The Revolver Club Madrid, April 6-7, 2001 Attendance: 600

On Friday night I attended the Meet & Greet party where two bands were playing and most of the bands appearing the next day were present to be interviewed and to sign items for the fans. The bands that played that night were ICE BLUE and NEXX (both from Spain).

ICE BLUE: This Zaragoza based band plays melodic hard rock ala classic Bon Jovi. The sound was not good, in fact it was rather loud, but the band delivered a good show with both attitude and good musicianship, despite the fact that this was only their second live show. The singer is rather good. I liked them and hope to see them again soon with a better sound. Can't wait to hear their debut album which is being recorded (with some technical difficulties) as we speak and it's to be released through Vinny Records.

NEXX: I like this cover band a lot. And finally I could see them with a decent sound. Patricia, the female lead singer has a voice many would want for themselves and in addition, she has the right attitude, this girl rocks big time. Bernardo is a hell of a guitar player and the rest of the band delivers a very tight and solid base, which is not so easy to achieve. As I said they're a cover band which is not something that the fans around here seems to like. But most of the bands we love started out covering songs from others, and these Madrid based rockers aren't scared by anything, from Bon Jovi to Journey, passing through Whitesnake, Europe, Harem Scarem (Harry Hess himself congratulated Patricia for their cover of "Distant Memory"), and many more. The band also played some of their own stuff that sounded very promising. Hopefully they'll have enough stuff of their own soon in order to seek for a contract. This band deserves it.

Saturday bands:

91 SUITE: The sound wasn't good at all, however these Murcia based melodic rockers delivered an incredible show. They're truly amazing. Especially Jesús, their lead singer. They sound somewhat like early Bon Jovi, but at times Jesús voice reminds me a lot of Eric Martin from Mr. Big. They didn't look nervous at all although they were opening a festival with such great bands; they rocked big time. Excellent stuff and above all perfectly performed. Oh Lord, and they're so young! I tell you this band is a diamond in the rough waiting to be polished, and it seems that Japanese are already aware of that. Their debut that is already in its final stage (mixed by none than Mark Mangold) will be released in Japan prior to its Spanish release. A very good kickstart for the Festival.

ELYTE: Elyte are a band of extremes, when they do good, they're great, but when they do bad they suck. One has to wish they just have their day. The night before the show I talked to Pablo (guitarist) and Manu (keyboardist) and they told me they were eager for the next day, but a bit nervous. "No nerves, go and eat'em alive!" I yelled at them. Well, they went for it all, and everything went right. Julio (vocalist) had his night and so did the rest of the band. These Madrid based melodic hard rockers sounded better than ever (and I have seen them quite a few times live), and just like 91 Suite before them, they set the level really high for the bands to come. They showed that Spanish bands are already on a really good level, that gets better day after day. BEWARE!!!

RAFA MARTIN: This guy has all the ingredients for me to have success: good songs, good sound, good musicians backing him... However I just don't know, he doesn't appeal to me. Seems to me that he lacks this "something" extra that it takes to make it. I think he doesn't have the guts, and he doesn't make any connection to the audience. The so-called Spanish Brian Adams seemed quite a bit out of place in such an event. Boring show. Let's wait for his upcoming album, which is being recorded as we speak, with some help from Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance, who already appeared on Rafa's first album, "Corazón de Hierro". I hope this can be the turning point in his career that he needs these days.

ADRIANGALE: They were announced as the surprise of the Festival, and in fact, they were. What a show! Due to a marketing and image campaign carried out really well by Mr. Kivel, the band slowly gained momentum, generating an increasing expectation since they arrived to Madrid some days ago. And when they went onstage, they tore the house down. They were really great. The somewhat sleazy hard rock this NY rockers play reminds me of the L.A. Sunset Strip of the 80's. Great showmen, especially Jamie Rowe and the bassist, (the drummer deserves to be mentioned too; this guy really rocks!). They left everybody with their jaws dropped. And they ended with Motley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart". A number of fans (supposedly spontaneously) went onstage to sing along with them, but this was nothing but another trick by Mr. Kivel who when it comes to business ain't no fool at all. Sure they're going to sell a lot of CDs from their debut album "Feel the Fire". (Ready or noooooooooooooooot....................... Can you feel the Fireeeeeeeeeeee).

DARE: They fooled people out. Period. They did an acoustic show, just Darren Warthon and his new guitar player Richard ...(sorry can't remember his name). I like Dare, not "that thing" I saw yesterday on stage. Darren's songwriting gets more and more laid back as time goes by, and playing his stuff in an acoustic set as this only deepens my feeling of "too soft", if you know what I mean. The audience had a glimpse of what it could have been if this had been a full band set instead of this "acoustic" thing only at the end of the show, when they played "Abandon". As I said before what I saw on stage was not the real Dare to me. Enough said.

HOUSE OF SHAKIRA: I was the one who suggested the band to José Herrera, the promoter. And after the superb show these Swedish rockers put on, I must say I am very proud of it. They are top level musicians. They sound crystal clear live, they've got the right attitude and on top of that Andreas Eklund is an amazing vocalist. The band played a well-chosen set that was basically based on their superb last album, "III" and they left some tracks from their amazing debut "Lint" for the end, which the crowd seemed to be more familiar with than their latest stuff. The only downside of their show was that they didn't make any connection with part of the audience, probably due to the fact that they're (sadly) very little known over here. I hope to see them again soon here in Spain, and I wish that by then they've gotten the place they deserve in the melodic rock scene, as to me they are one of the most innovative, talented bands to appear in the last five years.

HAREM SCAREM/RUBBER: I can understand die-hard fans of Harem Scarem being disappointed after their show. I was aware of the nature of their show, and besides, I just happen to like the Rubber stuff, (stating clearly from the beginning they're the same guys but a completely different band), thus I enjoyed their show very much. I have never been a fanatic of Harem Scarem. I love their first two albums, (in fact, the only ones I've listened to), but they're not the band of my life. On the other hand, they've got all the right to do the music they want to.

The only point missing here is that they teased the crowd too much, starting to play some Harem Scarem classic and pretending they've forgotten how to play it, which got some of the fans very angry. The thing is that I talked with Harry Hess on Friday for quite some time and he looked a very nice chap to me. Maybe it was their reaction to the fact that they're more than upset of everybody telling them what they should do.
They had a very special moment during the show as they invited Patricia, singer of the above-mentioned band NEXX on stage to sing "Sentimental Boulevard". She did so and it was truly a special moment for her, and this also tells how nice these guys are as individuals, as not every band would let an unknown singer from a Spanish band go on stage with them and sing along a classic of their own.

All in all when one has the chance to see talented musicians like these guys on a stage, one always enjoys (or at least I do) whatever stuff they play. As for the die hard fans of Harem Scarem there will always be the memory of "No Justice" "Hard To Love", "Saviours Never Cry" (my fave HS tune, quite a surprise as I didn't expect they would play it), or above all the amazing version of "Honestly" they did... Oh Lord, Harry Hess is one hell of a singer, ain't he?

It was a really good festival which hopefully will be the first in the row of an increasing number of shows in this genre over here in Spain.

And what an anticipated birthday present for me, who yesterday, Sunday April 8th turned 31. :-)

Jorge Antonaya,