I am not necessarily a big away follower when it comes to shows, i prefer the smaller clubs in Hamburg. Some of me mates tend to go wide and far for mu-sick but that itch rarely get’s me: All attempts to lure or shanghai me to Blackpool for Rebellion just did not succeed. That said, there are some mu-sick-al items that make me at least listen. And so i did listen to the proposal of seeing the Descendents twice on this years short European Tour despite my dislike for festivals per se.
The destination was Barcelona and the weekend was going to be a long one, fly in on Friday and leave on Sunday. That gave time for us to see something more, including for me visiting an old work mate that got stuck in Barcelona 14 years ago and never got around to leave.
Following an easy flight out our little travel group split apart, my two friends went to town to dine with others of the Punk Rock Hamburg travel circus and i went down south and suburban to Castelldefels to see me mate.
Out there in the suburban homes of Castelldefels (c) gehkacken.de)
Out there it is indeed very very nice: Beach, Mountains (with Foxes not on the run) and many Football Player homes. We had a great Dinner at the local Marina and loads of chatting about work, life and family. And whilst i took the scenic route out with Public Transport (for cheap € 2,20) i choose the taxi home as the last bus was gone when we parted.
Next day we met late and did some scouting through the city in damn heat. It is nice but it is also very much a tourist destination – very crowded. We strolled around until we gave in and rested for cold drinks and food in a local cafe.
Following a nap in the strategically located Hotel near the venue we took on to get a bite and then into the proceedings. Proceedings that were going to be lengthy but hey, never complain.
We screwed up eating, as the place we choose was actually part of the location and thus did not serve as we thought. Never mind, food is overrated, so into the Poble Espanyol and drinks it was.
The location was uphill and an artificial Spanish town yard … and well empty when we arrived.
Up on stage where La Inquisición, a young local band. They had the fun to play vs. the sun and for a rather empty space. They got some cheers but did not manage to impress me. I guess that stage and that emptiness was just too big for them.
Next on A Wilhelm Scream and as they did not impress us on Tuesday in Hamburg we happily let them go. Watching them from the distance (as far as it got actually) we all concluded that they are just not what we like nor need.
Gatillazo took stage next and they seemed to be local heroes. Not only a couple of shirts where to be seen in the audience but also loads of sing-a-long by the locals.
For us it was complicated: We do not speak the local language and we just do not understand what they are singing about. Luckily the singer was a bit single minded and from his many wanking gestures we at least where able to conclude it was either about lone male teenage sex or something similar. And we made out some potentially negative comments about the police and about Real (as in Real Madrid). From a musical perspective there where most likely the equivalent to Fun Punk.
Final local heroes where CRIM, who already have a name outside Catalonia and Spain. They had a huge fan base in the audience, the number of people with a CRIM shirt was by the hundred.
And they have it: Good and mu-sick-ally more complex songs and an impressive voice by the singer. For them it was sing-a-long by the full crowd (sans the foreigners) and plenty of applause. Whilst they sport a particular bad logo they have something, that little difference. I will definitely check out their vinyl output and will get something from them into my collection.
By now we had 4 bands done and it was time to take account: Beer was good, plenty and cheap. Water was plenty and ever cheaper. The locals consumed red wine with ice and … the food was piss-poor. Damn. Outside there are so many good places for perfect food and up there … aarrgghhh. After a short trial we stayed with liquid food which given the heat was anyway better.
And whilst the sun gently came down it was Sick Of It All who had to play a stage that still did not need artificial light, a setting that for me was a wee bit strange.
And with them a different league and a different sound took the place: Much harder, much more paced and – if you ask me – in absolute perfection. On top Lou, as ever, took every effort to engage the audience. For me this was one of the highlights and i do look forward for them to return to Hamburg with their new record, if i got the rumors right then that will be like January 2019.
What was also nice was that they had two little girls (i guess family) up there dancing happily on the huge stage and with these funny kid ear protectors. I loved that view and that sheer joy!
Next Mr. Biafra who was anounced locally as more Dead Kennedy than School of Medicine, something that actually is unfair to his band.
I am not a huge fan of his recent output but i am a huge fan of his early stuff, be it DK or his collaborations with D.O.A. (was there ever a more epic punk rock song than Full Metal Jackoff?) and with LARD. My judgement thus was reserved and whilst i tried to ignore his (this time short) lectures i did have to recognise that his backing band has some very gifted musicans. And when they play old DK songs and the lead guitar goes into the East Bay Ray type of flittering guitar, allmost surf, then i am sold against my own will!
By now the yard was full but not full capacity, there was still enough room to roam around, get drinks, get to the front and get accross. I have no clue about the capacity but we guessed it was 2.500 folks attending.
The audience itself was rather young and what did stand out was that a) whereever you stood there was like 20 young girls with krickel-krackel tattoo’s around you and b) the same amount of people (male and female) with spider net tattoo’s on their elbow. And on top i could not stop noting that about more than 50% of the female contingent in the audience actually sported lipstick. All in all the audience was very friendly and we felt absolutely great to be part of it.
Next on the reason for
existence being here: Milo. Stephen. Karl. Bill. And they lured us into the front row so that we can live our groupie life.
The set was about the same as in Hamburg, just a couple of newer songs where removed. What was stunning to see (and hear) was that like 80% of the audience was able to sing-a-long to the songs. And the older the songs, the louder the singing. We felt totaly home in the crowed and we did love every single second.
Fun moment was when Milo decided to leave the stage and realized that there were no steps down … after some head scratching he decided to just jump the 2 meters. And whilst he did so the Descendents Crew rolled their eyes about that unplanned stunt that also got the mic cable into trouble.
Double-fun was to see Milo realizing only after finishing his close contact combat with the audience that missing steps down also mean missing steps up. First he tried to lift himself, then he resortet to the stage rig on the side and with some gentle help of a photographer he made it back up again.
I loved it even more than in Hamburg, as the set – due to time limits of the stage slots – was tighter. And that benefitet the net result. And i am now sure that the next time they will be in Europe i will consider an even wider round trip to stalk them.
With that i was well exhausted though not loaded. Me and me friends strolled back and decided to see Cock Sparrer from the distance and with some final drinks.
Cock Sparrer most likely got the loudest sing-a-long (at least on their old hits) and most of the audience moving. What i did like was the option to see them sans idiots and their twin guitar work (i think that remains one of the best around). What i do not like is that they somehow evolved into something that is a wee bit Status Quo like: Same sound, same rythm, same gestures.
Long after 02:00 it came to and end, we left after the first encore from Cock Sparrer and whilst strolling down to our hotel slowley i think i heard another encore – but we were thoroughly done.
It took a loooong sleep and a late breakfast to get us going again, this time for a final sightseeing effort.
Out there in the Parc Güell (c) gehkacken.de)
Parc Güell, designed by Gaudi, is one of the attractions and given it’s hilltop location it also provides grand views and some fresh air. We strolled around, we saw the construction work on the monument and we resorted to a silent corner with some shadow to rest. And we all came to the conclusion that not only Barcelona was a lovely town that warrants a longer stay outside the main summer period but that it also was a great show.
With that in mind we took home and with some delay we arrived happy and tired at home sweet home.
nb: If we would have been super eager we could have joined the warm-up show too but that would have been another show into the wee of the morning. And thus we did give a pass to this opportunity (though Penny Cocks and Violets would have been great assets for the main event too).