Hot weather, blue sea, sun in the mid February? No, it's not why we visited Malaga from 8th to 10th February. We arrived for the best Europian rockin' weekender out there at the moment - The Rockin' Race (in my opinion).
Torremolinos, the place where festival takes place, is brilliantly positioned and easily reachable via Malaga airport, so many foreign rockabilly fans like us visited the weekender.
We arrived on the first day of the meeting 8th February, so we missed the performace of 'Hip Shakin' Trio' in 'Buensol' appartments bar.
In the evening Palacio de Congressos would see some of the finest musicians like The Riverside Trio, Barrence Whitfield and The Seastniffers.
When we got to the Palacio The Beerbellys from Spain were finishing their set. Both days straight forward rockabilly bands were placed as opening acts of the day.
Smokestack Lightning from Germany didn't pull a huge crowd, maybe because of the early (by Spanish standards) start or maybe because most of their music has a lot of influences besides rockabilly. Americana, roots style music for music lovers.
The next slot was reserved for The Riverside Trio. It's their first live apperance for many years, but the guys sounded perfect. 1980's rockabilly music with many originals like 'Move On' and well known classics like 'Slip Slip Slippin' In' (but played with their own style) got the crowd dancing and shouting for more.
After half an hour of music from the DJ, the performer that I wanted to see the most tok the stage - Barrence Whitfield. This amazing entertainer and unique singer was backed by The Seastniffers (how perfect is that!). Mr. Whitfield played an hour of hottest rhythm 'n' blues rock 'n' rollers and we went mad. His set included 'Juicy Fruit', 'Bip Bop Bip', 'Bloody Mary' and many others. The energy with which Barrence played his gig could easily power a small town for a week ;)
It was 3 O'Clock at night and we got really tired (after travelling all day, but we decided to wait for The Monteases, surf/instrumental band from Germany. Hearing their albums we were expecting good strong set, but were slightly dissapointed by the noisy, distorted sound which made the music appear to be slightly out of tune. So after 3 songs we got tired and hit the pillow.
The next day started with blue sky and friendly sun and after a few hours in beautiful Malaga we got to the Palacio for the second day of the rockin' extravaganza.
First on the bill was The Wild Goners from France. Straight ahead rockabilly band with a good strong set which kept a few rockers dancing.
The Seatsniffers were playing after them. They brought that greasy, bluesy rock 'n' roll not only to the festival at that time, but to the rockin' scene at the moment. With every gig this superb Belgian 4-piece gets more and more fans all over the Europe. BTW, the band is releasing their new CD, check for this your local rock 'n' roll supplier.
Bill Haley's Comets were undoubtly the band of the evening, as it's them who pulled the biggest crowd and gave a 100% show. Only 3 members of the original band was on stage. The band didn't play the Jodimars songs as maybe expected, but a lot of all time favourites like 'Rock around the Clock' and 'Shake Rattle & Roll' made us go bonkers :)
49 Special from Portugal gave us rockin' country sound with their 'special' trumpet twist. A powerful performance from one of the most memorable front men Pedro Serra and his band!
The Space Cadets - all star band hit the stage after 3.00 at night and due to bad sound the music wasn't as clear and dynamic as we had expected from their previous shows.
The Rockin' Race festival stands out from others because it doesn't have 'filler' bands and it covers many styles. A few of my friend mentioned that the festival lacks enough pure rockabilly bands, but there are already many of this kind of festival who every year present a bill packed with authentic sounding rockabilly groups. So the Rockin' Race is a breath of fresh air.
I hope to see you there next year.
Check out You Tube, as there are already a few videos available to watch from the two days of rockin' heaven!