Florence Welch acts as the high priestess of love in a sensational and tremendous appearance in Mad Cool

Florence Welch acts as the high priestess of love in a sensational and tremendous appearance in Mad Cool

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Let’s start with a nice styling note. The hairiest monarchs in all of Nashville have long since trimmed their locks significantly. The American Kings of Leon have been electrifying us for almost two decades as if they were sticking their finger in the socket, but now the lion may not be the specimen of the animal kingdom that best represents them. His punch has become mastodon. It was to start his concert this Saturday at Mad Cool and that the more than 50,000 attendees felt doomed to a brutal (and fantastic) decibel earthquake.

Impossible to escape unscathed from such a phenomenon. We are used to thinking of rock as the quintessential paradise of guitars, and the Followill brothers have a couple of very brilliant, forceful and expeditious ones. But the rhythmic part of the group was almost to blame for the collective secretion of adrenaline, which seems to have come out of some large shipyards. Every hit on the snare delivered by Nathan Followill and every note played by bassist Jared Followill have a physical impact on the pit of the stomach and even the jugular of the audience. It’s not just music: it has some shaking. But, as our old friends Jagger and Richards would sum it up better than anyone… we like it.

The American singer of the group Pixies, Frank Black, this Saturday during the MadCool Festival concert in Madrid.
Kiko Huesca (EFE)

The predisposition was magnificent. The Leon team livens up the minutes before the appearance by surprisingly pointing at the crowd and recording their gestures of surprise, euphoria or exaltation of life on the giant screens. It’s a lot of fun and the people look gorgeous. “Today everyone fucks”, an assistant took the opportunity, we don’t know if deluded or prescient, to write on her mobile when they focused on her. But it could also have influenced that we came from a hieratic concert of the Pixies, a band that intends to enlarge its legend from an unpleasant inexpressiveness. KoL singer Caleb Followill said performing after them was “intimidating,” which almost credits him as a career diplomat. In fact, the leader of the Boston band, Black Francis, did not change in 70 minutes of concert that rictus of his of an official who proceeds to stamp stamps on the mountain of documentation that his head of department has put on him. And his raw and cunning rock has not moved a millimeter from the site in 35 years, beyond the fact that Paz Lenchantin’s characteristic rough bass lines are always motivating, like Kim Deal’s in his time.

Nor was it the most propitious day for Leon Bridges, that young man nostalgic for the soul with capital letters from the sixties who dreams that one fine day we will confuse him with Otis Redding. He is becoming more and more brilliant with his writing, but you can still see his charisma just right; at least in this festival format, since he was the most collateral of the headliners. Thus, it was necessary to concentrate on the Followill family – the three brothers and cousin Matthew – the hopes that Saturday night would become memorable. And they applied thoroughly. Until 20 minutes there was no chance to hear some arpeggios from Caleb’s Gibson without the electric arsenal sweeping away everything around him.

The band retains some of that early southern genetics, but increasingly heads for the stadiums. And in that section, that of rock to inflame a massive audience, it unfolds with an expeditious impetus. It was enough to listen, for example, to the increasingly devilish guitar of Radioactive, where Matthew looks like a kind of Yankee The Edge. The boys went out of their way, also taking advantage of the fact that they were ending their European tour, but they left the feeling that, 19 years and eight albums later, they aren’t so full of emblematic, immortal, unbeatable songs either. That is, they are good but surely not irrefutable.

Florence, cathartic whirlwind

If with the Leon the price of the kilowatt in the wholesale market skyrocketed, the following episode in the Mad Cool supposed a full-fledged commitment to wind energy. Florence Welch, the Londoner at the head of Florence + The Machine, is one of those artists from whom it is impossible to look away as soon as she stands in front of a crowd. She is born with that gift: she is magnetic, overwhelming in the theatrics of her. The very image of her — burgundy dress with flights and cape, the imposing red hair, bare feet — becomes majestic as soon as she raises that hurricane voice, that throat that brings together pain, passion, outburst and fury without wavering in a single note. . Even if the officiant runs and jumps from one end of the stage to the other as if a pre-Olympic qualification was being settled. We, mere witnesses, were more tired than this prodigious whirlwind of nature.

Florence Welch during her performance on Mad Cool on Saturday.
Florence Welch during her performance on Mad Cool on Saturday.

Catharsis was this. And it is very liberating, to appeal to one of those themes, the recent Free, with which Florence stands not only as a singer, but as a symbol. We miss out on fine-tuning, as often happens in these cases, because there is no way for the harp or violin to stand out in the mix. But Welch, the attention hog, always gets over the little details and in return immerses us for Dog Days Are Over in a kind of ritual of love.

The leader suggests that the crowd disregard cell phones and rediscover the authentic dimension of life as a succession of unique moments: embracing, for example, each person’s companion. It was so persuasive that you will hardly find a trace of that moment on social networks. Because sometimes it is worth feeling and enjoying without the need to proclaim it to the rest of the human race.

Already immersed in that kind of prolonged apotheosis, Dream Girl Evil it helps Florence to levitate through the first rows between spectators who hold, hug and protect her like a priestess. She will repeat the play on Big God, perhaps to make it clear that there is something mystical in his relationship with an audience that professes a devotion to him, indeed, almost transcendental. Many in the compound had never seen her before and, judging by the comments caught on the fly, the converts must have been very numerous.

The Mad Cool crowd during Florence Welch's performance on Saturday.
The Mad Cool crowd during Florence Welch’s performance on Saturday. INMA FLORES (THE COUNTRY)

Square tambourines for a festival

As for the rest of the menu, the best thing happened with the arrival on the main stage of Guitarricadelafuente, even at the very late hour of 7:30 p.m. One observation: what happened to this average kid from Teruel is beginning to be, now yes, a very serious thing. Seeing that a 24-year-old boy relies on cellos, bouzoukis or square tambourines as ammunition for a macrofestival represents a very happy daring, and it is moving to hear how an entire esplanade sings his own pieces such as ABC (the one of “You need courage, you don’t need money”), of very evident traditional affiliation.

Álvaro de la Fuente endorsed the gift of the authentic quejío, that of a singularity that goes far beyond his daring gold polo shirt or those terrifying metallic pink espadrilles. The personal language that we admired in that Rosalía de The Angels is the one that Guitarrica shows now in that Martian album, fascinating and heartfelt that has just been marked, The quarryand that yesterday shelled between absorbed and deeply moved.

Guitarricadelafuente at the Mad Cool Festival, 2022.
Guitarricadelafuente at the Mad Cool Festival, 2022. Ricardo Rubio (Europe Press)

The boy has a soul, he has his own look, he displays a stylistic self-confidence from which good ideas do not stop emerging and he has even become, with the same naturalness with which his curls tumble over his face, an exciting new LGTBI icon. He certainly didn’t deserve the rudeness of having his sound cut off in the middle of his last song, My waywhile the prairie was hoarse with that rumbera reading of My Way. Fortunately, the seed has already taken root and gives the impression that Álvaro is not going to be shut up in the coming years.

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