This year´s edition of Barcelona´s AMFest took place at the Fabra i Coat´s factory building in Sant Andreu. With its capacity of 600 persons and the ability to perform on three different stages, oncluding a waste yard with three food-wagoons and a area to chill, it was a perfect venue for all the participating bands and artists. Reasonable prices for food and drinks, a massive and perfect adjusted sound for all the bands and artists, the line-up and a nerdy and ompetent audience completed this fantastic festival. We knew the big names of the line-up, now we also know the interesting small names of this line-up. Thank you Christina, Nuria and Sergio for your invitation. We appreciate it very much.
Blood Quartet from Barcelona laid a solid and groovy basement for their improvisations on trumpet or guitar. Their music was simultaniously danceable and inharmonic and not predictible.
After a short break of five minutes, Sofa, a postrock trio from Basque Country, performed on the other stage and surprised with complex rhythms, a heavy leading bass, fragile melodies and catchy hooks on the guitar. They didn´t play depressing shoegaze music, it was at least mid-tempi and rocking postrock.
Linalab (Lina Bautista) from Barcelona performed on stage three and we got an other impression that creativity and couriosity create interesting music. Lina took us through trippy soundscapes, some trip hop, urban beats, dub, minimal and we as audience could witness via projection what an analog synthy combined with a multi-effected guitar is able to create different moods, sounds and styles.
The first group I know and really looked forward to see were Soup from Norway. The first example, that you have to see the bands love. Live means more power, 50% more rock´n roll and less discipline and therefore this was an amazing concert.
Thermic Boogie from Barcelona did the local Mantar and they did it with fierce and viral and sheer power. Baptiste on drums and vocals whipped Alberto´s massive sound - just look at his stack - and the crowed just went nuts. Great concert.
Amenra polarise; wheather you like it or you hate it. Their music consists from two poles - loud and mighty and silent and fragile. One of these poles were played just at the precise point when it hurts and the other pole sets in. The members aren´t that important in the band´s black and white aesthetic, concerning the song´s and the sound´s structure. Anyway, Amenra just blast you against the back of any venue.
Moutinity on the Bounty were the re-start after a break and these guys really rock, no matter if they play syncopic or 4/4 or 5/4 or whatelse kind of rhythm. They caught the audience and never let them out during this amazing concert.
All this mindblowing stuff opened for the mindexploding stuff of 65daysofstatic. The Brits blended trip hop, noise, dub, dubstep to an organic whole with changes on the DJ pole and guitar, a mirror of modern society; short breaks, short flows, short fragments glued on a fundament of a massive bass and rhythm.
In respect of the evening line-up, we decided to have some breaks before the storm and Le Son from Barcelona performed in front of Béla Lugosi movies with greek theatre masks a dynamic, slightly noisy Postrock. a good starter for the big day.
Jo Quail on her multiple distorted and effect pushed cello performed abient and spheric sounds and Owen seemed to be a guy invited directly from the Ramblas in Barcelona. Two hours with a bit of free-wheel.
Caligula´s Horse bored after half an hour with an epic progressive rock, just like Creed or similar bands. Yes, all of the members are highly skilled on their instruments, but the music didn´t touch me. So we went tot the nearby library and followed our studies in geology, AI and psychology. We also skipped a storm of light for waiting for Mono, My Sleeping Karma and Toundra.
I prepared me for Mono´s concert in listening a lot of videos on youtube and got just a light impression of this sheer epic and dynamic power of this band. The opener "After you comes the Flood" made me cry and scream throughout the song, although it´s not complex or difficult in its structure, no it´s the mix between a symphonic orchestra and a noise band in the back. So along it went, I stood in the back of the venue, drown in this massive loud and perfectly adjusted sound and enjoied this magnicifent concert. This concert really overtook my expectations.
We saw at meet My Sleeping Karma first in 2011 and after around twenty gigs we also went friends. So no matter which songs they play, for us it seems always the first concert, although we know most of their setlists. So what makes MSK so special?Ttheir changes in dynamic, rhythm and their sing-along themes and hooks, and their perfect timing on stage is that unique for such a long periode we follow them. and if a band manage to make the whole audience dance, you can imagine, what a hell of a concert it was.
Sorry, but My Sleeping Karma´s performance wasn´t the highlight of this evening. Now I know why Toundra is Spain hottest export in music. Their pure fun on playing perfect harmonising guitars, wheather they´re heavy, distorted or clean, pushed by these endless drum fills and undermined by a driving bass. Not just the technical skills of all the band members, also the immense volume and this perfect sound made you groggy. This was the first concert, in which you couldn´t approach to the stage due to narrow and packed rows of spectators.
After yesterday´s blast all went a bit slower and calmer this day. Everybody knew that he got witness to an incredible and intense concert in the past night. Anyway, we were able to appreciate the immense musicality and multi-instrumentalism of Italians Giardini di Miró who played a complex, progrock influenced postrock.
We also appreciated Lisa Morgenstern´s performance and her relaxed and emotional ambient chillout tunes.
Emma Ruth Bundle and her band reminded me on singer-songwriter tradition of Garrisson Star or Yo la Tengo in the mid-90´s. I liked this kind of music during this period. Her song "Control" really caught me by heart and I started to like the music and enjoy the concert.
Crazy enough, that we had to travel to Barcelona to see The Notwist, whose homebase is located 25km from our hometown in Bavaria. I followed their musical development over the past 25 years and I didn´t find a way to their music, although I compose almost similar kind of music. But not with this nerdy attitude and musical skills. It was a pleasure to hear them with all the spectres of their creativity so this was a fine closing of a fantastic festival.