Tag Archives: barcelona

Three top BCN gigs for December

As the winter rolls in, so does what seems to be the best season to catch live music in Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong: the summer and spring festivals are awesome… but I’ve seen some pretty spectacular performances over the last few years during the colder months (such as the Flaming Lips, the White Stripes, the Kills, the Strokes, RTX).

This month, Gemma and I will be rocking out at concerts by Lambchop (cool funk-country with a million-piece band and loads of Curtis Mayfield: Thursday 7th at the Casino d’Alliança de Poble Nou); Albert Hammond Jr. (the guitarist from, and coolest member of, the Strokes: Wednesday 13th at Sala Apolo); and Jarvis Cocker (wise-mouthed northern lanky man off of Pulp: Friday 22nd at Razzmatazz).

If anyone’s planning to go to any of these fine concerts, let me know and we’ll share a beer and a Ducado (if you’re lucky!). Oh… plus, two bank holidays this week and a massive Barça game tomorrow… what a month!

This post was simultaneously published at talkBCN.com

A rolling stone gathers no… respect from me

Yeah everyone thought it was soooo funny when Keith Richards smashed his head open after falling out of a tree. Not me. I was worried for the guy. Well I take it back now. Little did I know that as a result of that strange accident, Keith would ruin my summer. Well, obviously I thought it might, but you know… dramatic effect and everything
The Roling Stones have cancelled their concert in Barcelona.

There is absolutely no way that I’m going to facha central, Valladolid or golfer’s paradise, El Ejido to see them play. What a pile of shit.

Review: Silver Jews live in Barcelona

Silver Jews live in BarcelonaLast night, despite being desperately tired from an early (and very hot) summer night, Gemma and I went to see the magnificent Silver Jews play at Apolo.

On arrival at the club, there were about three other non-staff members present. Soon a group of six or or so walked in and sat by our table. Oh, it was David Berman, Cassie Berman and the rest of the Silver Jews. I wanted to go up to them and say something but I felt the blush/sad fan reflex coming on strong, so I stayed seated.

Support band, Extraperlo, named the Joos as one of their major influences. I didn’t feel that this was much in evidence through their set. I liked a couple of their songs but really they lacked any charisma or energy. In a year or two they could be great but they weren’t that night.

After an interminable wait for the main event to come on (it’s a small stage), the band shambled into view. A couple had been onstage for the vague soundcheck they went through but the cheers were reserved for when David stepped up to the mike.

From here, we enter the “oh shit, what was the setlist” stage. I’ll probably be able to piece it together later. I can say that they definitely played ‘Random Rules’, ‘Smith And Jones Forever’, ‘Time Will Break The World’, ‘Pet Politics’, ‘Black And Brown Blues’, ‘Sometimes A Pony Gets Depressed’, ‘Punks In The Beerlight’, ‘Animal Shapes’ and a personal favourite, ‘Wild Kindness’. There were other songs, all of them good… I just can’t be sure about which ones they were.
As opposed to reviews I’d read of the American shows in this, their first tour in 15 years, Silver Jews presented an extremely tight set. That is to say, there was no sign of the nerves, shyness or forgetfulness reported of their frontman. David Berman seemed confident and cheerful, joking with the crowd and dedicating a song to one of Gemma’s old uni pals, Marta (who, it turns out, is some kind of super-fan!). The crowd wasn’t huge, so he promised to shake hands with each of us after the show.

And he did! After an encore call which was louder than I’ve seen at concerts with 10 times the audience, Silver Jews played only one final number (will they ever play ‘Tennessee’??) and then David stepped down off the stage and came to speak to his fans. This act, as much as an amazing show, made sure that everyone present left with a Cheshire Cat grin on their face. I told David that after waiting 15 years for the first tour, they had to do another very soon. He promised that they’d be back, so those of you too fatigued by Football abuse (as to today, I’ve never seen a team foul so much and get away with it) – make sure that you keep a minimum of 4o€ in your account at all times. 20 for the ticket, and 20 for the obscenely priced beer.

Silver Jews live at Pocketclub (Sala Apolo, Barcelona):

1 out of 1

Some pics from this spring


Pete Doherty and Babyshambles at Primavera Sound


The Forum complex in Barcelona


An ‘okupat’ house in Cerdanyola was buned to the ground.
It’s not known who started the fire, but reports say that the Mossos are investigating a far-right wing connection



Andrea wore this classic t-shirt when we went to watch England’s first World Cup game. The robotic monster girl at the counter didn’t even register the hilarious comedy happening in front of her very nose.

We saw this car by the Apolo club/theatre just off Paral·lel. It’s had a hard time.

Took this picture to mock my brother back in bristol when it was cold and miserable there.

Here comes the summer!

Stones’ Barcelona gig delayed

The Rolling Stones ‘A Bigger Bang’ European tour, due to kick off in Barcelona on the 27th of May has been postponed until June to allow for the recovery of Keith Richards, who underwent further surgery today after falling out of a palm tree in Fiji.

Seems that he had some sort of brain hemorrhage. Get well soon, Keith

The tour’s new schedule will be revealed soon.

Albums and their covers

In celebration of the exhibition coming to the MACBA this month, here’s a selection of album covers which I find to be, in turn, thrilling, sickening and indie-cool-self-affirming.

That is to say, here are the covers of some albums I like and love. Not all of the covers are great works of art, but many are. Royal Trux, being my favourite pop-group, dominate the field somewhat. I’ve always enjoyed their album art, given that it combines a variety of rock clichés, fan-art, corporate-style logos and blocked toilets.

Elliott Smith’s epnoymous album has an evocative image of bodies ‘falling’ or ‘floating’ between buildings in an American city. The design represents a haunting pre-shadowing of the ‘falling man’ photograph taken on September 11th 2001 in New York City.

The Flaming Lips’ ‘The Soft Bulletin’ album features an awesome photograph taken outside an ‘Acid Test’ party in San Francisco in the late sixties. I love the way it captures a young man’s intoxicaton, no doubt due to some of the acid he’d been testing.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘Master and Everyone’ has a simple cover photo which needs little explanation: his face, with its idiosyncratic beard fills the sleeve… his eye seems abnormally deep and reflective, as if it’s been ‘photoshopped’.

After these, the Rolling Stones’ explicitly erectile cover for ‘Sticky Fingers’, Basement Jaxx’s homage to Copito de Nieve, the albino gorilla late of Barcelona’s city zoo, Super Furry Animals’ collage of a famous drug dealer’s various passports’ photos and Primal Scream’s stunningly primal ‘Screamadelica’ cover are all firm favourites.

Album art is a special form which combines the necessities of commercial success and hip styling with an interesting glimpse of how the pop-group (or their record label) view the music contained within the packaging. A good album cover should give a clear idea of the feeling and agenda (I wanted to write ‘philosophy’, but that seems too much) that the album espouses. Either that, or it should have nothing to do with anything. An album cover is, therefore, both an advertisement for the product, and a part of the product itself. As to the design included on CDs or vinyl records themselves – and the other design elements in on an album’s packaging, that’s a different matter. But Royal Trux’s highly suggestive hypodermic skyscrapers which feature in one of their EPs, (though I can’t remember which one), represent to me a pinnacle in album art by virtue of their combination of drug imagery and the New York City skyline.

In a brief note which didn’t deserve a whole post: here’s a great article about the most important website in the world. GYAC: it’s Popbitch.

Music this autumn

According to my high expectations, this autumn looks to quite awesome for musical enjoyment. Specifically, there are two albums and a handful of concerts to get radical about:

1 The Howling Hex – You Can’t Beat Tomorrow
2 The Fall – Fall heads Roll (actually out now I think)
3 The Kills – Barcelona next month
4 Mercury Rev – Barcelona some time
5 Supergrass – likewise

As you can see, a rich and towelling tapestry of rock, roll and rock.

The Kills play Barcelona 19th November

The KillsThose crazy Kills are coming to town. They were going to be supporting American ladies (and erstwhile friends of the late Elliott Smith) Sleater-Kinney but unfortunately, the main act have pulled out.

I’m not really bothered because I really like The Kills. My problem is that no one wants to go with me because it’s the same evening that Barça play Madrid for the first time this season. And Gemma’s going to manchester.

So if anyone nice wants to accompany me to the concert, please contact me. In fact, even if you’re not nice, I’d be interested.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy live in Barcelona

Last night we went to see Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Matt Sweeney play the Sala Apolo on Paral·lel.

The show was fantastic, but marred very slightly by the crowd. As usual. Thing is, in Barcelona, people go to concerts to chat with their mates. But I go to hear the music and see the performers. I find it incredibly rude when during a quiet bit (and with artists like BPB, the quiet bits are some of the most sublime), crowds of people around you start laughing and chatting. It’s one of those irritating things which if you complain about them, you sound like a loser… but the reason I wanted to go to that concert was to get away from the shittiness of living in a time when it’s practically a crime to take anything seriously.

Ah well, never mind.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy mostly played tracks from the current album Superwolf, recorded with his cohort Matt Sweeney. Perhaps in a reflection of the many references to the sea in his songs, BPB’s live show seems to rise and fall like the ocean swell. Listening to the music, I was at times reminded of Nick Cave, Arab Strap and even some post-rock bands like Mogwai. His lyrics are bizarre and fascinating, often concerning animals and on this album, death in the sea.

He also played a firm favourite with the audience, Ease Down the Road, which I hadn’t heard before but will remember. Not even the dickhead with his big hair who couldn’t stand still and kept swaying and twitching around in front of me, obscuring my view until I moved, when he would twitch again to re-block my view… not even he could ruin my enjoyment of this concert. Mainly cos we moved to the other side of the room from him.
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Matt Sweeney at the Sala Apolo – 1 out of 1