Smile At Fortune [Ger]: Concert in Madrid review, Ocho y Medio Club [Sala But]
Some of you may already have seen my live review of the La Casa Azul concert in Madrid I went to last Saturday (it's here on gig-blog.net). As that review is in German, I decided to write another one in English for those who are interested in reading what La Casa Azul is about and don't understand German. I decided not to simply translate my German text, as it contains some parts that are maybe not so interesting for non-German readers (if you want to get an idea what the German text is about, you may try out to copy & paste it into Google Translator which provides quite satisfactory rough translations for all kinds of languages, I think). Also I felt that I wanted to write more about the music and the lyrics of La Casa Azul and also more about the concert itself as the German text is rather focused on what happened before the concert (we hung out with some wonderful Spanish and Italian friends in a beautiful park and played some music by La Casa Azul and other groups we love). Guille Milkyway/La Casa Azul (Picture by Lluis Domingo/www.elefant.com) La Casa Azul is one of those groups (in fact, it's not a group, but one person) who I felt from the first second I heard their music and saw their videos (I think, the first one I saw was "Como un Fan") that this is something that appeals to me a lot. I don't speak Spanish and for quite a while I didn't really wonder what the lyrics were about, but I always felt that there was something very intriguing and melancholy in this cheerful, high energy music. When the group started out, it was pretended (as far as I understand) that the group in fact consisted of two girls and three boys who were presented as a bunch of good friends playing music. It was of course probably quite obvious to everybody from the beginning that these guys were very likely much too perfect looking to be a real group (and obviously didn't really master the instruments they held in their hands in their videos). La Casa Azul (Source: Luis G. Morais/www.elefant.com) I'm not sure if it was officially "revealed" at some point, that the supposed members of La Casa Azul were in fact actors, but I think it became quite clear in the video for "Esta noche sólo cantan para mí" from the album "La Revolución Sexual" (2007) that the so-called "androids" would now be replaced by the actual artist behind La Casa Azul, songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Guille Milkyway. For quite a while I hoped that I could see La Casa Azul live some day as their music was something that I listened to a lot and that never failed to make me feel incredibly happy (and sad, but in a good way). So I was very, very happy and excited when I got the chance to see La Casa Azul live in Madrid (huge thank you forever toLino who helped to make this happen). The current album "La Polinesia Meridional" which came out in November 2011 to me sounded more amazing than anything I had heard before from La Casa Azul - which for me was completely stunning, because I was so much in love with the incredible energy of "Superguay" (2003) (that fanfare intro!) that to me it seemed quite impossible for someone to write a song that would top that one. I was wrong. "La Polinesia Meridional" is one of those legendary albums where very soon you get to love every single song, where you don't just play one track on repeat and skip the other ones, but where you want to look up the lyrics and sing along to each track, even if you have no clue what it says because you want to get into this album as deep as possible. I could go on to talk extensively about literally every single song on this album because I swear every single one is killing me. It's pretty much impossible to pick one that is "the best" as they are all potential singles with heartbreakingly beautiful, larger-than-life, sing-along choruses, irresistible bridges, hypnotic melodies and explosive climaxes that you want to hear again and again. My current favourites are "¿Qué Se Siente Al Ser Tan Joven?", "ColisiónInminente (Red Lights, Red Lights)" and "Sálvese Quien Pueda" - especially the lyrics of the last one seem diametrically opposed to the happy melody and the cheerful "ooh-oohs" and "aah-aahs" we hear. Here is a translation of the lyrics from Spanish to English, provided by Google Translator: It is the terrible tragedy The post-modern reality The neo-liberal neglect The declining liquidity The new era perverse The wildness of the capital And I'm only able to accommodate myself to contemplate While waiting for the finale the climax The ultimate The unexpected impact The new philosopher's stone salvation gale The blockbuster global The international panacea Do not give me minutiae, we have nothing more So every man for himself this is the end Let's escape across the sea We are ether, are fairies, orgonitas, outer dust The Millennium Falcon The supreme catharsis The spectacular society The avant-garde dying The dystopia is about The world in terminal coma And I'm only able to accommodate myself to contemplate While waiting for the finale the climax The ultimate The unexpected impact The new philosopher's stone salvation gale The blockbuster global The international panacea Do not give me minutiae, we have nothing more So every man for himself this is the end I think this is stunning and beautiful - and it's just one example for those lyrics that are absolutely incredible once you get behind their meaning. Another breathtakingly beautiful aspect of the song is that it already picks up the central musical and lyrical motive of the next song on the album (and the final song) which is the very tender love song "La Niña Más Hermosa". The translation of the lyrics goes like this (again, Google Translator provided this): And suddenly the chaos I've looked into the eyes And I have fallen in the time we've been out talking And shake hands Without telling us the life Much time has passed without laugh, without screaming And I've come to realize That among all the fuss Meanwhile do not hear murmur and sing With your voice is beautiful Your cadence harmonious The love of my life the most beautiful girl Let's escape Beyond the sea We are ether, are fairies, orgonitas, outer dust And than this perfect, sparkling final chord! Wow. What an ending to an album. And now imagine these lyrics sung by a huge crowd of a thousand fans (La Casa Azul sold out two consecutive nights in Madrid). Absolutely touching and amazing. I already included the set list in my German article (you can find it here at the bottom of the article). Guille Milkyway played for 125 minutes and performed 26 songs which I think is extremely impressive - especially considering the fact that he has no real band colleagues to support him. Of course, there are two supporting musicians that stand to the left and the right side of the stage but they are rather motionless and also in disguise, so the audience is completely focused on Milkyway for two hours. And his presence is incredible. He seems rather shy at first, like someone who is pushed to the middle of the stage but then he gives a radiant performance, totally beaming with joy but also hugely professional. On stage, he plays the guitar, the piano and also a white keytar (known to Germans as "Umhängekeyboard"). The only thing he doesn't do is choreography although he would also be able to do that (as shown in the video of "LaRevolución Sexual"). As I already mentioned in my German article, the backdrop consists of video screens, where amazing visuals are shown to every song. This looks absolutely professional, like a piece of art in its own right. The climax of the show is the duet Guille Milkyway sings with singer Silvia Sanz. Sanz ist not there in person but projected on the video screens, wearing a very simply cut black dress and looking very gravely while she contributes her part to "La vida tranquila". Milkyway even adjusts the (real) microphone for her. My co-supporter Carlos René gave me a hint that this would come up before - "There will be a very romantic surprise!" (Picture by Lluis Domingo via gig-blog.net) I think it's maybe not the most important thing to describe the music of a group as you can very easily search for La Casa Azul on the Internet and get an idea what the music sounds like. And in the end, it's of course always a question of taste whether you like a group or not. Still, I want to add a paragraph on that as I sometimes feel that this group confuses some people who are not sure what to make of this music that is so different in sound and style to everything else people are familiar with. Especially the older songs of La Casa Azul sound a lot like 8-Bit and Bubblegum and Japanese Pop. You could maybe listen to the fantastic "Cerca deShibuya" to get an idea. I think this is not as much in the foreground as it used to be in the newer songs - even if they still have an amazing high energy/retro disco pop feel. I would say that La Casa Azul is first and foremost a pop group, influenced by all kind of pop music from the past, especially the 60s and 70s, sunshine pop, disco pop and also 90s Indie and Europop (you can also check out the artists Milkyway references in his lyrics to get an idea of his influences – Blossom Dearie, Karen Carpenter, Terry Melcher, Jeff Lynne and many, many, many more). But in the end, Milkyway comes up with his very own unique style that to me seems futuristic, hyper-realistic, post-modern but also very, very authentic and touching. And I think apart from the fact the I love the music of La Casa Azul as such (which is as unexplainable as why there are some people you like from the first encounter), the fact that this music to me seems very much coming exactly from this time in which we live now is something that I find absolutely fantastic. I always find it hard in all forms of art to find something that doesn’t seem pretentious to me (especially the stuff that is termed “pop culture” very often appears to me quite shallow). Guille Milkyway to me is one of those few artists who dare to go somewhere where no one else has gone before and add a new perspective on what being alive is about. Experiencing this concert, that incredible joy and shared happiness for me was one of the most wonderful moments of my life. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing so much more from Guille Milkway and La Casa Azul.
LOS BONSÁIS: Release a digital single with two previously unreleased tracks and a video for “Serín”
PAPA TOPO: Videos "Sangre En Los Zapatos (Mi Amor)"
ATTIC LIGHTS: Release their second album, “Super De Luxe” on Elefant
THE SCHOOL: Announce first US tour [31 May-13 June]
view all products