Tuesday 21:30, Start The Bus, Bristol 20/9/16
When I first saw that Guadalupe Plata were playing for free at STB I thought sick, a band from Spain are playing around the corner and its FREE ergo it will be great. I listened to the band online and I thought fantastic, they sound great too! In hindsight, what I was really thinking was omg yay I get to hear that smooth sultry Spanish accent..
Fast-forward to the gig and Guadalupe Plata are playing a set full to the brim with rockabilly type bluesy jams lasting 9 mins a piece and MINIMAL VOCALS. That’s right ladies and gents, you heard it here first, no effing vocals. The aesthetics were on point; rugged looking Spanish men with artisan instruments- the bass player using a single string setup that looked as if it had been fashioned out of a shoebox and an elastic band. Sadly, the music fell a little flat for me after a while, and even the string bass lost its novelty and started to look a bit pretentious. Having said this, GP’s sound was undeniably danceable and although I sort of wanted to have a bad time due to my overwhelming sense of disappointment at the lack of Spanish, I couldn’t help but dance to the music these cowboys were making.
As the set was drawing to a close, something of a miracle happened. I forgot to mention that Bristol’s Spanish scene were out in full force and fucking loving it, and also that Start The Bus was pretty rammed considering the following one imagines an underground Spanish band would have in Bristol (Hinds are obviously excluded from this thought process). Guadalupe Plata were hiding something, a special treat for the encore of ‘Otra! Otra!’ being shrieked at them by the group of Spanish bands at the front. The surprise in question was ‘Milana’, a golden nugget of perfection, totally embodying everything I could have possibly wanted in a song, and the best possible ending to the night: twanging hillbilly guitars, wailing sleazy vocals about the love of a woman named Milana, and a thrashing drum beat to meld it all together. Lovely.
In the Wild Wild West, these guys could have been the perfect addition to a rowdy scene in a dusty saloon, the Texanesque sounds providing the backdrop to a standoff between rival sheriffs and their mates. In the Wild Wild West Country on the other hand, lo siento pero I can’t say the performance had quite the same effect.
Also note to self: probably best not to review a band on at half 9 when you have been on it since 4pm- Guadalupe Plata could have been truly amazing and probably were. Well done.