The last blows of the second part of Nocturama gave its tenth anniversary party force, character and mostly, a wave crest which, since minute one, seemed hard to surpass. Three flashes lightened the birthday candles: from Julian Maeso’s soul of multifaceted rock, going through the Milkyway Express’s low-pitched doses of alt rock recovered with folk and blues, to Lisa & The Lips’ soaked-in-garage and grilled-with-funky soul.
Like all of us, the reference summer festival Nocturama is growing old. But before starting to count the grey hairs, measuring its height on the wall and have its tenth growth spurt, it doesn’t hesitate to surround itself with the best of friends to celebrate the spirit of great music that every festival holds in its core. For this reason, the penultimate date before saying goodbye to the warm winds of the south and rolling down the blinds, gathered every member of the family, from the smallest nieces and nephews, to the big myriad of aunts and uncles. All of them have the chromosome which hosts the family’s most frequent genetic trait: a good taste for music, for the classics and the retro influences.
After blowing out the candles, Julian Maeso gave the first present of the night, spending, without regard, his whole budget along the way. And stamping his symbol of identity, in a lone path that, after some years, has ended up proving him as one of the essentials of the Spanish musical scene.
Reverberations by hand from the keyboards of his Hammond organ, deep voices and feminine choruses which mix, in quite a soul setting, manes of hair (which were only lacking the flowers) and worn out instruments. The mixture was hard to specify, but the taste was, doubtlessly, magical, with Through an early honeymoon as the intro and first thumbtack on the map. Keyboards out of control, torn up voices, dialogues a la gospel while we draw the first line with the compass on We can’t keep on waiting for good times to come. Switching to a 335 it came the time for the inevitable question (“Is there anyone there?”) followed by a unisonous assertion, sign that there was still pulse.
Country sounds mixed with blues feelings and a little Mississippi-like trotting, walks and beatings across the keyboards which marked the first solo of the night and accompanied it with black influences and some loud “Come on!” that resounded in multiple ears. For the first thanks, apart from the obligatory congratulations to the festival’s team, Julian wanted to remember his numerous steps through la hispalense (city of Sevilla) in the company of bands like Pájaro or the Blue Blasters, inviting Juan Arias to get onstage, whose harmonica dedicated caustic sparks to us. Low and dreamy tones, an ivory road which doesn’t cease to peal joyfully, and the accompaniment of a warm and harmonious guitar connected with It’s been a hard day, with a distorted and guttural voice at the beginning of Some day maybe someday. It set the turnings to the guitars covered in pure rock speakers, classic riffs in 60s river beds. Rummaging through the bottom of the box, the last thumbtack to pin on the map was a gift from One way ticket to Saturn (name of the new album) and from there to frenzied madness and mestizo funky; blues loaded with energizing choruses and a thunderous racket accompanied by a final prance from the hands of Julian, giving the last heartbeats to his guitar.
Have you not had enough yet? The second wrapping paper to be smashed was going to go with a railway whistling. Bloody boots enlivened the second theme of the night from the hands of the Milkyway Express. Desert influences and a nostalgic note (“I left my life, I left my home”) for these Sevillians’ alt rock. Their blues sieves, folk and lysergic sheens walked with us through a long set of songs, starting with Penitencia which makes us pinch ourselves, trying to remember the influences of this stoner rock, of which the quick-witted can account for in Carlos (vocals and acoustic guitar) Riverboy’s shirt, and which evokes a middle-aged Black Sabbath. For all those who have ever loved bands such as Cream, Grand Funk Railroad, Buffalo, Mountain, Lynyrd Skynyrd… the bass lines keep us on that railway journey, full of action and wild rock.
With a harmonica drowning in a vintage metallic microphone, the sound that reaches us is rusty, sounds like metallic valves mixed with Carlos’ acoustics and tremendously deep voice. Interpreting songs from their new album PerroRosa, Goodnight butcher takes us to another region of this country landscape. “Well family […] a very good night and long live rock & roll”, the interjection gets us to Hi Hi, which was left without guitars due to technical difficulties that became recurrent throughout their intervention, but which came back to give us a rhythm that could only be followed by the steps of the celebrated vignette by Robert Crumb Keep on truckin’. Whiskey triple X to go through the wealth of registers of Pecado, Something S. Wrong and Lost days that confirm the heavy rhythms, an uncontrollable harmonica and drums which take migraine away. Now, the reproduction of the last part of Lost days was task of a devoted and yelling audience. “Come on, we want to hear you”, Álvaro Aspe’s requests sounded like, at a rough mic while the train strolls towards the cliff and the stage seems to fall down, buried by an avalanche of “rolling stones” with the crepuscular Hot & Dry.
Third note of color. Third and last present, this time courtesy of Lisa & the Lips. After Lisa Kekaula’s lush Afro hair (and an exuberant soul voice which transports us to a rejuvenated Tina Turner), the Lips gather a great deal of experience and talent coming from multiple bands (The Right Ons, Diamond Dogs, True Loves…). The team got up onstage to the rhythm of drumsticks and warning us (“Are you ready?”) about the force of garage rock and the incandescent soul that was upon us. Lisa & the Lips marked a fast succession of songs which they took as starting point, Come back to me and many more from their debut album, titled as the band.
Color, as we said, not only because of that soul that took our breath away, but also because of Henrik Widen’s keyboards, essential in songs such as Black Board and The Pick up (some of the slower ones). A piano which gained prominence in numerous occasions with glides and quick pulses in a display of virtuosity on the part of Widen. When good musicians get together, inevitably, they all end up adding their personal touch of madness. Bob Vennum, Lisa’s bandmate in The BellRays, did not desist from his guitar attacks, while Pablo Pérez jump from the stage to the bass reflex system that surrounded him and positioning himself few centimeters from the audience to go back to an ensemble which moved in an autonomous manner across stage. The brass wind section of David Carrasco (tenor saxophone) and Alex Serrano (trumpet) added that blues brothers touch with their dark glasses and contributions to the cachondeo (joking around) and to the dancing atmosphere which was in crescendo.
As the frenetic rhythm of songs followed, a brutal delirium was unleashed with the most electrifying funk of The Player and Stop the Dj. It was not possible to stop the Dj, in this case, a band which would fall into infinite extension and improvisation to satisfy an audience absorbed in dancing and in the disco dynamic: a frenzied and psychedelic dance, until smashing, first your feet, then your ankles, and coming up to the femur. It looked like that madness had not been enough for a band who had slumped onstage, neither for a congregation of spectators monitoring this hit-the-deck scene, for they got the party up again, in one leap and in unison. A madness which would not cease for an insatiable end-of-party: it took a fulminant and sole comeback to consider the last drink finished, the final punch nip of an anniversary which marked one of the most intense nights of Nocturama.
Translation by Irene Soto.