Once the year passed away I try to memorize and transcribe it in terms of live music. In order to introduce the shows I’ve attended and enjoyed, with the aim of discovering new music. I always recommend the experience of live music so you can feel vibrations of the graves in your chest; and is always a real proof of the skills of a band, also the experience of being part of a crowd enjoying is more real and vivid.
The year started arctic and minimalist with Olafur Arnalds. The Apolo was prepared for the purpose with chairs in the dance floor. The trio was formed by the friendly Icelandic at the piano, an awesome violinist and a sober cello. Olafur won over the audience by asking us to sing three notes as a choir. He recorded and reproduced the loop for the first song, using a laptop that also served to launch the electronic bases or raindrops that adorns some of his songs. The concert became more intense with the dedication to his grandmother, who died recently, of her preferred song.
I don’t usually talk about these issues but in a concert of this delicate kind the silence is as important as the music, and that was interrupted because the doors of women bathroom, on the side of the stage, were squeaking all the time,… some lube for these doors please!!.Another uncomfortable noise is the camera shutter of the amateur photographers who go to these concerts to learn. A pro would take pictures on the first song and leave, the lighting was static and the position of musicians was fixed.
The only chance to see A winged victory for the sullen in Spain was in the Eco festival in Madrid at the “Matadero”. So there I went with a couple of Galicians geeks to enjoy the best album of last year 2011, a joint project of Dustin O’Halloran with his piano and Adam Wiltzie, of Stars of the lid, with his guitar accompanied by a string trio. This type of minimalist music, ambient and drone needs of venues with surrounding sound, the audience should be seated and be very respectful, that was the request of Wiltzie but two morons hipsters on the front row burst the concert soon. Furthermore, it was the last concert and the waiters began to clean and fill the fridges with bottle noise. For the lace, again a photographer tried to bring his ego to the enjoyment of the other being annoying and inconvenient. The musicians took notice and didn’t communed with the event playing just over forty minutes with face of frustration. But the travel worth it because of the magnificent brain feeding music exposed that night.
In addition to A winged concert …I met new proposals like the music for a modern impressionistic ballet accompanied by dark atmospheric projections composed by Kreng.
The third notch to highlight is the opportunity to see Low in a good venue, so far as I had seen in the Auditori of the Forum in the Radiohead dream’s day and the ATP primaverasound stage. So the opportunity was provided in March before performing a move of 3,000 km. Probably Alan Sparkhawk has stress off with Retribution Gospel Choir, before he tended to histrionism with facial tics accompanied by their slowcore, now he looks more relaxed but always great at guitar. The set was focused on the last album more melodic, commercial and accessible than their older great, slow, and minimalism tunes. Watching these Mormon gives me more peace of mind than a million priests.
Let’s jump to the unmissable Primavera Sound 2012 in Barcelona, where I would highlight the concerts of Basque steamroller Lisabö, emotion to the surface with Codeine, a tribute to the luminous pop of Big Star’s third, the new cheerful professionalism of Sr Chinarro, mechanical minimalism from The Field, the sonic coffee liqueur of Unicornibot, the Shellac’s mandatory ceremony, the aggressive solo show of Michael Gira, the return of paused Jeff Mangum, Mudhoney’s grunge hangover, the cathartic revengeful snakes of Sharon van Etten, the slowed spiders of Wilco, electronic melodies from I Break Horses, the compulsive guitar playing of Veronica Falls and Girls Names, the confirmation as big band of Beach House, Kings of convenience and songs to cheat with wool sweater and the grand finale with the Black Lips pogo Sunday at the Apollo adding the party’s promotion to the first football league of Celta de Vigo.
A trip to Vienna and good luck provided the opportunity to see Gravenhurst at the Waves festival, the venue (Odeon) was great with doric columns and a few grades to sit on, the audience was respectful and quiet. Nick Talbot is back to his beginnings, the misty folk and acoustic guitar arpeggios. He came with a bassist who brought density with a synthesizer; unfortunately the lack of drummer influenced the set list. He took a beauty Epiphone Sheraton to close the concert with “Black Hole in the Sun” on a stretched version with distortion and white noise. Great concert!!
Luck was again on my side because we got tickets to see the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky at the Vienna Opera, a very beautiful and expressive show, musically and visually.
The last festival of the year was again the winter primavera sound franchise in Barcelona, the primavera club 2012. Beginning with the main course, Swans on Thursday gave a gorgeous two-hour concert where they unfurled a brutal music volume, rough, dry, strong, but not as a spiritual mantra but is earthly, human and visceral. Priapism.
Friday Little wings opened the day with endless songs and his characteristic voice, The Monochrome Set sounded leaden and boring complete opposite to Redd Kross, these displayed their energetic power pop to make the public jump and shout. Many people came to Sant Jordi Club to see the game of Spanish band Los planetas playing with the alignment of the planets and the Maya’s end of the world prophecy. I started with Sr Chinarro who signed a concert not as good as in the Forum, the band changes a lot of components and, in this version, the guitarist didn´t play riffs with fluency. Triangulo de amor bizarro proved to have dominated the distortion that makes the best Spanish band live, deployed their new songs and dedicated the concert with Galician humour to Ana Botella (mayor of Madrid) . Los Planetas culminated the alignment doomsday concert with two and a half hours, three encores. Played Toxicosmos or La Guerra de las galaxias, De viaje, Segundo premio, David & Claudia and Santos que yo te pinte crimped with their new flamenco-rock sound and accompanied by some very accomplished visuals that improved the experience.
On Saturday Toy demonstrated in their show how they have impreganted the motorik influences on his first album; the singer ended trying to sodomize his amp on the floor. Deerhof in their line, are much more fun live than on record, Satomi and her aerobic manga, Saunier, who looks like a left defender of the Danish 88 national handball team, probably one of the best drummers in the world and the two accompanying guitars this time were less active for habitual level of hyperactivity.
Last december 12 I went to the last concert of the year, for such a great occasion and I went to see Michael Nyman. He presented his solo piano show based on his own works for opera and cinema. It was on the culture palace of Pontevedra. In two separate parts, initially presented a medley of compositions closing with the popular song from “the piano” movie. The second part presented video projections on which the British minimalist developed classical compositions as he wrote for filmers like Peter Greenaway. Nyman’s music develops all its glory with string and crisscross style variations like the Reich phases, but this time the piano was the protagonist.
A year therefore of great live music, once in a lifetime.