Venomous flamenco returns

S.C. Madrid, November 18th, 2006

‘Pata palo’, ‘Los managers’, ‘Los delincuentes’, ‘Ay, José’... There wasn’t a single song which the enthused audience didn’t sing in chorus at the top of their lungs. With the Sala Heineken Madrid jam-packed with fans, musical descendants, some neophyte or another and aromatic smoke, Rafael Amador and his own pulled out all the stops to bring back to life not just Pata Negra, but also that venomous, streetwise spirit which shook the very foundation of flamenco back in the eighties.

Rafael Amador, in concert (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)

The concert revolved around the figure of Rafael Amador, who showed that despite life’s harsh blows still dragging on, he’s enough to uphold the repertoire of the revived band. And moreover, to put new songs into circulation such as ‘El pollo robao’, a denunciation of the past persecution against the gypsies. Still surprising is the way of synthesizing the people’s wisdom in mundane lyrics, with their sourness, their sarcasm and their rhythm. Rock singer-songwriter. Jondo bluesman. A great guitarist. And a monster on stage.

Rafael grows from song to song, urged on by olés, whistles and cheering of “torero, torero!”. He rips his voice to make the cantes burst with expressiveness. And he goes from one guitar to the other, from flamenco to electric, from the solid one to the empty box... which, for the first time, discovers the sensation of being strummed. The band plays with a rock attitude, though three flamenco guitars come together; those of Caracafé, El Pájaro and Rafael himself. Adrenaline in measured-out doses, from AC/DC to Camarón. Drums and congas at high r.p.m.’s.

Too bad about the finish. Instead of the expected grand finale, Rafael made an exit and left the group to finish things off with a version of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’. And the end. For a few minutes, hundreds of people resisted leaving the venue. But two convincing arguments drew the crowd to the exit: no, nobody came out on stage... and no, drinks were no longer being served at the bars (Not even the beer sponsoring the venue? Not even).

Rafael Amador, 'Pata Negra' (Photo: Daniel Muñoz)



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