Azkena Rock Festival, public success, not a lot musically | Culture | EUROtoday

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In phrases of knowledge, the twenty second version of the Azkena Rock Festival, which was held in Vitoria-Gasteiz between Thursday the twentieth and Saturday the twenty second, was an unqualified success. The report of attendees was damaged, 50,000 tickets to the venue between the three days; The group was impeccable, the artists carried out professionally and the sound was wonderful. The Basque capital obtained concerned because it all the time does, it merged with the competition and everybody appeared to really feel at dwelling. Until the time he revered the competition. The threatening grey clouds that didn’t disappear didn’t end unloading. It solely actually rained for a few hours on Thursday. The remainder of the time, cloudy and temperatures between 15 and 25 levels, as one Vitorian stated half critically, half jokingly: “This is what we call summer here.”

However, musically this yr's version was flatter than earlier years. We had been unhealthy used to it. Patti Smith in 2022 and Iggy Pop in 2023 gave two spectacular live shows, a type of that depart reminiscences. But this yr it has not been like that. The headliners delivered, however they didn’t shock. On Friday Queens Of The Stone Age had been advantageous, nothing extra. Josh Homme's band didn’t appear to be the identical one which handed by the identical stage greater than 10 years in the past. That one was a steamroller, this one had much less punch and extra swing, nothing to object if it weren't for the truth that it was troublesome to not examine it and it didn't come out nicely. Not as many individuals had been seen collectively on the Azkena as that night time, partly as a result of many individuals had come to see Arde Bogotá, an omnipresent group from Cartagena that was included, not with out some controversy, on this yr's poster.

A moment from the concert of the group Arde Bogotá, at the Azkena Rock Festival.
A second from the live performance of the group Arde Bogotá, on the Azkena Rock Festival.jordi vidal

Festival regulars take very critically who comes every year and argued that the group's guitar pop will not be what they count on from Azkena. They are proper, they’re good musicians, that’s indeniable, however their sound, a direct inheritor to the theatrical and jazzy model of the primary Bunbury, didn’t persuade the skeptics. It's true, they attracted a brand new, youthful viewers. If that’s what was needed, it was achieved. That melon, that of the ever-increasing center age of these attending the Azkena, must be opened sooner or later. L7, the feminine quartet from Los Angeles, which took off within the years of the grunge-, They sound so basic that at occasions they appeared like The Runaways. The younger Spanish promise La Perra Blanco was nice. Redd Kross, veterans of the energy pop, they’d a variety of enjoyable, virtually greater than the viewers. It was an entertaining day however not memorable.

On Saturday the tone was the identical. Many issues, good. None colossal. Nothing a lot occurred on the principle stage. Band of Horses are so bland that there is no such thing as a method to get enthusiastic about them. The pop rock of Sheryl Crow, star of the night time, is so grownup, so polished, so missing in edges that it neither bothers nor impresses. The distinction with the live performance by Mavis Staples, an 84-year-old girl of immeasurable expertise, was curious. Her reside efficiency, presumably the perfect factor about this yr's competition, was all magnificence and knowledge. Sometimes she needed to sit down, as a result of at her age her energy is scarce, however each she and her band gave a lesson in magnificence and magnificence. A couple of meters away, the reunion of The Pleasure Fuckers, the group of the late Kike Turmix, which has gotten again collectively virtually twenty years after his demise, additionally sounded unimaginable. One remembered a rowdy and disorganized group, however this reincarnation with Scott Deluxe Drake as a vocalist was a wonderful punk rock machine.

Redd Kross performance at the Azkena Rock Festival.
Redd Kross efficiency on the Azkena Rock Festival.jordi vidal

If somebody had needed to get an impression of what rock is in 2024 primarily based on the bands on the competition, they’d have come to the conclusion that the youngest ones make exhausting rock psychedelic, just like the Australians Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, a form of more durable model of Tame Impala or the Americans All Them Witches, those coated on this version. Nashville's are psychedelic, martial and hypnotic at their finest. Sometimes they evoke the Pink Floyd of the seventies, different occasions they recall some excessive The Doors, on one event it appeared that they may very well be in comparison with the Swans, however they don’t attain the actual and livid toughness of Michael Gira's band. At least we went dwelling with a scrumptious ringing in our ears, an indication that one thing had occurred. When rock doesn't attain your coronary heart, the least it will possibly do is bodily harass you.

A moment from the L7 concert.
A second from the L7 live performance.Óscar L. TEJEDA

The total feeling of this yr's competition is that it has been a lane contest. An version that won’t be among the many greats. It needed to occur someday. Most of us who attend are so loyal that at this level we don't even think about not returning subsequent yr. Just in case.

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