Sometimes the stars just seem to align and you’re presented with an opportunity you can’t miss.
I’ve had quite a bit of luck over the years. In the English teaching industry it’s rare you’re out of work before 7/8pm and as a result, getting to gigs can be a bit of a nightmare. Thankfully in Tokyo a few gigs, such as Stereophonics, The Charlatans and a few more very conveniently landed on my days off, although there were a fair few I missed too.
Having found out just a week beforehand that Vintage Trouble would be playing in Santander – about an hour and a half from Bilbao – on a Saturday night, my housemates and I had swiftly sorted out tickets and a hotel and found ourselves in Cantabria for the gig.
After a bit of rainy sightseeing we headed over to the venue, Escenario, at around 8.30pm. Having come from Japan where gigs tend to start before most people have had their lunch, it was quite a surprise to discover that the doors wouldn’t even be opening until 9pm. They do tend to do things late here!
We weren’t sure if there was a support on, so we decided to prop up the bar until further notice. After a few cañas (the standard, ever so slightly small beer) we set our eyes on something a little bigger: cachis.
I’d never heard of these until this night, but my hazy memory and a bit of Googling suggests they’re over a pint. I’d say they’re closer to two, but as I said, my memory is ever so slightly blurry.
It turned out there was a support act and a pretty good one at that. When two geezers took to the stage in matching tiger print I was a little apprehensive, but Las Bengala were a nice surprise.
Despite only there only being two of them – a guitarist and a drummer – they made a massive sound which reminded me of a heavier Black Keys. On reflection, that might be because there were only two of them, but that’s as good as I can remember.
The main reason for us visiting Santander took to the stage around 11pm if memory serves, which wasn’t too dissimilar to Sonic Mania last year where the headliners didn’t take to the stage until well into the morning!
Opening with a sucker-punch combo of ‘Strike Your Light’ and ‘Blues Hand Me Down’, just like their gig in Japan in 2016 the band managed to perfectly blend their old-school funk/rock sound with the more mellow moments such as ‘Another Man’s Words’ and the always welcome ‘Doin’ What You Were Doin”. Ty Taylor was as impressive as ever (surely one of the best frontmen around?) and the band were as tight as I’ve come to expect.
I’d like to provide a more in-depth review but the truth is that after a day of drinking topped off with three cachis the gig is a complete blur from around the sixth song onwards. It was nice to hear some new material along the way, although I have to say there did seem to be a little too much of it for my liking. Suppose you can’t please everybody!
In what seemed like no time at all the screeching opening notes of Run Like The River were echoing around the building and the end of the gig was surely not far off. Unfortunately for Laurence and George they were outside during this point (that’ll be the ale) so I was left to my own devices with our new mates Beatriz and Loic, as Ty’s seemingly signature march through the crowd and surf back to stage provided the highlight of the evening. I’ll let the video do the talking.
A couple more songs came and went and the crowd dispersed into the night, sweaty as you’d expect from a Vintage Trouble gig. In the days since the gig I’ve found out that cachis are supposed to be shared amongst friends.
I guess that explains a lot.