Archive for the 'Music' Category
The Pows Get My Vote For Rocking The Church

Luck triumphed over a lack of publicity when the nostalgic guitar sound of The Kinks classic “You Really Got Me” grabbed my ears as I wandered back from my Los Cristianos beach swim. A quick word with the lead singer gave me the joyous news that The Pows were warming up for a Friday night free performance on the steps of Los Cristianos church later in the evening.

I’ve been a long time fan of Pornosurf, who started out doing covers of The Ramones, and was keen to see The Pows who have evolved from the El Medano based rockers. Originally not a poster or banner could be seen to promote the evening gig but some publicity had appeared an hour later when I returned. It turned out to be a promotional night for the new Movimiento Del Pueblo party, ahead of the local council elections a week later. They were also raising awareness of the political crisis that is ripping Venezuela apart, strong ties exist between the Canaries and the South American country and it is often referred to as the 8th island due to decades of movement between the two continents. Pressing local needs were also being addressed through food collections for the El Fraile food bank, La Buena Estrella, and Caritas, the catholic charity that does so much good work. More advance publicity would have helped all those causes and attracted more than the small gathering of curious passers by as the first band Meneses kicked off the evening.

Meneses started with some quite obscure old rock in Spanish, good stuff though, and they mixed in some classics like Queen and The Police covers. The event was aimed at a mix of nationalities, the MDP leaflets were in Spanish and English, they are actively targeting the ex pat voters. A friend enlightened me, the Meneses singer,Arturo, performs at The Moonlight Bar in Fañabe on Wednesday afternoons, and has been known to play a double bass. There´s always at least one “extrovert” at outdoor free events, one chap seemed to have had a few rock and roll Woodbines and was knelt down singing to the speakers. The bars around the plaza were doing a brisk trade and young children were dancing with their parents.

After a break for political speeches, The Pows took to the stage area and launched into “Born To Be Wild” , that set the tone for some cracking tunes from across the decades.The five piece band were a bit squeezed into a corner to the side of the church and had minimal lighting, but the sound system was up to scratch and they knew how to bang out some infectious favourites. The two male guitarists and singer, were joined by a female drummer, and female percussionist as they dipped into the back catalogue of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and even some Jimi Hendrix. One of my stand out tracks was a rousing version of The Beach Boys oldie, Barbara Ann.

As the music sped along, more people began to stop off in the plaza, and the more mature fans showed a clean pair of heels to many of the younger dancers. There was no messing around or show boating from The Pows, they lived up to their name. One guitar chord would just be making its exit as they launched into another up beat delivery. The Pows held court for over an hour and had the new converts bopping to their every tune. A large percentage of those in the plaza were holiday makers, as a recruiting exercise for the MDP it must have had quiet a limited effect but it was another welcome use for the church plaza to go with the classical organ nights wafting out of the building, and the frequent skateboard competitions in the plaza.

The Pows are a very busy band, you should be able to catch them in the south of Tenerife , their Facebook page will point you in the right direction, and many of their gigs are free. It’s always great to see live music, and The Pows were real crowd pleasers.

Dire Straits Experience Roll Out The Hits

Some songs are timeless, The Dire Straits Experience proved the point again at the Magma Centre in Playa de Las Americas. It was an experience I was keen to repeat after seeing their pulsating performance last year in Tenerife and they were on top form again.

With original members Chris White on sax and flute, and Chris Witten on drums they have a strong connection to those heady days when the original band strode the world. From the opening songs Telegraph Road, and Walk Of Life they showed their class with their mastery of their instruments, all delivered with a swagger. The white headband of Mark Knopfler is long gone but in Terence Reis they have a worthy replacement, his voice caressed and teased out the lyrics while his fingers evoked the unique sound of Dire Straits from a succession of guitars.

The Magma Centre allowed plenty of room for the more enthusiastic fans to take to their feet and give in to the string of hits, I almost expected the concrete suroundings to start swaying as the tunes seeped into their soul. Your Latest Trick was one of the lesser known tracks that made a big impact and Romeo And Juliet opened up a vault of emotional memories from the 4,000 revellers. Tunnel Of Love has always been a favourite of mine and it was belted out with pomp and precision. The Man´s Too Strong gave Chris White a chance to show his skills on the flute but his command of the saxaphone was equally impressive.

Let´s not forget the other band members who added their own ingredients to the mix, Richard Cottle and Paddy Milner on piano and keyboards underscored the dominance of the guitars and complemented each other at either side of the stage. Tim Walters on guitar chipped in on the vocals, and Michael Feet on bass guitar and vocals ensured the lyrics tweaked the ears and memories of their audience. It was clear to see the band were having a great time, they looked comfortable in each others company and delivered the songs as if they were freshly penned, I tried not to think that some of the tunes dated back almost 40 years.

There were a few changes to the running order from last year, Expresso Love was a welcome addition as were Two Young Lovers, and On Every Street. There was never long to wait for a classic to ignite the atmosphere, Lady Writer was followed by Brothers In Arms with barely a moment for the band to catch their breath, it certainly kept the backstage crew busy, the parade of guitars was like a modern day stonehenge waiting to be worshipped by the audience.

Sultans Of Swing was the big breakthrough hit for the original band and it still held its head up proudly among the more recent releases, it surfaced later in the concert and had plenty of willing bodies responding to its infectious rythmn. It would have made a fitting end on its own but after a prolonged wave of applause the band played on with Money For Nothing being greeted like a long lost friend. It was difficult tio top that so they chose a different tempo and ended with the moody and magnificent Going Home. As they signed off The Dire Straits Experience promised to return soon – that was music to many ears.

Foot To The Pedal At Food Truck Festival

It felt a bit like being back in detention at school, there I was in the library but aching to get outside to play. Well maybe that’s stretching it, the Los Cristianos library is a daily call for me to check the local papers, the fun outside was due to run all day, and who says I was ever in detention at school? The Food Truck Festival did look alluring on the forecourt of the cultural centre, there were five trucks converted to serve specialist food and drink, two large bouncy castles, and a stage loaded with speakers, amps, and a microphone being given the old one two test.

Just after the official 12.30 start a special guest arrived to a big cheer from the army of children, Peppa Pig was out of the stye and in da house. The cute pink one needed a couple of minders to help him to the stage as young, and not so young, fans nuzzled up close to take selfies with the star. I was tempted to nudge Peppa towards the truck selling pork burgers to see if he would squeal but thought better of it. The trucks were already doing a good trade, I particularly liked the Dorada truck but the tequila truck was also proving to be a big shot with the nachos overflowing onto plates as a side order.

A range of activities were due to ebb and flow during the day, I returned in the evening but just missed The Beatles tribute band, the general response I got was the crowd had loved them – yeah yeah yeah. There was quite a sea of people lapping around the stage and out to the main road, the seating areas were full and the drinks were pouring at a steady rate. Queen were the next tribute act, a seasoned performer in local musical Rock Story made a struttingly enthusiastic Freddie Mercury and his band were impressive as they belted out the big hits like It’s A Kinda Magic, Radio Ga Ga, One Vision, and many more.

They, like The Beatles before them, did a full hour and most people thought that was it for the live music, I adjourned to the pub but got a call to pop back to enjoy a further act. This group started off with a selection of europop classics but showed their versatility with a rousing version of AC DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. With the aid of a little alcohol, inhibitions were being thrown aside and there were a fair few more mature people digging deep to dredge up their dance moves. Inside the Auditorium there was a three group folklore show providing a different range of musical talents, both events were free, you have to hand it to Arona Ayuntamiento (council) they cater for a full range of tastes and nationalities.

Reggae Reigns At Mumes Festival In Arona

What a lucky lot we are in Tenerife, there’s always plenty of music to make our days and nights brighter. Arona has a particularly good record in staging diverse concerts and festivals,most of them free, such was the case with MUMES, a rousing blend of African and Canarian vibes.

Friday night new arrivals to Tenerife couldn’t believe their ears as they strolled into town and found top class reggae oozing from a large stage outside the Los Cristianos cultural centre. I had heard of La Laguna band Ruts & La Isla Music but never got to see them, I was soon lamenting those lost opportunities. The five piece band was joined by two young female dancers and the charismatic lead singer who lit up the evening stage. Their light, laid back reggae was interspersed with a few classics like Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved but what clinched it for me was a strong ska influence on the later numbers. The girls really worked the growing audience of seasoned reggae fans and families giving their younger generation a glorious musical baptism.

When they left the stage there was a DJ session from Dab Maia with the sounds of Bob Marley, this allowed time to change the stage settings and a quick beer break for myself. Spyrow was next up with his band from the Ivory Coast, they were more hard core and very strong musically. By then the crowd were loosened up well and dancing, the four piece band behind Spyrow kept it tight and upbeat, especially the guitarists. It was a wonderful night for good music and the festival continues with exhibitions in the cultural centre and a jazz flavoured Sunday night (10 July) with Djarabikan Balafon, also from the Ivory Coast, at a free concert in the Auditorio Infanta Leonor that backs onto the main building.

Dire Straits Experience Do The Walk And The Talk At Magma Tenerife

Just two guitar riffs, that’s all it took to dispel any doubts and reservations. Would The Dire Straits Experience re-capture that old magic from the 1980’s when they ruled the musical world? The opening bars of Telegraph Road cut a channel back through the years and when Terence Reis broke in with his vocals the 2,000 crowd knew this was the real deal.

Mark Knopfler is a tough act to follow but the new lead singer reveled in the responsibility and with original members Chris White on sax and flute and Chris Whitten on drums in cracking form. One of their biggest hits, Walk Of Life, was next and people were already up and dancing. The Magma Arts & Congress Centre in Costa Adeje is finally starting to get the amount of concerts it deserves, the cavernous layout with banked seating at both sides offers loads of space and with low key unobtrusive stewarding the party atmosphere was allowed to grow as the concert unfolded.

I knew it was going to be a packed crowd, getting a few cheeky Doradas’s beforehand at El Gomero and Las Rosas was a slow process and I recognized a lot of friends of a similar certain age as myself. Romeo and Juliet was another hit greeted like an old friend, Chris White was able to show of his mastery of the saxaphone and there was sparkling support from Richard Cottle on piano and keyboards, Tim Walters guitar and vocals, Paddy Milner also on piano and keyboards, and Michael Feat on bass guitar and vocals.

Some of the ladies in the audience were flowing with the music and dancing like demons. It wasn’t just us mature Brits enjoying the show, there was a good mix of locals and a few more far flung visitors. Tunnel Of Love was plucked out of their greatest hits catalogue and really hit the spot before Your Latest Trick,and The Man’s Too Strong followed on in style with Chris White switching to his flute to add another musical dimension. Private Investigations was more atmospheric and lingering and Down To The Waterline blended in nicely. The band were very much at ease and their enthusiasm was echoed by the fans, Lady Writer was one of their hits that I had almost forgotten about but I was glad to hear it again in all its glory.

Brothers In Arms was always a goose pimple song and it was more poignant than ever set against recent world events, Dire Straits Experience wrung out every ounce of emotion and for me it was one of the stand out songs of the night. Sultans Of Swing took us back to the earliest days of the band, it really got people pumped up and their were even a few air guitarists who were living every note. That was the final song, or was it? The clamour for an encore was met by the opening strains of Money For Nothing, the boys milked the audience on that one and the hall was a mass of waving arms and ancing bodies, while everyone pleaded for their MTV. Going Home was a fitting finale for two hours of pulsating pop, it was quite an experience.


Heavy Metal Heaven At The Goymar Fest

You what? You’ll have to shout at me for a few days as my hearing is shot to pieces after dipping into the Goymar Fest heavy metal festival in Guimar. Another legacy is my dreams being stalked by demonic rock stars wielding guitars like axes, oh yes it was a great return to form as the 12 hour music feast bounced back from last years cancellation.

After over stretching itself in recent years, the Goymar Fest went back to its roots on a large outdoor concrete sports court in El Puertito. The marina was locked up for the night but the shingle beach stretched out, separated from the concert by a maritime walkway. The wind was blowing hot and strong as we arrived and the scorching day was morphing into a sultry night. A wide and varied assortment of geezers, geeks, goths, punks, rockers, and metal heads was mingling around the nearby streets with the odd bottle of happy juice doing the rounds. The stage spotlights were spilling out into the sky and the thrash of guitars and howl of angst filled singers was screeching through the air.

The Goymar Fest began at 2 pm and was set to bash on until 2 am, how much would such a prolonged bill of Canarian bands cost? I’m sure it will rock your world when I tell you entry was a mere three euros for a plastic wristband. Beer stalls inside were selling Estrella beer at 1.50 euros a half with payment made in the form of tickets bought in bulk just inside the gate. We loaded up with beers and found a good spot near the stage just in time to hear Death Above, of particular interest to us Armada Sur members as the lead singer used to be a drummer with terrace friends Oi Se Arma, a top notch punk and ska band.

Death Above were pretty wild, the singer was relishing his freedom from behind the skins, and the guitar heroes were in full flow. The wind was unleashing its own venom, the palm trees were swaying wildly beyond the fence, or maybe they were just head banging. The drummer was on a raised platform at the back of the stage and at one point his cymbals were blown to the floor by a cheeky gust. There was a nice sedate buzz among the hundreds assembled, some jumped into the swirling mosh pit in front of the stage but others browed merchandise stalls or shouted conversations with each other. I was quite bemused by the young ladies to the side of the stage who spent most of the night playing with hoola hoops, trying to spin them around their waists as the speakers boomed out their music of choice.

Pick of the night for me was the next band up, Neomaniac arrived with a theatrical bang as the lead singer attacked his microphone to produce a spray of sparks . They were all made up like extras from a horror flick and their music was suitably dark and brooding with hints of The Prodigy. It’s always nice when a band reaches out to its audience, Neomaniac teased, taunted and cursed their fans and the lead singer waved a demon doll at them before feeding a few front rowers with strands of gloopy, blood red morsels from a plastic pot. One of the big features of the night was encouragement to the next metal generation, some very young fans got chances to join the bands on stage to sharpen their youthful vocal chords.

I had a good few wanders around the festival area to enjoy the unusual sights, many people had come prepared with their own adapted fashions and drinking vessels. There was a good sprinkling of rock chicks with the next band, ODIO well supported. Their green haired guitarist and body surfing lead singer caught the attention of the head bangers. By now it was getting well into Sunday and our time to make the trip back down the TF1 motorway. It was good to see the Goymar Fest back on the musical map, roll on next year.

Oi Se Arma Rock The Beach For Tenth Birthday

Sand castles crumbled, barbecues hissed, and even the chilled out hippies in the rocks and sand dunes leapt to their feet. Oi Se Arma were pounding the tiny stage attached to the Matinal Beach Club in Las Galletas and their hard core mix of punk and ska filled the evening air.

Back in the UK the rain was heading for Glastonbury, it would be mud and wet wellies for them but at the small beach between El Fraile and Las Galletas the rocky coast and surrounding areas were still full of families and the sea was gently lapping at the shore. I had been to the beach bar before to see Pornosurf last year, that was a good gig eventually after much waiting but with Oi Se Arma due on stage in La Laguna they were prompt for their 8 pm start.

It must be at least seven years since I last saw Oi Se Arma live, the Santa Cruz five piece have built a big following since then and play regular gigs on the mainland as well as in Tenerife. With their roots in the CD Tenerife peña Frente Blanquiazul their songs have become rallying anthems for many of us and that passion extends to their music and politics. The crowd was small and select but the reception was warm as they burst into action with power and venom. Songs like Clockwork Oi and Balas Perdidas soon woke up the late sun bathers.

It was interesting to see the reactions of passers by using the paths as a short cut, many stopped and stared in astonishment, some small children were having a bop out on the sand, definitely future rude boys and punks. I was with a few of the Armada Sur, it was nice of lead singer Rocco to give us a name check, well The General has followed them since their first chaotic gig. Vamos Tenerife got one of the best responses, always a big football favourite and full of pride for the island and history of Tenerife.

It was a shortish set of just under an hour with one eye on the later gig up north but a good reminder of the best aspects of live rock. The closing number, Working Class Kids, was a frenzy of power and thrashing guitars, and as prickly as the cactus plants that surrounded the hippie tents, hopefully we will see them in the south again soon. If you want to hear them you can find loads of their work on You Tube. As for the venue, they have regular live music on Fridays and Sundays, look them up on

The Boyfriend Is A Red Hot Date

Take the carefree days of the roaring 20’s, mix in some stylish songs, dazzling dancing, and flamboyant costumes and love is bound to blossom. That’s the basis of The Boyfriend, the hit Sandy Wilson stage show and later film musical, lovingly revived by the Tenerife Swallows Drama Group at the Sol Princesa Dacil in Los Cristianos.

The course of true love doesn’t run smooth and there are plenty of misunderstandings and family obstacles to overcome for the characters assembled at the Cote d’Azur in 1920’s France. The light frothy mood of the show fits the spirit of the bright young things from Madame Dubonnet’s Finishing School For Young Ladies, and there is plenty of humour weaved into the plot over three acts. This was a more ambitious project for the swallows after last years success with Oh What A Lovely War, lots of costume changes, big ensemble numbers, and much more lines between the songs.

Director Michael Huntington’s team did him proud, the chemistry between the characters is what drives the show and the players, mainly amateurs, brought out all the warmth and vulnerability of the hopeful lovers. Luke Carey as Tony (The Boyfriend) had just the right balance of shyness, awarkness, and innocence, while the object of his desires Polly was enchanting, pretty, and emotionally fragile thanks to Karen Holcombe. In contrast Bobby (Dominic James), the brash and self assured suitor of Maisie (Tracey Cutting) was a good match for his confident intended bride. All the shows dance numbers were excellent but Bobby and Maisie were particularly good in Won’t You Charleston With Me?

Director Michael Huntington was glowing with pride after the first of the three night run and filled in some of the background for me. “We chose The Boyfriend because it fitted nicely to our small cast of 15 and it has good memorable tunes. About half of our cast were new to public performance but we had a good team with musical director Paul Lowe and choreographer Jenny Grayston guiding them. “

I had to ask about the costumes, they were outstanding. “ In all we needed 45 costumes, Janet Roberts with Barbara Young and Janice Banks worked hard on them, they were all sourced from local rastro markets but needed lots of cutting and sewing to adapt them.”
I hadn’t seen The Boyfriend in any of its previous forms but several of the songs were familiar like “I Could be Happy With You” and the title song. The original stage show stormed London’s West End back in 1954 but there were some nice modern touches added for this production especially in the humour. It’s a joyous, uplifting show and that was certainly helped by the enthusiasm of the cast, they were all clearly enjoying it as much as the audience. Profits from the shows are going to Cancer Research Tenerife, last year they raised 1.700 euros but the slightly larger venue has raised this years return to 3,100 euros.

Strike Up The Band For New Year In Tenerife

Soothing, rousing, and enchanting, the Arona Municipal Band gave a tuneful welcome to 2015 with a free concert outside the Los Cristianos cultural centre. It was a very different sound to the pumping dance music that had occupied the same spot well into the early hours of 1st January and quite a different age range of audience.

This is the 30th anniversary of the band which consists of pupils from the Arona school of music and dance and most of the musicians were in their young teens. They’re a talented bunch, after conductor and musical director Jose Luis Dominguez Rodriguez welcomed the audience in Spanish, one young performer addressed everyone in English and German. Seats were set out for around 200 people but others stood behind them to enjoy the treat.

We were promised a diverse programme and it lived up to its billing, ranging from classical to show tunes and even a carol Oh Come All Ye Faithful, well the big day of presents, Reyes, isn’t until 6th January, with the three kings arriving on their camels the night before. The band has 40 members and the stage looked pretty full with a grand array of trumpets, clarinets, kettle drums, tubas, flutes, and saxophones. A few Santa hats added to the festive feel but the nearby Mojito and beer stalls were rather quiet as drinkers went cold turkey.

White Christmas was another timely choice that fitted well with the twinkling evening lights on the cultural centre. In the breaks between tunes as score sheets were shuffled and instruments adjusted, the dull thud of the fairground music up the hill was a reminder of more commercial distractions. A tap of the baton and along came I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady, this was performed in a medley of dance styles, some cha cha cha and some swing.

Conductor Jose ensured that each soloist took an individual bow from the appreciative audience, some musicians were multi tasking, I noticed one young lady move from organ to clarinet. When The Saints Come Marching In led into a more upbeat finish, new hats were added for a lively Dixieland jazz finish but there was no way the audience was going to let them go just yet. The encore was a stirring rendition of the Johann Strauss classic The Redetzky March which had everyone clapping along. That big number was a nice nod to the long established New Years Day Strauss concert in Vienna. Los Cristianos may not have a Blue Danube but hopefully this will become just as popular a tradition in Los Cristianos as the offering in Austria.

Tenerife At The Centre Of The Sonic Universe

Long long ago when concept albums ruled and gatefold record sleeves were pretty much obligatory, stadium rock giants like Yes and Queen roamed the earth. Last night at the Magma Artes & Congesos in Playa de Las Americas there was a Jurassic Park moment as the Starmus Festival rounded off a brilliant week with Rick Wakeman and Brian May together in the Sonic Universe concert.

The hall was packed with some of the finest minds in science, astronauts like Charlie Duke of the Apollo 16 mission, and special guest Prof Stephen Hawking, one of the star speakers during the week. Starmus brought together many diverse threads related to astronomy and science, earlier in the week they gave a premiere to sci fi movie 51 Degrees. I spotted one of the films stars, Dolly Ann Osterloh complete with her own special co star peaking out from her bag.

Rick Wakeman has always been a showman and took to the stage in one of his trademark capes as he took his place behind his banks of keyboards. With such a back catalogue to choose from, Rick started with a dip into his solo LPs The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And  His Knights Of The Round Table,  and another historical work The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. In between the soaring music he referred to his own busy marital life, he’s had four wives including page three stunner Nina Carter. The great man surrounded himself with talented musicians that he has worked with through the years, Ashley Holt led the way with the vocals and guitarist Dave Coleman put in some dazzling solo breaks.

Fitting nicely into the science theme was a selection from another solo project Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. The concrete bunker style of the Magma was the perfect setting for such grand designs and things moved up a couple of notches when Brian May joined Rick on stage for a few numbers. Shrouded in the swirling smoke and sweeping lights at the back of the group was Rick’s son Adam playing more keyboards. Now an accomplished rocker himself, Adam had broken off from touring with Black Sabbath complete with Ozzy Osbourne – I bet that’s a lively tour. The proud father made sure his son got his time in the spotlight before borrowing his shoulder slung keyboard for a trip out into the audience.

Security parted the barriers and Rick Wakeman swept out into the hall playing the mobile keyboard on his way. One very surprised young lady was plucked from the crowd and taken onto the stage to play a few notes – what a moment for her. There was plenty more musical magic to come, Rick has been touring again in recent years with Yes and he picked one of their space themed tunes, Starship Trooper for the climax of the show with Brian May returning for a prolonged blast. The PHD has re-ignited the former Queen stars passion for astrophysics but he is still one of the rock worlds greatest guitar players.

It was a tremendous two hour concert, great nostalgia for old gits like me and plenty of new converts will be raiding the downloads to discover the past triumphs of Rick Wakeman, a frequent visitor to Tenerife since 1985. As the cheers rang out as the musicians took their final bow, Starmus supremo Garik Israelian was purring louder than any royal. It’s going to be an even tougher act to follow but the next Starmus Festival can’t come soon enough.