There’s something rumbling in the Valencian underground, and we’re not talking about the shoddy metro system…
We left the ingeniously-dubbed Festunizer day-of-mayhem last October with feelings that maybe we were on the cusp of something big, something new. There has been a recent boom in hardcore/math rock/punk bands hailing from Valencia and we are quite literally witnessing a shift; a new scene is being born. This could change everything…
00:30am 27/10/13: Magazine club, in the Juan Llorens neighbourhood of Valencia, has just witnessed a 12 hour indie-punk-hardcore mash-up gig spectacular with short interludes for paella and pizza. Sounds idyllic, right? The event was organized by Valencian post-hardcore trio Betunizer to present their new album, Gran Veta, and they invited a whole hoard of rock-band friends along for the ride. Cue Negro, Alberto Montero, Picore, Lefty Wankers, Unicornibot, Za!, No More Lies and Nueva Vulcano reducing Magazine to a sweating, dancing, crowdsurfing sea of inebriated bodies – with special praise reserved for organizers Betunizer.
Whoever came up with the Betunizer Festival nickname/play-on-words “Festunizer”, well, well done you! And say the name of the venue right, guiris, it’s Ma-ga-thee-neh, got it?
Also present at the Festunizer were punk rock duo Cigüeña, who last weekend played in an unjustifiably small venue in Sedaví with newcomers Césped de Verdad. As I write this, your sticker of a nun suggestively eating an ice-cream is stuck on my laptop – gracias. Despite some issues with the sound system (sort your mics out, Pub Darkness!), the bar was alive with raw energy.
An event similar to the Festunizer took place last summer in Sant Feliu de Guíxols: the 14th edition of the legendary Sant Feliu Fest. Always heavy in local punk and hardcore bands, this small “DIY” festival just north of Barcelona is organized by l’Associació TZVR at the Atzavara Club. And, of course, we cannot talk about Sant Feliu without mentioning the come back of the mighty No More Lies. The hardcore legends are back after a whopping 9 year break, and they’re back with a vengeance. This came as great news for longtime fans of the band who fly the flag for hardcore in Catalonia. Go and listen to their new album, In The Shade of Expectation right now, go on!
Another big name on the Sant Feliu Fest bill was Nueva Vulcano, who also announced their long anticipated comeback. The punk rock giants are back for their first release in 4 looooong years.
Valencian band Cuello, with vocals by Jose Guerrero of Betunizer fame, also joined the line-up as well as local indie band Bullitt. With this last paragraph in mind, maybe this article should have been called “East Coast underground” instead? *throws East Coast gang sign*
Another band that doesn’t quite fit the same genre as the rest of the names here are garage punk rockers Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! led by erratic warbling frontman Juanito Wau. Possibly one of the first Valencian bands that I was introduced to, Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! have earned a special place in my heart, and my Spotify playlists, and never ever disappoint live.
Maybe the consistent high quality and closeness of some of the bands mentioned can be put down to the fact that many members were, or still are, playing in one or more groups. The Tracahombres guitarrist plays in Cuello. The Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! drummer plays in España. The Betunizer frontman sings for Cuello and also plays bass in electro-psychadelic group Jupiter Lion…
Before I moved to Valencia I was used to having both national and international rock and indie bands frequently tour nearby cities. As an avid gig-goer, my first thoughts when I moved to Spain 3 years ago were that the rock scene wasn’t as prominent as the one that I’d grown up in. But now it looks like all that is about to change, with many bands being brought to the area by Barcelona-based record label BCore and label/booking agency La Castanya. I can only thank you guys for the joy of dancing to Nueva Vulcano in La Residencia as the clock struck midnight on my 26th birthday.
Maybe it’s the fact that Valencia was previously infamous for its laughably awful Ruta del Bakalao phase… But let’s hope the Valencia underground scene changes all that.
Valencian bands to look out for:
Many of these bands feature on the Magazine recopilata albums – also worth a listen if you’re up for discovering more music of this ilk.
14th March – Capaje, Césped de Verdad, Lefty Wankers @ Magazine, Valencia
10th May – No More Lies + Carmonas @ Magazine, Valencia
31st May – Jupiter Lion @ Primavera Sound, Barcelona
1st June – Showcase BCore: Cuello, Fuckin’ Bollocks, No More Lies @ Primavera Sound – La  de Apolo, Barcelona
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