You may think SXSW is the first one kicking off festival season, having held court for up-and-coming bands and artists the past several years, turning Austin, Texas into bedlam once a year. But there other festivals, kicking things off sooner – almost timing it to the last winter snowstorms, melting into the Spring thaw. La Radio Encendida in Madrid has been going on 15 years now. A showcase for homegrown bands out of Spain; some brand new, some getting their reputations established. But a sounding board for new talent put on each year via Radio Nacional España’s Radio 3, who broadcast the two day event live and stream it for all the world to check out.
And like all festivals – there are bands definitely to keep an eye out for, bands that need a little more wood-shedding and bands that should give it up and start something else.
Captains is one of those bands who have been on the radar since they first started making waves in 2015. Fronted by German singer Fee Reega and founded by producer David Baldo, Captains is a heady mashup of Post-Punk/Slam Poetry/Experimental and Folk, along with a few other wide-ranging influences, blended into a raw and intoxicating set of songs that earned the band “best new emerging Artist” last year. This year, in fact a few days ago, they released their self-titled debut album, confirming hunches that Captains is a band to watch and have a future extending well beyond Madrid.
They did a stand-out set, which was broadcast live and recorded for posterity by RNE Radio 3. The mix is a little shaky at the start, but quickly settles in – one of the joys of mixing live music on the fly. Would you have it any other way?
But a compelling and enjoyable band, offering further proof that Spain is also a player in the world of New Music – and they were one of several top-notch bands sharing the stage at the festival from last week (which may constitute the first of the seasons Festivals, followed by Primavera Sound in a couple weeks). I will be posting more throughout the coming week.
Keep an open mind – sit with it for a bit. It’s a rewarding experience, especially if you crank it up.