Not all the people who pass by the Bravo Murillo 202 building, where there has been a large C&A chain store for a long time, are activated memories that have nothing to do with the textile industry. But some do. Older residents remember the Carolina, a neighborhood cinema with almost a thousand locations that operated between 1962 and 1979. On the ground floor there was a party room named after the cinema that survived a few years converted in a modern nightclub –discotheque and concert hall– and which will also undoubtedly be remembered by a good part of the residents: those who were then young and went out to wear out the night of that Madrid immersed in a change of era.
In March 1981, the Carolina room was to be the place where a historic album was recorded, which, moreover, this year has turned forty: Leño’s live performance. The room was very close to the rehearsal premises on Calle de la Tablada – another leading space in rock history, which still exists and claims an article in this medium – and the patriarch of urban rock trio chose the great room of Bravo Murillo to record his sound in concert.
The album was recorded over three nights. On Thursday (first day of the concert) there was “not even the tato. Well yes, close friends, super-followers, some who passed by and little else”, El Pirata recalls in Always rock !: The great moments that music gave to my life. With the help of Vicente’s radio advertising Marshal Romero, the second day more people came and on Saturday “it was petó”. This is the story, too, of how the hymn first sounded in public Way of living.
The locals of Tablada also accompany Carolina in the list of scenarios of the time for which they appear in Labyrinth of Passions, by Pedro Almodóvar (1982), the Imanol Arias, Cecilia Roth, Helga Liné, Concha Grégori or Fabio de Miguel, among others. There, on the Carolina stage, Almodóvar & McNamara sang the Suck it to me. Different spaces in the room also appear in the film in a sequence prior to a performance in which Imanol Arias, Poch (aggressive executives) or Javier Furia and Luis Auserón (both from Radio Futura) act.
Although nothing usually appears other than on the margins of the official history of The move, the room was one of its most important peripheral stages. In fact, the first book on the New Wave was presented there. And, yes, in 1981 a book had already been written on the subject.
At the party-presentation of La movida (Madrid pop history), by Paco Martín, performed Zombies, Fash Strato, Los Secretos, Trastos, Radio Futura, Roll Time (made up of people from Alaska, Nacha Pop and Mamá), Mario Tenia and Los Solitarios, and Juanma el Terrible.
Innumerable groups of the time played at the Carolina, some from home (Rubi y los Casinos or Aviador Dro) and others from abroad (such as The Lambrettas), in a program governed by Mikel Barsa.
The underground and rock scene
Out of the spotlight, the place must have been the scene of nocturnal moments that today, in post-pandemic Madrid and the afterwork, they sound mythical. Sabino Méndez tells of one of them, which occurred the same year as the recording of Leño’s concert, in his book Run, rocker: personal chronicle of the eighties:
“A few months later [del golpe de Estado], in the Madrid room Carolina, when I was playing with the punk group Reprisex, a guy got on stage displaying a civil guard documentation and pretending that they would stop playing because “I’m sick of you, damn it.” The musicians, technicians and those in charge of the room passed Tejero’s emulation in the Madrid night.
A year earlier, in 1980, the newspaper El País reported the government shutdown for two months of the room after a raid during the afternoon schedule in which “twenty-five minors were found, as well as various material, consisting of four knives, four hypodermic syringes and twelve hashish bars, in addition to paper booklets and a screwdriver . ” The newspaper lamented the closure of “the only room that in Madrid was dedicated to the presentation of daily rock concerts“.
The informative newspaper Villa de Madrid published in April 1982 an article titled The disco route signed by T. Ugido in which it speaks of Rock-Ola, Joy-Eslava, Pachá, Consulado, Topaz, Marquee, Amarello, Chapelet, Vede -Plata and other “parking garages musiqueros”. The section dedicated to Carolina is intended to be derogatory but we are sure that some readers would want to go:
“The night is young and Carolina at this time can be a fine thing. Carolina is the total off-Broadway, lost by the dunes of Bravo Murillo, Mikel Barsa turned the dandruff disco for vulgar couples – that was the room in his previous reincarnation– in this shabby, ramshackle and noisy living room with heavy metal and acoustics that torture the eardrums and make the foam sofas rumble. A hybrid staff lands around the place: fifteen-year-olds (at least sixteen years old, of course) Roll up with the tate and with Johny Winter, young alopecia floats, rockers from the suburbs and whip and short peel liberals. Carolina is a poor and needy club that adorns the stage with crumpled silver foil and invites the staff to roll a chiri for better withstand the rampant decibels. The room has gone from ska to heavy rock, what has not changed is its dilapidated and shabby appearance. Despite everything, since it falls where the wind turns, it preserves a pretty parish faithful”.
Although in 1982 the light of the Carolina would go out, at that time urban and hard rock groups had to pass through there, such as Mazo, which appeared in June of that year. Groups more in the orbit of the New Wave, such as Marmelada, and mod melodies, such as the FBI, also continued to perform.
By boat soon, anyone would say that the youth explosion of the early eighties was danced in the center of Madrid –in Malasaña or in El Rastro, La Movida– and in the proletarian peripheries –from Vallecas to Carabanchel, rock, but where today Inexpensive fabrics are sold, next to the Estrecho metro, there was one of the playing fields of those two night leagues.