There’s something rumbling in the Valencian underground, and we’re not talking about the shoddy metro system…
We left the ingeniously-dubbed Festunizer day-of-mayhem last October with feelings that maybe we were on the cusp of something big, something new. There has been a recent boom in hardcore/math rock/punk bands hailing from Valencia and we are quite literally witnessing a shift; a new scene is being born. This could change everything…
00:30am 27/10/13: Magazine club, in the Juan Llorens neighbourhood of Valencia, has just witnessed a 12 hour indie-punk-hardcore mash-up gig spectacular with short interludes for paella and pizza. Sounds idyllic, right? The event was organized by Valencian post-hardcore trio Betunizer to present their new album, Gran Veta, and they invited a whole hoard of rock-band friends along for the ride. Cue Negro, Alberto Montero, Picore, Lefty Wankers, Unicornibot, Za!, No More Lies and Nueva Vulcano reducing Magazine to a sweating, dancing, crowdsurfing sea of inebriated bodies – with special praise reserved for organizers Betunizer. Whoever came up with the BetunizerFestival nickname/play-on-words “Festunizer”, well, well done you! And say the name of the venue right, guiris, it’s Ma-ga-thee-neh, got it?
Also present at the Festunizer were punk rock duo Cigüeña, who last weekend played in an unjustifiably small venue in Sedaví with newcomers Césped de Verdad. As I write this, your sticker of a nun suggestively eating an ice-cream is stuck on my laptop – gracias. Despite some issues with the sound system (sort your mics out, Pub Darkness!), the bar was alive with raw energy.
ATZAVARA CLUB // Facebook
An event similar to the Festunizer took place last summer in Sant Feliu de Guíxols: the 14th edition of the legendary Sant Feliu Fest. Always heavy in local punk and hardcore bands, this small “DIY” festival just north of Barcelona is organized by l’Associació TZVR at the Atzavara Club. And, of course, we cannot talk about Sant Feliu without mentioning the come back of the mighty No More Lies. The hardcore legends are back after a whopping 9 year break, and they’re back with a vengeance. This came as great news for longtime fans of the band who fly the flag for hardcore in Catalonia. Go and listen to their new album, In The Shade of Expectation right now, go on! Another big name on the Sant Feliu Fest bill was Nueva Vulcano, who also announced their long anticipated comeback. The punk rock giants are back for their first release in 4 looooong years. Valencian band Cuello, with vocals by Jose Guerrero of Betunizer fame, also joined the line-up as well as local indie band Bullitt. With this last paragraph in mind, maybe this article should have been called “East Coast underground” instead? *throws East Coast gang sign*
Another band that doesn’t quite fit the same genre as the rest of the names here are garage punk rockers Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! led by erratic warbling frontman Juanito Wau. Possibly one of the first Valencian bands that I was introduced to, Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! have earned a special place in my heart, and my Spotify playlists, and never ever disappoint live.
Maybe the consistent high quality and closeness of some of the bands mentioned can be put down to the fact that many members were, or still are, playing in one or more groups. The Tracahombres guitarrist plays in Cuello. The Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! drummer plays in España. The Betunizer frontman sings for Cuello and also plays bass in electro-psychadelic group Jupiter Lion…
Before I moved to Valencia I was used to having both national and international rock and indie bands frequently tour nearby cities. As an avid gig-goer, my first thoughts when I moved to Spain 3 years ago were that the rock scene wasn’t as prominent as the one that I’d grown up in. But now it looks like all that is about to change, with many bands being brought to the area by Barcelona-based record label BCore and label/booking agency La Castanya. I can only thank you guys for the joy of dancing to Nueva Vulcano in La Residencia as the clock struck midnight on my 26th birthday.
Maybe it’s the fact that Valencia was previously infamous for its laughably awful Ruta del Bakalao phase… But let’s hope the Valencia underground scene changes all that.
Últimamente, la canción Happy de Pharrell Williams ha puesto música a dos vídeos, parecidos en su forma pero muy distintos en su fondo, que tienen como protagonista la ciudad de Valencia.
El primero de ellos pretende ser una forma amable de reivindicación de una ciudad que no se encuentra en sus horas más altas. En él aparecen monumentos y localizaciones emblemáticas con personas bailando que se muestran de lo más alegres. No se trata ahora, en estas cuatro líneas, de desmerecer el trabajo y la buena voluntad de los autores del vídeo, pero el mensaje que de él se desprende no deja de resultarnos demasiado autocomplaciente. No se nos quita de la cabeza que parece querer decir algo así como: ”pase lo que pase, los valencianos siempre estamos happy”, o, en otras palabras, que somos gilipollas.
Dándole la vuelta a la propuesta, se ha realizado otro vídeo en forma de parodia que pone el acento en los aspectos menos happy de la ciudad: desempleo, corrupción, especulación urbanística, barrios degradados, etc. Se da la paradoja de que algunos de los escenarios de ambos vídeos se solapan o hasta son los mismos, pues muchas de las obras emblemáticas y grandes eventos son, precisamente, el resultado de los pelotazos y el despilfarro que tanto han abundado en los últimos años. No es el momento ni el lugar de hacer un repaso exhaustivo de la decadencia que está experimentando Valencia, pero nos parece que esta segunda versión se ajusta más a una realidad que es desagradable y manifiestamente mejorable. A estas alturas de la película, ya deberíamos saber que el conformismo y la autocomplacencia, aunque resulten más simpáticos, solo conducen al desastre.
Spike Jonze continues to reel us in with his recent spate of emotional movies. This time it’s sci-fi romantic drama Her – here’s why it’s great…
Let’s take a look at the film in a nutshell: Man reluctantly divorces wife. Man is sad. Man mopes around and broods intensely. Man installs new state-of-the-art Operating System onto his computer. Man falls in love with computer, resulting in a vague moral ending.
A strangely satirical comment on modern day society, don’t you think? The funny thing is that the events in the film actually have quite a high chance of happening in the not-so-distant future. Instead of walking around with their heads down tip-tapping on a smart phone, citizens of 2025 LA all speak to their personalized Operating Systems via an ear piece – forever connected to their artificially intelligent best friend…or lover. And, of course, who wouldn’t fall in love with a computer with the voice of Scarlett Johannson?
Just seen this picture, very good! Let us not forget all the Brits who emigrant to other countries such as Spain; don’t learn the language, adopt their customs or anything!
As a Moroccan-Brit who grew up in Spain, I can confirm that white brits have the exact same attitude towards non-white immigrants in Spain as they do towards them in the UK. I got called a ‘paki’ and to ‘go back to terrorist land’ when i was 9.. In Spain.. by a British kid, who was born in Britain but lived in Spain, just like me.
I always find it very ironic when they complain about Islamic schools in Britain etc when only in my city (Valencia) we have at least four different British schools and there are entire areas of my region where shops actually advertise that they speak Spanish because of the high concentration of British people living there. Like, they even have Iceland and other British shops in Spanish soil.
"If I had my way London would be independent and the rest of the UK would live in harmony together, drinking tea and talking about the weather. David Bowie even jumped on the bandwagon last week when he used his Grammy win to beg (through the fashion world’s very own Dalai Lama, Kate Moss): “Scotland, stay with us!” Sorry, Dave, but you said it yourself: Rule Britannia is out of bounds."
According to a recent study, Valencia currently boasts 6 bars per 1000 inhabitants – and it’s not hard to see evidence of this as soon as you step foot outside your flat. Stroll through Plaza Xúquer on any evening of the week and you’ll pay testament to the amount of bars that line the streets of Valencia, and busy bars at that. Head out on a Friday or Saturday night and you may even struggle to get a table if you haven’t booked.
One of the night-out hotspots of Valencia City has to be the San José district of Valencia, more commonly referred to as Plaza Xúquer which tends to go hand in hand on the night out agenda with neighbouring square Plaza Honduras, just north of Avenida Blasco Ibáñez. Once a standalone district and separated from the city, San José is a hub of nighttime activity. The popularity of the two squares may be put down to the fact that they are very close to the universities as well as some of the main nightclubs.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights of the two bustling plazas: