Sand in the boots | Revista independiente de música

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Sand in the boots

Inside the proliferation of crowds at festivals, seasons and summer schedules in Barcelona, the theater hall considered the most alternative by the city council itself, has premiered a program of 4 days of pop music called Festival A tocar. The venue FlyHard, located at Alpens street, 3, in the neighborhood of Sants, contains a reduced dramatic space with the audience positioned in two sides which makes up one of its charms: enjoying a privileged situation to live together with the spectacle being carried out. With a simple character, but elegant, for such occasion the date is with the Anglophone singer-songwriter from Barcelona, and settled in Valldoreix, Àlex Torío, who has a very extensive musical trajectory which goes back to the 90s, a long recording career with 5 albums released: Last Year's Man (2002, Sinnamon Records), Magic Wand Side Effects (2003, Sinnamon R.), The Lame Novia (2005, Sinnamon R.), Principia Mathematica (2010, Picap) and Ghosts of Comala (2012, Columna Música), and, although with a high-profile part as a radio and TV team member, unfortunately, still quite unknown by the general public.

On this occasion, Àlex Torío sitting at the piano, accompanied by Arcadi Marcet at the double bass—musician also for Roger Mas, Abús and Guitó Plays Guitó— and Jordi Farreras at the drums—Kitsch, Steven Munar, and a very long etc—, gave us a fantastic setlist centered around his last record Ghosts of Comala. This album is a sound adaptation with songs and instrumental pieces inspired in its entirety by the novel Pedro Páramo, by the Mexican Juan Rulfo, published in 1955, and which marked the end of the revolutionary novel.

Just as the protagonist of the night himself announced at the beginning “maybe it would have been a good time to switch to Spanish” since the original work is in Spanish. But once you are used to the Torío universe, to his magic wand and his side effects, he guided us through the different plots without avoiding spoilers “because everyone has to have already read this marvelous book” belonging to the fantasy realism of the Latin American narrative.

I won’t tell the novel here, since for that, there are still some bookstores left, but I will say that the brilliant version by Àlex Torío, with its coarse and melancholic character and its runaway irony, creates passages that immerse you in the desert dust, the sand in the boots, the arid towns, the parties at the interior villages near the border, and characters who have lost their horse, heir woman, their inheritance, their house, or that hug a piece of wood as if it was a lost son. Once he went over the whole album, excluding the instrumental pieces, Torío decided to make an aside to dedicate a song to the youngest attendee in the audience before, in case she would fall asleep. By way of lullaby, alone at the piano, he dedicated to his daughter Ginebra what surely is the artist’s first song of his own in catalonian to be played live, turning it into the tenderest and most moving moment of the night, contrasting only with Torío’s humor once the song was finished, with the remark “how folclórica I feel”, clearly referring to this genre’s (flamenco) custom of introducing the children on stage.

He went on to approach the final stages interpreting four magnificent songs, from the rest of the albums he has released, as a kind of regression. Thus we could enjoy again live the masterpiece Waiting On The Deck, from their fourth album, the glorious The Last Dive from the more critically acclaimed third album, And, Moreover, She's a Beautiful Thing from the first album, to end with the more optimistic composition from the second album, and surely from his entire discography, Such a Beautiful World. A beautiful ending for a soiree that made our spirits dance deeply.

Next show: 09/09/14  07:30p.m., Centre Cívic Pati Llimona, Barcelona.


Translation by Irene Soto.