Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday 21st into Thursday 22nd…

Getting into Madrid from the airport is a skoosh now with the advent of the new train. Once you actually get to Metro from the terminal. Apparently it’s only a couple of months old but what a pleasure to be in a place that actually has a workable transit method. When I emerged from the station, there was some drizzle in the air. It was too late for any kind of hook up so getting my bearings in relation to the Hostal, I plumped for a quiet start to the visit. All sorted for a bright and early start.

But let’s just back up here a little and provide some background. Francisco Munster was campaigning for the troops to get together for the return to the ring of those Young Fresh Fellows. As much as I would have loved to have made the entire trip, the long green wouldn’t stretch that far and then there was the thought of doing Madrid only. This gained momentum when I discovered that The Quattros would be playing there with The Yum Yums two days before. All of a sudden it was done and dusted and I was there.

Great to meet all those fabulous Munsters, who didn’t seem to mind me putting them off their work as I waited to surprise Lisa. Another main feature of this was to see Ms Fancher prior to her heading off for more YFF action. It was great to see Inigo again too, it had been too long. Afterwards that gave me a couple or three hours to stake out the locale prior to my rendez with BB on the "Plaza del Cho Cho" sometime after 6pm.

Madrid is a helluva city as I’ve reported before and having the chance to explore was a treat. Big diff compared to being there a little over a year ago for a mere matter of hours. So I duly met Captain Quattro and we headed in the direction of a very agreeable little cafĂ© where I would encounter The Yum Yums. Always dug their music but now I love ‘em even more knowing that they’re as solid a bunch of twisted citizens as I’ve ever been fortunate to meet. With them was Paul Collins who would join ‘em on stage later for a couple of uberpop classics he penned way back that have since become staples. So after a small libation, it was back to my temporary HQ (just along from the Museum of Ham) to prepare for what would be a long, groovy night.

It was an honour to meet Marcela, the first lady of El Sol. Quite possibly the greatest gig venue on earth with audiences that can clearly rival Glasgow. I hadn’t realise it had been there for 30 years. Time sure flies when big fun is being had in the bayou. To have this place in such close proximity to the one and only Wurlitzer Ballroom is nothing short of amazing. Plus you can scope out the hookers on the way to and from. What’s not to be addicted to?

There are no crash barriers. The audience is free to interact with the band but there’s no menace or security vibe. These kids can police themselves and yes, the odd beer might go flying but that’s all part of the sense of occasion. It’s a privilege to be in a place where health and safety hasn’t sucked the life out of the room in the name of wrapping people in cotton wool. A positive example of just how things can go with the right attitude.

Showtime and it was an auspicious occasion for Suzy and Co because it was the first show with Marky, the guy who is replacing Joey. It was also the last time that Joey would join them onstage so it was a kind of passing of the baton. Here’s a combo that can segue. Don’t you hate going to see bands that lurch from one song into an extended footer about? Not these kids. Not even with breaking in a new guy. Just great.

The Yum Yums are effervescence supreme. It’s not entirely clear why they aren’t a brand name or even a corporation such is the gargantuan nature of their tuneage. Hit after smash hit sound being battered out of the park. They too were breaking in a new member, their drummer Ulf. This was his second show, his first in front of such a rabidly up for it audience maybe.

“Buenos Nachos” was Morten’s intro before he and AndrĂ© hit eighth gear with Egil’s bass propulsion providing the ballast. And woah - Vibeke - a secret weapon and a half if ever I saw and heard one. With more positive energy than I think I ever saw exude from anybody ever.
By the end of the set there were dozens of people on stage and no apoplectic bouncers trying to deal with it. I guess that’s the difference between Spain and this dump in essence. Right there.

If you add Caroline Andersen to the mix, ably assisted by Line and Stine then you have a pneumatic cheerleading squad to die for. These gals have all the moves and a few besides. Just incase. I'm sure Tura Satana is very proud.

From there to the Wurlitzer Ballroom whereupon I was manning the decks for a wee return bout in honour of the two world-beating ensembles that had just played around the corner. A grand time was had by all and Alvaro made us very welcome. I recall Line saying something to me about Vibeke’s “rhythm machine” and handing me her mobile phone. Played some more when BB split and the natives were beginning to get restless due to a lack of Led Zep or Joy Division on my playlist. I deserve a good hard kick up the rectum for the lack of Redd Kross and Slade though. That was unforgiveable.

Looking at my watch I figured that maybe that fact that it was 5.20am was causing some static. When I left there a little after 5.30am the joint was absolutely jumping. No doubt happy that Alvaro was back on the music. So I sauntered down and through Puerto El Sol to my temporary bunker and crashed out having had a thoroughly rocktastic night.

So let’s log this as end of part 1. Somewhere just prior to 6am on Friday 23rd October. Or. Er. Thereabouts. I'm going to have another crack at watching the Krautrock doc that I fell asleep during last night now