Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer Live Action: Summercase Festival (Madrid, 18-19/7/2008)

Our last report from the summer festival front for 2008 (and the last post for a while as we are going on a proper summer holiday, the sort that you relax by the beach instead of running from one stage to the other trying not to miss the next big thing) comes from Spain's Summercase. It's a new festival (started in 2006) that takes place simultaneously in Barcelona and Madrid for two days, across four stages. Cool Music Central's fearless team decided to brave the hot spanish sun (it's actually just as hot in Athens, to tell you the truth) and take the trip to Boadilla Del Monte, a suburb of Madrid, to see the likes of Interpol, Kings Of Leon, Grinderman, The Breeders, Primal Scream, The Verve, Sex Pistols, Blondie, CSS, Mystery Jets, Glasvegas, Whitey, Shout Out Louds, Maximo Park, Mogwai and several others.

Before we proceed with the music, here's a small list of the pros and cons of this particular festival, for your consideration: Pros = No rain and no mud, no curfew (the music starts around 5 in the afternoon and continues until 5 the next morning), reasonably priced beer (3 euro). Cons = Scorching heat, dust and gravel (the only place with grass to lie down and relax was in a crowded tend - unless of course you happened to have some other kind of grass on you, in which case you don't really care where you sit), unreasonably priced water (2,5 euro). Oh well, you can't have it all I guess.

And now, the Top 5 performances of the event in pictures (taking of course into consideration only the bands that we managed to see across the four stages):

1. Interpol (19/7)

Seeing Interpol was one of the main reasons for visiting Madrid and they certainly didn't let us down. Sure, the sound could have been better (in my opinion the vocals were low in the mix) and they certainly deserved a higher place in the line up (they played below The Verve and Primal Scream but they had at least as many fans in the crowd), but the hour-long set was utterly enjoyable and packed with hits from all three albums (Obstacle 1, PDA, Evil, Slow Hands, C'mere, Pioneer To The Falls, The Heinrich Maneuver, Mammoth). Top marks also for showing up in suits in this heat. Now, that's what I call dedication!

2. Grinderman (19/7)

Nick Cave is certainly the number one Star of the Summer 2008 Live Action for me. After a magnificent performance with The Bad Seeds in Athens last month, here he is again, in fiendishly good form, with the lean mean rocking machine that is The Grinderman. They play last year's astonishing debut, an album that is already a classic in my mind. Can't wait for album number two, that's due for next year.

3. Kings Of Leon (18/7)

Kings Of Leon are steadily growing and by now they are at the best point of their career so far. Album number three, the rocking "Because Of The Times", is their biggest commercial and artistic success to date and naturally had the leon's share (pun intended) in the hour-long set (Knocked Up, Charmer, On Call), which also included a selection from their old hits (breakout single Molly's Chambers, The Bucket, Four Kicks).

4. The Breeders (18/7)

The Breeders' latest album, "Mountain Battles", is certainly not their best effort and they seem to know it. Their glorious 45-minute set included only a handful of new songs and the majority came from the three previous albums, as well as 1995's "Pacer", that Kim Deal recorded with The Amps (Empty Glasses, Tipp City). Other highlights included Iris, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Cannonball, Divine Hammer. Magnifico!

5. CSS (18/7)

Primal Scream could have taken the number 5 spot but thanks to the stage presence of Lovefoxxx, and her colourful cat-suit, CSS beat them to the punch. The new songs (from the just released "Donkey") sounded fine but it's the old hits off their excellent debut that did the job on this night. (By the way, Primal Scream are well aware of the lack of a Lovefoxxx amongst their ranks and that's the reason they invited her to sing on "I love to hurt (you love to be hurt)" on their fine new album "Beautiful Future".

The Best of the Rest

Primal Scream and The Verve were the headliners on Saturday and did a great job of mixing the old classics with new material from their coming albums ("Beautiful Future" and "Forth" respectively). Sex Pistols and Blondie tried to relive their 70s glory and had some success, thanks to the strength of the material. Still, I prefer to listen to their old albums and appreciate the enormous influence they have on modern music instead of seeing them live in 2008. Mogwai played "Mogwai Young Team" in its entirety and, among the young guns making waves in Summercase 2008, I'd like to give a shout out to Mystery Jets, Glasvegas, Whitey, Shout Out Louds, Los Campesinos! and Maximo Park. For the record Foals, The Raveonettes, Kaiser Chiefs, Edwyn Collins and Ian Brown were some of the other artists on the festival's bill, but unfortunately we didn't get to see much of their performances so we can't make any comments. If you were there, feel free to tell us your opinion.

Interpol - Obstacle 1 (Live @ Summercase Festival, Madrid, July 19th 2008)

Grinderman - No Pussy Blues (Live @ Summercase Festival, Madrid, July 19th 2008)

Kings Of Leon - On Call (Live @ Summercase Festival, Madrid, July 18th 2008)


Rock 'n' Roll Refugee said...

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Anonymous said...

Conseils tres interessants. A quand la suite?