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“Low Cost” & No-Cost Festivals

In Barcelona, Europe, Spain on July 25, 2010 at 7:01 pm

@Bernardamus starring like Fan de John Boy with Santi Balmes (Love of Lesbian) - Playa de Ocata, BCN

Right now it was happening in Benidorm, the so called “Low Cost” Festival a fresh cheap alternative to all the overrated mainstream summer festivals taking place all over the world. For an affordable price of approximately 30 euros you can get the best local indie rock bands (Love of Lesbian, Los Planetas, Ivan Ferreiros, …) and some hype international live acts (Editors, Placebo, ..). Without burning all your savings in a single shot you can enjoy a post-hippie Woodstock-like atmosphere chilling out with a Mediterranean flavor.

I am sure you are biting your nails for missing such a great sonic escape but the truth is that the “low cost” opportunities to get some excellent music are there everywhere, even FOR FREE! Just follow us, read the fan forums or the facebook pages of your favorite bands and you might be surprised! Don’t be lazy, forget about your routine of pub-crawl, listen to your city, Barcelona is calling you all the time.

Our city is resembling New York’s village of few decades ago. I can be listening to my favorite band via spotify at home, the  songs tell the stories and give shape to the emotions of my town  …   “Yo vivo en una ciudad que está enferma
Barcelona sobrevivirá..” (Standstill). An hour later, I ride my bike from the virtual streaming soundscape right in front of the band playing live. It’s all happening here and now.

A lot of  local neighborhood festivals host local indie rock bands. Another excellent example was the “Montjuic de Nit” with up to 13 stages with simultaneous free live acts!  If you wanted  to mix music with beach and a bit of night-swimming your opportunity was the Festival Ritmes with free concerts by Standstill ,The New Raemon and Dorian: quite surreal to close the night with the anthemn “tormenta de arena”  (sand storm) barefoot on a beach! Another cool occasion for  an alternative beach concert was a free acustic session by Love of Lesbian in playa Ocata (Ultimo Xiringuito) to collect funds supporting a good local cause. Love of Lesbian offered an “embarrassing” number of FREE live acts in these last 2 months ( Badalona, Plaza de España, San Joan Despì, playa Ocata), they are the living proof that music can be really FOR FREE.

Are you still complaining about the prices of concert tickets? Watch out for alternative and underground concerts, follow us and jump on board because art/music/culture can be FOR FREE!

Ritmes Festival, a cool alternative NO COST festival


Nada Surf Live in Melkweg, Amsterdam 14 July

In Amsterdam, Europe, World on July 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

“Cats and dogs are coming down”, Amsterdam “is gonna drown, everyone else rushing round”.
“I’ve got blonde on blonde on my portable stereo, it’s a lullabye”, it’s personal.

Yeah, this is personal.

You put on an album by Nada Surf, any of their albums, and you have to get ready to get close and personal. To listen to the kind and at times, broken voice of a man that is there to sing his heart. Your heart. Your lover’s heart.

Oh but it’s about heartbreak, don’t think for a moment it’s going to be a sweet ride.

“Maybe this weight is a gift, like I had to see what I could lift”.

They say a concert is a communal experience, one you have to share with your loved ones and with perfect strangers all around.

I say, deep down, it’s personal.

It’s as if all the times you have been listening to a song that depicts the state you are in, the way you feel, come together into one big blast.

Matthew Caws gets on stage, busts a smile and then asks: Are you ready for the best concert ever?

“That it’s a dream it is what it seems”

You see,  Nada Surf is for me the shelter from the pain of feeling as the lonely underdog. So I need this concert to be my own.

But tonight, it might not go as expected.

“I’m just a happy kid, stuck with the heart of an old punk”

Ira Elliot and Daniel Lorca with the help of a second guitar and trumpet (Doug Gillard, is that you?) are here to show that this is a party. A party you might decide to witness being a wallflower and whining over the fact that everyone is having a great time and you are a loser. But a wild party nonetheless.

And on it goes! everyone around me simply jumps and screams. They might not know any verse of any song but they surely are digging it!

Matthew is aware though, that the occasional loner might want their place in the sun and for this reason he starts singing “Inside of Love”.

Now, if you do not know this song, I can only say go find it out.

It is an anthem, a soft, painful, craving, aching anthem.

The one that leaves you sweaty and melancholic with a big smile on your face afterwards.

“Must be a different view to be a me with a you”.

I “let go”.  I have to.  I jump. I sing (watch me! I do know the lyrics!). I am part of it. I am together with everybody else.

“I am gonna make you happy, I am gonna spin you around, I am gonna cut your strings!”.

Sometimes you need the words of another to express the way you feel.

Nada Surf chose the words of The Go-Betweens, and Depeche Mode’s and Kate Bush’s… and “If I had an Hi-Fi” this time around, I would throw a bash and invite all my friends instead of sitting alone, playing a record in my room.

Hell it’s been the “blankest year” so Fuck it! I deserved this hell of a party, this “best concert ever”.

But it’s not over yet.

Like at the end of the night, when most people are gone and you stay over with the closest of your friends, Matthew takes us to the back of the Melkweg to sing to only a few of us.

“Hyperspace”, “Paper Boats”, “Amateur”, “Zen Brain” all rendered with just voice and acoustic guitar.

And it is personal. As a confession. And I could not have wished for more.



Opening Act by Garcia Goodbye





Streets of Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, Barcelona, Europe on June 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm


Have you ever bumped into a graffiti artist spray painting a wall in a street at night?

It must have been at night.

And most probably it was in a side street, in an area you were not comfortable walking by.

Did you feel like an intruder?

Like a witness of a splendid crime, you must have suddenly felt the magic;  the magic of seeing colors taking over the grey and dirt of the ordinary , to turn it into a huge canvas where raw emotions or political stands have finally a place to be displayed.

New York City, Los Angeles and London have been skyrocketed into the center of the Art world, for a huge part thanks to their street artists. And yet their role is still not fully recognized.

One name for all: Keith Haring. His contribution to modern Art from the nineties on is undeniable. But then again, his apparition in museums is minor and the general public mostly know him through merchandising.

Project ASA wants to avoid just that, giving Amsterdam and its street artists a voice, before they could get silenced by the law or by the action of a sand blaster. A voice that should also be heard in institutions.

One can argue that the power of Street Art comes from and stays in the streets. The passage of spray paint from the walls to an actual canvas could cause the loss of sense and beauty.

But have you seen the works of The London Police exhibited in the Go gallery at the Prinsengracht?

You have time until the 10th of July.

Can’t you see their future cities? It’s not pure Utopia, it’s what the Circle Line brings in ten years with the justice and truth revolution of a black marker.

Look closer: Zeefdruk is Amsterdam with its trade mark houses covered by japanese neon signs.

Take away the cricket ground and make the Chelmsford car park smile again, even if only in 55 years.

You cannot help but surrender to the force that emanate from each of The London Police paintings. Even when they are confined to the linen instead of concrete. The precision of the lines fool no one. It is not geometry you see, but energy.

The London Police outside Go Gallery

You simply cannot ignore Pez, whether it’s on the rolling shutter of a shop in Barcelona or on the walls of the Go gallery. The colors are pure and dominant. The figures might recall your favorite cartoon characters or the candy dispenser with the same name, but there is no infantile technique. The teeth of the Blue Shark are in full force and not tamed by the frame.

Turn around and another animal is ready to attack: The acid and psychedelic eagle dominating a silver can that most probably has been used by Fake himself.

You might think that any representation of the mythical Ganesha has to be peaceful and convey safety. After all it should protect your path by removing obstacles. Well, not for Fake’s Ganesha. Its presence is a warning: I am here to take over, I have several arms that hold as many spray tins. I can be just everywhere.

Go to The Thought gallery until July 8th and you can see it; you can also experience Love as Fake sees it: a kid ready to give flowers to a girl ready to strike back with a wooden mace.

Considering this as Fake’s signature logo, can you still say Street Art looses its power now?

Did Hugo Kaagman lose his stature by collaborating with the City of Amsterdam in Waterlooplein or at the Rijksmuseum?

If you still think so, you might change your mind staring at his ‘Shocking Blue’, Hugo’s rendition of Blue Delft in his own creations. The Stencil King is alive and kicking and this first edition of Amsterdam Street Art Festival is honored to have him on board to lead the way to a whole new generation of talents.

Orticanoodles outside The Thought

And if one tells you that by entering a gallery, a Graffiti artist kills his/her political message, please do mention again the exhibition at The Thought, for you cannot stop staring at Ives.One’s Joker Obama.

This ain’t no Obey. The president of the most powerful states shows another side of himself here, one you have to be afraid of. Lips and eyes are covered in black and red as a metaphor. There is no Hope out there, always be alarmed when a leader speaks: lies are told and you can only find reality in the Streets of your own city.

Ives.one at The Thought Gallery

For more info:




outlandstore.com / twitter.com/outlandstore



The artists webpages:


fakestencils.com / twitter.com/fakestencils





For all the artists not mentioned in the article please refer to amsterdamstreetart.com to collect info