Ever since I attended my first live music concert (at age 13, Pearl Jam at Soldier Field In Chicago), I have loved seeing live music, and have made it a goal to see as much of it as I could. I have seen well over 100 different concerts of all types, and have mostly enjoyed them all. In Los Angeles we were treated to all kinds of good shows, as just about every band comes through LA. That was both a bonus and a hindrance, especially compared to when we lived in St. Louis. If it was an indie band, or lesser known one, tickets were easy to come by in St Louis, and usually the venue allowed for some room to move around, dance even.
Here’s a couple examples of what I mean: In St. Louis, the local radio station KDHX often gave away free tickets (and since I worked at a job that allowed me to listen to the radio all day) I obtained many free tickets to shows; compared to Los Angeles, when the local radio station KCRW also gave away free tickets, but I never got those, because competing with tens of thousands of listeners in St Louis was much different than millions in the Los Angeles area.
The year before we left Los Angeles we saw Michael Nau (of Cotton Jones and Page France fame) at a 100-person venue called the Moroccan Lounge; we arrived early but prefer to chill in the back, which usually allows for more movement, as I already said. But we couldn’t move at all, the room was packed, hot, and humid, which made for a less than enjoyable experience. When we last saw Michael Nau (as part of Cotton Jones) in St. Louis, in a venue called Off Broadway, there were much fewer people (albeit in a larger venue) and we had space and room to dance. We even had Michael Nau a few feet away from us as we waited for the show, smoking a cigarette; during the encore, we were even able to say, not yell, requests. It was a more pleasurable experience for sure.
On the flip side, the last concert we saw in Los Angeles, in February 2020, right before Covid-19 stopped live music, was a Courtney Barnett and Friends show on Valentine’s Day at the Palace Theater. Her friends included Father John Misty, Sharon Van Etten, Lucius, Waxahatchee and Bedouine, and this group never would have been together if the show was in any other city. It was super cool they encored with “We Shall not be Moved” and felt very LA. So pros and cons of both.
Our first experience seeing live music was with our Spanish-English language meetup group, which starts at a bar near the water, and then heads to another location when that bar closes at midnight. So that evening we ended at the Savoy Club, which is designed like a tiki bar outside and a rock bar inside, replete with records, pictures and posters on the wall. That night it was a Spanish rockabilly band playing, and they had a good following, as there were many people dressed in the typical rockabilly attire. Although we were only able to watch them for a bit as it was packed inside, the feeling of getting to see live music and everyone in the place enjoying it, was kind of overwhelming. I missed that feeling, and we went in search of it elsewhere.
Gijón does a lot for its citizens in terms of Arts and Music; there are all kinds of music being played at venues across the city, art fairs in many of the plazas and near the beach, all summer long, of course being respectful to Covid, which can make some of the concerts seem a little odd. Jesse and I have made it a point to go to the Pueblo d’Asturias (which is a museum on the history of Asturias) however they host a free concert at 1pm on Sunday afternoons with a variety of bands.
This was our opportunity to see some live music, though first up was a bit interesting, the band name is Galgo, and it is a male/female duo, who called their music “a soundtrack to a movie that had not yet been made.” The music was interesting as they played and sang very artsy music, it also felt so LA (see the picture above). And we had to remain seated, in seats 1.5 meters apart as recommended for Covid. As it was not dance-type music, this was not too bad. Just seeing live music on it’s own was so special, and we have gone a few other times this summer to see a variety of bands.
This past Sunday we attended a free concert at Poniente Beach near our place, put on by a band called the Broken Roads, a folk/country band from the town of Aviles. As they sang in English, it would hard to differentiate them from a band from the United States. Except maybe when they covered the Dolly Parton song “Jolene,” as they sang her name as “Yo-lene.” They were upbeat with catchy songs that would have been nice to dance along to, yet we had to remain seated, in seats 1.5 meters apart, cause Covid.
We were even able to speak with the lead singer, who was in charge of the merch table after the show (and where Jesse purchased a T-Shirt), who told us that the woman before us had told her that she didn’t like it that she didn’t sing in Spanish, and we laughed. It just felt good being able to tap our feet and listen to live music, and we have plans to see some of our favorite bands as they tour Europe later this year and next. All I kept thinking of though, as we’ve watched these concerts, was “damn, I really missed live music.”