Hi, or should I say wohoo?
Updates on this breathtaking 10th edition of Barreiro Rocks festival were somewhat delayed by exams and PR work for Red Vintage (review v. soon!) but not forgotten and today's after school special is my tale of the best festival weekend in a while.
Barreiro being a working town in the southbank of Lisbon, it's surprising how community work through the years added up into bringing forth a number of great names in music to a festival that puts a lot of big events to shame. Vinyl, CD and merchandise also swapped hands in the stalls the bands, the great Groovie Records and a few more stores occupied.
Note: all pictures granted by photographer extraordinaire Vera Marmelo @blog v-miopia
After a succession of warm up parties and preparations I managed to miss, my first night started early to the sound of Tiago Guillul, a sort of christian, cheerful and vaguely influenced punk rock I can't help but recognize musical quality to even though it wouldn't be the first band in my playlist.
The crowd, that was starting to build up by then, would multiply when all of a sudden the much awaited Ty Segall was announced. Starting off by saying how excited they were about being in Europe for the first time, the loud guitars would soon get the growing crowd crazy, but who could blame them? After listening to him play alone and with the band and seeing them live, I can only say it's a gig not to miss out on - the right amount of raw rock n' roll with a naïve feel, the sort of band that leaves you wanting more and keeping the hope that, against what some insist on wearing as a tagline, "Rock n' Roll is [NOT] dead". Given the chance to ask them about the band, I had a very open Ty tell me how it's just "a bunch of friends helping me perform the songs I've written, my girlfriend and best buds are in it. I guess it's just rock n' roll." What's on, and what's next?, I asked. "We're working on a new record and touring a lot, I feel lucky to be able to tour at all. I just want to keep playing, would really like to find the time to do a Black Sabbath type record in the future." How does that new album sound? "It's really kind of pop music with a fuzz pedal, a little all over the place." As for words about the line up and festival... "Awesome, this was our first ever Europe show and we got to play with Demon's Claws and Ty Segall, incredible!" Last words of inspiration were "Thank you! And just do what you wanna do and f*ck everybody else (as long as it doesn't maliciously hurt anyone!)"
Less expected and well-known, only to blow up scales of wild times, libertine Demon's Claws took over with their enthralling, heavy psychedelic sounds - their unique concept, markedly bred from garage punk regardless of the influences they numbered when I got to ask them, is definitely one to love or hate and I'm in the first category. There was something special about the way this dirty-sounding band cradled us through and through - I'll be keeping an eye out for their follow-up work.
On came that night's line up stars - from Texas, USA... The Strange Boys! One of those bands I can say I've followed for a while, they had a hard act to follow after all these big boys and girls. "Well, did they?", I hear you ask. Hell yeah! They had a big part of those 700+ people in the venue dancing like it was the 1960s (in some parallel dimension, at least), with a great vibe and the same tone that rules the recordings they've accustomed us to. Speaking of which, it's incredible to see how these Austin-bound boys have grown since their beginning I was being told about in 2003 - the new drummer Mikey and Sax Jenna from LA complement and enrich their music a great deal, starring in the new album Greg Enlow (guitar and keyboards) tells me about backstage. "As soon as we get home we're going to California to record the new album in the Distillery. It's mostly finished and we've been practicing on tour, we're really excited." And how'd you describe it's sound? "The sound is all over the place, from country to rock n' roll, caribbean jazz and piano balads." About the bands they shared the stage with, they told me they've known Ty Segall for 4 years and hang out with them when visiting California, and Demon's Claws are good friends, tour companions and even pen pals. Finally, a message to the fans - "Thank you, "obrigado". And see you soon!"
But that wasn't all! Barreiro Rocks spoils their audience until the very last second, until you drop or faint of a mix of exhaustion and ecstasy, and there it was - the night's final band, Thee Vicars. Being very partial to covers, as always, I had a skeptical ear... that was blown away. What a gig! Their pick of classic songs was flawless, presenting the original content to a shiny new look - or should I say sound?
And that was day 1, finishing off with DJ Shimmy's record hop that begun in theme with 60s tunes and travelled a bit between styles and times in the songs the last resilient audience members danced to at this late hour. I hear the party went on in Alburrica Bar, but my only aftermath was sleeping enough to stand the next day of this promising event.
Here's a band my most attentive followers must know I love, having seen live enough times to know all the lyrics - Tiguana Bibles! They were just right to captivate the audience in the beginning of this sold out, packed to the brim night, transporting the audience into a David Lynch black and white cinematic universe like only they know how to.
On came Nick Nicotine & his Mystical Orchestra, counted amongst Barreiro's finest, showing us just what they're worth. He was (and has been, from day 1) one of the key elements in organizing the festival. Here's a word of thanks and appreciation to you, Nick - your passion for music is remarkable and contagious... as are your songs - this first time seeing the act live had me hooked, it's that sort of bluesy, action and rythm-packed rock n' roll there's no staying away from.
Davila 666 are playing proof that Punk Rock is alive, kicking and breaking teeth. Who could stand watching this portoriquen band that made us remember the '77 movement so vividly! You had to be disabled not to jump for the hour they were on stage - it was pure rush, a group of unpretentious rebel kids doing music for the sake of sharing it and the adequate pick to prepare the ~950 people in the audience for the mind blowing act to follow.
Note: All pictures by photographer extraordinaire Vera Marmelo @blog v-miopia
At last, the performance that had everyone hanging on - King Khan and the Shrines. I'm not sure I have the words to express how I felt about this gig, but I'll try with all my might to share the amazing experience it represented for me. Every detail was thought out to make a brilliant show, that sort of professionalism that gets technicalities out of the way leaving only the sweet oldschool R n' B that dripped off his soul like every drip of sweat from his face as his magnificent (and matching) Shrines gave them all to an audience that was holding on every note, singing the lyrics and waving their hands in the air. King Khan sang his lungs out while the Shrines dances around the stage, even coming down to be closer to the audience. It didn't feel like a concert you wanted to keep your posture in, or look cool - it felt warm and homelike. And that's the mark of an amazing act - one you feel, not just listen.
Was the party over? Na-ha! Although the pictures are over, now, it was time for Guadalupe Plata to bring their modern, progressive-y blues forth. I hadn't heard them, and it may have been that I was extremely tired by these 3h30~4h00 am but they didn't charm me as much as the resistant audience that watched them thoroughly. Surprise surprise, there was one more band to come on stage - Barreiro's loud trio Tracy Lee Summer's act filled the emptying venue with the same spunk as if they were playing for a million people - too bad I barely had any life left in me! I still danced around with my friend Pedro C. from Tasco do Garage blog to DJ Shimmy's short swinging set until power was cut off and the last few people were off to yet another after party at Alburrica Bar. I was beyond tired and exhilarated in the end, I couldn't believe all the great bands and people Barreiro Rocks allowed me to see and meet - for that I'm extremely thankful. They are a perfect example of how dedicated music fans, bands and promoters can be, and how things happen when you struggle for them to.
Thank you for reading through, I truly hope this review was to your liking and will look forward for your feedback on it. I'll publish more on the Red Vintage Party last Saturday as soon as I get the pictures and the chance - college work is becoming growingly difficult to juggle with writing, work and that lil' thing people like to call a personal life!
Writing very soon, with love,