for itself! Blue Ribbon Healers are: Rob Pate (guitar, vocals), Cindy Rose (mandolin, vocals) and Scott Stobbe (guitar).

Now, bring on September...