Cala Mijas – Mijas (Malaga)

Nick Cave

From electronics, to pop-rock and eternity

A new festival has been born on the Costa del Sol and it is here to stay. Resounding success of Cala Mijas, where more than 100,000 people have enjoyed three exciting days of fun and high-end music. All in a perfect environment for a great festival of these characteristics to grow and rub shoulders with the best. Surrounded by nature, with a skyline of mountains and not far from the sea, the sunsets merge with music and the moons merge with mirror balls.

Three days to get carried away and get lost in the sound sea, with four scenarios to explore: La Caleta, where a continuous rave reigns, among trees and under the stars; and the three main stages, Renault, Victoria and Sunrise. The headliners of each day pass through the latter, a stellar trident on which our road chronicle focuses.

As the only “snag” and collective request to the festival: the artificial grass crescents attached to the stages fall short. For the next edition, it would be appreciated if it were extended throughout the venue, as other macro-festivals do, thus avoiding the uncomfortable clouds of dust and puddles of mud, gaining a lot of comfort.

Arctic Monkey Thursday and Dance Floor on Fire

Before and after Alex Turner and his Arctic Monkeys turn the festival upside down, we enjoy the omnipresent and chameleonic gourmet electronica that beats at all times in Cala Mijas. From that synthesized pulse that transforms the ground we walk on into a burning dance floor, on Thursday’s opening day, we highlight three names that shone above the rest: The sensuality and elegance of Róisín Murphy, the heartfelt electronic spirituality of Chet Faker and, to finish us off, Bonobo’s enveloping storm of electronic sounds, drenched in ethnic and tribal rhythms. A sound spaceship featuring an immense wind and percussion session, with vocalist Nicole Miglis appearing on stage and the surprise of the night: Chet Faker joining Bonobo in an unforgettable “No reason”.

Arctic Monkeys

Four years since the last time Arctic Monkeys visited Spain (Mad Cool and Primavera Sound) and the expectation on the main stage grows and grows long before the show. Thousands and thousands of fans take positions and tune throats to leave their voices in each anthem of Turner and company. In the countdown to the release of “The Car” (October 21), their long-awaited seventh album, this Malaga date seems like one of the last opportunities to listen to classics from their latest works, before they refresh the set list with Pieces from the new album that is coming soon, from which they premiere “I ain’t quite where I think I am”, leaving in the air the vintage and slow-burn trail of its predecessor “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” (18). But, long before that, with just a few chords of the initial and hypnotic “Do I Wanna Know?”, we irremediably fall into their nets and, after that first irresistible swagger, the shooting of sharper hits bursts our chest over and over again. time. From the lethal rhythm of “Brianstorm” and “Crying Lightning”, to the stinging “Teddy Picker”, going through those neon tentacles of “Potion Approaching” from which it is impossible to escape. They rock us back to their whim with “Cornerstone” and, if in the next blink we cling to the sizzling guitars and shimmering chorus of “That’s Where You’re Wrong”, before we know it, we’re bitten in the neck with a explosive “Pretty Visitors” that is pure muscle and nerve.

From the band’s latest work to date, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” (18), where Alex Turner gave free rein to his crooner soul, they give us today the seductive breeze of the title track and “One point perspective” as the first encore of the evening, with the musicians sweating soul and jazz in total harmony.

Those from Sheffield touch the sky and burst it with a stratospheric rendition of “Do me a favour”, with Matt Helders hitting the eye of the hurricane with his drumsticks, causing a non-stop earthquake that makes Mijas wobble from end to end. Before and once again, the band to the open grave on “The View from the Afternoon” and instant combustion on “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”.

There is time to goosebumps with “505” and to continue polishing one of his best latest albums, “AM” (16), first with the highly chanted and suggestive “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and “Knee sock” and, point-blank, with the two final encores: an “Arabella” with an aftertaste of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, and the eternal fire of “RU Mine?”, with more than 20,000 people screaming in unison .

Nick Cave

Friday of apocalypse and salvation with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

The sky began to darken ahead of time, the wind was violent and some clouds began to cry as omens of what was to come…

But before the good news of the Australian preacher and his bad seeds, we vibrate with the impure roots of Queralt Lahoz and the exciting electrical storm of Maria Arnal and Marcel Bagés, perfect opening act for the apocalypse that is coming. Meute’s “don’t stop the carnival” also left its mark on us, with its surprising and contagious mix of New Orleans jazz and electronic rhythms, based on percussion and thousand winds through the veins. They surprise and draw a smile from ear to ear even to the sun, which asks the moon for an express extension, clinging to the endless party of the German big band.

The wind continues to howl and a God who exudes fire and brimstone descends to Earth with his band of fallen angels, to begin his liturgy of tears, love and redemption with a raging “Get ready for love” that passes over us. We are already out of breath and we will not touch the ground again until the end. From the dazzling energy of “There she goes, My beautiful world”, with the entire choir and Bad Seeds under her wings, to the beautiful and painful darkness of a “From her to eternity” that scratches us from the inside. We may not make it out of this superhuman roller coaster of intensity alive, but it will have been worth the ride.

We breathe in the beautiful “O Children”, with Cave on piano, and see him “transform, vibrate, float and fly” in “Jubilee street”. He does not stop running and letting himself fall on the public, who supports him and stretches out his hands to merge with his, in search of meaning to the nonsense, of love and passion with an open heart. At 64 years old, elegant and wild, jacketed and shirtless, with a deep voice that seems to come from the throat of a thousand dragons or from the center of the earth, he seems to need more than ever the connection and warmth of his audience… And the thing is, few or none, we would have survived and continued with the supernatural force that he exudes, with his personality and magic intact, like a mythological character who breaks and rewrites the pages of his own Greek tragedy… He survived being buried in 2016, after a tragic death, his 15-year-old son Arthur and, since then, record by record and concert by concert, he has tried to walk barefoot through the flames of such a bitter loss. But no, when it seemed that he was coming out of the depths of the duel and signing a small truce with his demons, destiny, bastard and cruel, marked his cards again with the worst of blood and the curse is repeated: Last May , his 31-year-old son Jethro also dies. No one would have blamed him for suspending all tours or even escaping to another planet forever, but he has decided to share the mourning with us and we will not let him down. We will breathe, we will cry and we will continue sharing heartbeats, following the indications of those cries and mantric whispers that he repeats throughout the show: “breathe, breathe, breathe!”, “Cry, cry, cry!” and “boom, boom, boom!”

The lump in the throat is maximum with the overwhelming beauty of “I need you”, dedicated to Arthur on his masterful sixteenth studio album with The Bad Seeds, “Skeleton Tree” (16), followed by the healing breeze of “Waiting for you”.

The flame grows again and his poetic universe attacks with a possessed “Tupelo”, followed by the masterpiece (and very popular lately for being the head of the fucking “Peaky Blinders”) “Red Right Hand”, in which a girl from the audience to the catwalk and they dance together.

We do not run out of air in the contained intensity of each phrasing of “The Mercy Seat” and it gives us an extra life, rocking to the last star, with “The Ship Song”, from that “The Good Son” (90) that now hurts plus.

Nightmares, that never sleep, grow like vines of lightning that embrace us in a magnetic “Higgs Boson Blues”, for which we would have sold our souls a thousand times not to end, followed by the harmonica that makes the embers grow in a riotous “City of refuge” that wins whole and sparks live.

The Bad Seeds sound immeasurable and all together, with the choir and a new multi-instrumentalist as inseparable links in the family, but Nick’s “brother” and partner in adventures and misadventures deserves a special mention, Warren Ellis, a key player since his arrival and compass in these terrible duels that he has had to live. They close, precisely, with a piece from the album they signed together, the spectral and redemptive “White Elephant” from “Carnage” (21).

They leave, but they come back, and after the four encores, they will never go away completely: very exciting and naked “Into my arms” on the piano, alone on stage, a recovered “Vortex” in which we melt and explains the need to feel the human warmth as the only possibility of healing, the atmospheric hope that floats, between lights and shadows, with “Ghosteen”, and a “The Weeping Song” that stops the hands of the clock and resets the counter to zero so that we continue the match.

After reaching eternity with Nick Cave, there is no other choice but to continue and that is what makes the night, where two legendary electronic proposals stand out: the pioneers of the Kraftwerk genre, painting reality in 3D and computerized rhythms; and the apotheosis with The Chemical Brothers, with alien visuals and a barrage of classics that makes even those who thought they were dead dance. Humming “Hey Boy Hey Girl” we go back home to recharge our batteries.

Liam Gallaher

Nostalgia Saturday, Brit-Pop and Rock n Roll Star with Liam Gallagher

The top electronic proposals at a national and international level continue to make us turn our eyes as if they were mirror balls: From the duende of Soleá Morente, to the genuine power of Fuel Fandango, with Ale at the controls and the powerful voice of a Nita as goddess of spring and all other seasons; going through the skin-deep electronic sensibility of a colossal James Blake, the magnetism and class of Caribou, and the final space madness of the Norwegians Röyksopp.

But, Saturday’s boss has a lot of rock n roll attitude and plenty of bravado… It could be two, but no, and thousands of clues give us the innumerable Oasis t-shirts and hats that made the Cain and Abel of English music fashionable.

Liam Gallagher, in a flowered hooded anorak, fresh from the tribute to Taylor Hawkins at Wembley, where he sang “Rock n Roll Star” and “Live forever” hours before, comes on stage and lights the fuse with an eternally young voice and a trio of aces: “Morning Glory”, “Hello” and “Rock n Roll Star”. Three from Oasis at the center of the target of the collective sentimental unconscious.

With a huge band, backing vocalists and up to three guitars delivering lightning bolts and lightning bolts included, he continues with the brightest of his solo songbook, from which songs like that first hit, “Wall of Glass”, the sing-alongs “C’mon You Know ” and “Better Days”, the very funky and psychedelic “Diamond in the dark” or Beady Eye’s “Soul love”. The public embraces him and follows him in each chorus, especially in the songbook that he signed with Noel: overflowing emotion with “Stand by me” and extra energy and vital bonus with “Roll it Over” and “Slide away”. Before we rubbed our ears and eyes with “Eleven”, in which the omnipresent spirit of The Beatles is more present than ever and even Lennon seems to applaud from somewhere.

Karaoke and emotions continue to derail in a finale that leaves a mark: “Wonderwall”, “Live forever” and a “Champagne Supernova” in which we float to outer space and beyond.

First edition to remember. Long live Cala Mijas.

Text and photos: David Pérez Marín

Cala Mijas – Mijas (Malaga)