J Balvin and his good “vibe” arrive to stay at Bilbao BBK Live

J Balvin and his good “vibe” arrive to stay at Bilbao BBK Live

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Fifteen minutes left until 2 o’clock in the morning; the clear sky and a humid breeze accompany the hundreds of festival-goers looking for their place in the esplanade on duty. The stage suddenly transforms into a huge box of flashing red and white lights. Cannons of smoke at will start their work. More lights, this time simulating fire flares. And then the first notes of the melody of My people. The thousands of people who are already crowded in front of the enormous stage raise their phones to capture the exit of Colombian J Balvin, truly the most striking name on the poster of the recently concluded edition of the Bilbao BBK Live festival, where the styles of Usual music are rock and electronic. It is clear that reggaeton, a type of dance music that is easy to hum, has gained ground in the world market, especially in the last four years, and it has become common to see its stars as headliners at festivals. “The unbearable thing would be to hear at this festival the Slowly of Luis Fonsi; J Balvin does tolerate it”, recognized Ana Carmona, 32 years old, who on Saturday approached the festival wanting to see the British MIA and her forceful proposal of rap-funk-dancehallbut right now perrea and sing with his group of friends.

The one on Saturday, July 9 was without a doubt one of the most anticipated (and important) days in the 15-year history of the Bilbao BBK Live festival. For many reasons. First, because this recently completed edition meant taking the stage back to its audience after two years of hiatus due to the pandemic; second, because in order to continue being a relevant event and grow —working only with nostalgia can allow you magical moments like the one you experienced last night with Pet Shop Boys but not adding another type of public—, it has decided to open the door, why not, to sounds who also say what is happening to us. It is precisely in this context that we can place the inclusion of J Balvin with respect to the canceled 2020 edition. Primavera Sound took a similar risk in 2019 —same protagonist, similar context—, following the example of the Coachella festival: J Balvin He became the first Latin artist to perform at the Californian festival.

The show that José Álvaro Osorio Balvín offered last night, dressed in a black jumpsuit and a fisherman-style hat from the firm Prada and with his left arm in plaster – a few weeks ago he had a driving accident, according to the artist himself, did not it was visually stunning. The staging was somewhat flat, the choreography with the four dancers did not seem to correlate with the songs and someone who chooses the artist Takashi Murakami to illustrate the cover of his album Colors (2020), more was expected from the visuals. Nor did the voice dazzle. However, it was entertaining, in large part, because the public was having a great time and responded to each provocation of the master of ceremonies, who, over the pre-recorded music, did not stop running from one side of the stage to the other, twerk and smile. Before starting with the topic Reggaeton, Balvin reminded the attendees, peppering his sentences with the word “vibra” every so often, something that, in some way, as we have already mentioned, was common knowledge in the venue. “It is the first time after 15 years that there is a reggaeton artist at this festival; dreams come true, but you have to put ball into them, ”he said, between defiant and happy. “We are ready?”. And the answer is in the form of thousands of wiggles in unison. “And if the people ask me, I’m not going to deny them,” he sings a minute later. There was time to present a new theme, released just a few days ago, twerking level, and that Balvin phrases with enthusiasm. In the verses we can sense some dart for his enemies in the Latin scene urban. “The ghetto is the business, no matter what you think, the street in control from Spotify and YouTube, I’m Yankee and Snoop approved,” he releases. Prior to it gets hot invites the boys to lift the girls on their shoulders; two minutes later a horizon of human towers forms on the landscape. “There women feel like queens, what they deserve.” And to continue the party with the successful collaboration with Rosalía whose video has two billion views on YouTube, With Height. It is a song that pays tribute to old school reggaeton and also an example of the evolution of this genre, which to become so massive has had to lose its original rawness, both in lyrics and productions. Precisely the most chanted songs of the night will be crazy with you Y what do you want, with a romantic theme and a little strident production.

British electronic pop duo Pet Shop Boys during last night’s concert.Javier Zorrilla (EFE)

Pet Shop Boys

But yesterday at Bilbao BBK Live Pet Shop Boys also performed, with Neil Tennat and Chris Lowe in shape and dressed for the occasion in some very strange white suits on an impressive and dramatic set design —they founded the band in 1981, but the truth is that they continue to live in the future, another different from ours and much more fun. In its Show last night they knew how to maintain the intensity from start to finish, and that they left the classics like Always on my mind, Go West or West End Girls. They also scored a fun version of the I love you baby by Sinatra —surely more than one would wake up the next humming the chorus— in the first 15 minutes of the concert, winning over the audience from the start.

From MIA, another of the stars of the night, it was clear that we could not expect something conventional —in 2005 she burst onto the world scene with an album, hoot, that still convinces and surprises with its wild proposal of rhythms and genres. With a rebellious attitude, last night he appeared on stage with a good string of songs and crunchy bases of funk, hip hop and dancehall, but without the force or the punk attitude of other times. Yes indeed, Paper Plans It was one of the highlights of the festival. Other performances that left a good taste in the mouths of the attendees were those of Nathy Peluso and Rigoberta Bandini, two examples of artists who have found their niche in a more open edition of the festival.

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