It has been waiting, but it is here. After those two years that have put everyone’s life on hold, Bilbao BBK Live has put on its best clothes to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary and its return after the break. There is a desire for music and partying and that has become clear this Thursday, on the first day of this festival, which thousands of people were waiting for, many of them with tickets saved since 2020. This Thursday, the music in Kobetamendi has also had flavor to reunion, to kisses, to hugs between crews, to ‘let’s make up for the time that has been taken from us’, and all this amalgamation has allowed a magical symbiosis between the thousands of people who entered the fields of Kobetamendi yesterday – the organization he has not wanted to give his exact data- and his favorite artists on stage, finally, after so many months of waiting. That same magic, which only works with live music, was what made the electronic rhythm of LCD Soundsystem allow thousands of souls to vibrate as if they were one, following the dictates of its leader James Murphy.
The Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria has gathered some 48,000 people
The New York band has made it clear in its almost hour and a half concert that the music was the winner that that farewell to the group in 2011 was only a five-year ‘impasse’ to return much more mature. In their only concert at a festival in Europe in 2022 -although they have played in London in smaller formats this June- James Murphy and his crew, who are celebrating two decades since they started their musical adventure, reviewed their most outstanding titles, turning the fields of Kobetamendi into a large dance floor with a disco ball included on the stage. Difficult to stay still with the hectic rhythm from the first moment with that wonderful mix between electronic, punk-rock or dance, an amalgam that makes them essential in the music scene. While they play, he only seems to resist his own rhythm James Murphy, who walks around the stage without shrillness or dancing, singing, which is his thing, and also joining in marking rhythms with percussion, with that ‘normal guy’ look, with the one you would pass by in the street without paying attention, but who knows how to lead his faithful to the top, and connects with the public managing from sinuous or apparently calm rhythms to let themselves go, to guitar crescendos and tuners that raised the maximum the Kobetamendi temperature.
‘Get Innocuous’ has been in charge of opening the concert on the Nagusia stage, the venue’s main stage, where they have reviewed from 11:00 p.m. great songs such as ‘I Can Change’, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’, ‘You Wanted a Hit’, or ‘Tonite’. By the time of ‘Tribulations’ she was already dancing all over the world, devoted to the orders of Murphy and his men. But there was more: ‘Someone Great’, ‘Losing my leg’, and a surprising ‘New York I love You’, with piano and guitar as protagonists. She closed the ‘All My Friends’ concert, leaving you wanting more.
LCD Soundsystem has been the headliner of this first day of a festival that has been waiting two years after the pandemic and in which the British Placebo have also shone with their own light, with their alternative rock, presenting their new work , ‘Never let me go’, the first in the studio after nine years and which its fans have welcomed with expectation. With an impeccable sound and a good staging, with Brian Molko, and Stefan Olsdal, accompanied by four other musicians, they have mainly revealed their new work, leaving aside most of their greatest hits, in a concert in which they have started with the song that opens his new album, ‘Forever Chemical’, without interacting too much with the public throughout his entire performance. ‘Happy Birthday in The Sky’ rang out forcefully on the San Miguel stage in Kobetas, and they closed the concert with a version of Kate Bush’s song ‘Running Up That Hill’, with which Vecna (Un wink for fans of Stranger Things).
The groundbreaking Zahara, who took the stage with her work ‘Puta’, with suggestive and continuous dance and liberating lyrics, nods to the copla by Lola Flores or Rocío Jurado, in a remix with Britney Spears, to close her concert with ‘Berlin U5’, a whole electronic display to fill dance floors in a day without rest, in which in addition to those mentioned, other groups played, such as Nacho Vegas or Genevas and that Moderat closed.
Good atmosphere to start three days of walking
Apart from the success in music, the first day has ratified the important focus of attraction that BBK Live has despite the strong competition that exists at the moment as far as music festivals are concerned. It is difficult to calculate the number of thousands of people who entered the venue yesterday and the organization, although it had planned it, has finally preferred to offer the global data at the end of the three days. It is true that, except for the central concert, there were not too many crowds, although the Kobetamendi space allows you to follow a concert scattered throughout the fields. In any case, Thursday is an important appetizer of what is to come in the remaining two days of the festival, because more than 105,000 people are expected to attend.
The access of that first day has been gradual and fluid. The bus reservation has worked well, it was organized, without queues and with very fast access. “It seems that we are going on an excursion”, was heard on the bus. The excursion begins, however, when you get off the bus, until you reach the festival site. About 800 meters uphill to win. The entrance to the enclosure has been fluid. The obligation to exchange the bracelet before entering the premises has contributed to this. Something that not all attendees liked, due to the hassle of having to go through the exchange points before going to the festival, but that has finally made entry much easier. Once inside, you want to have a good time, considering the unaffordable prices to be well spent, bearing in mind that nothing to eat or drink can be brought into the venue, but in line with the prices charged at other festivals. With the money that you have previously had to load on the bracelet, which is the only payment method, you can spend 5 euros for a beer, small or 10 for a large one -before you had to pay 3 for the reusable cup- 5.5 euros, for a kalimotxo, 11 if it is long, or 3 euros for a bottle of water, and 4 for a soft drink. If what you want is a mixed drink, they will subtract from the bracelet between 10.5 and 13 euros.
But what has been said, once you are inside, the price of the rod is the least of it. Natalia, Arantza and Ana, from Bilbao have a three-day voucher. Arantza’s son, Xabier, is one of the members of the Silitia group, winner of the EiTB Gaztea radio station’s demo contest, and will perform at the festival this Saturday. A good reason, they say, to be at the festival, but not the only one. “We had the bonds since 2019,” they say.
Many of the visitors are showcase places they came from. Lorena, Andrea, Ivan and María are together, they will spend the three days at the festival campsite, but they come from different places: Vigo, Almería Andorra and Madrid respectively. Stromae, The Killers or Nati Peluso among the preferences, although they point out that they are “open to meeting new groups”. Before continuing with the music, they ask me to mention that they are part of the Madrid Handball LGTBIQ+ team and that it is their first time in Kobetamendi. Done!
These are just two examples of the desire to party and music that continues this Saturday: As Zahara sings in her Berlin U5 “take me dancing as if it were still real…” “…as if the world was not going to end, As if the universe didn’t have a plan.” Well, let’s dance. This Saturday it’s time to do it with The Killers and Stromae, among others.