I’m not a huge fan of any of these bands, though when I was 15, 16 I listened to Manu Chao a lot for a while. In fact, I hadn’t heard any Systema Solar or Irie Révoltés prior to the concert and I knew that by now, I don’t like Manu Chao that much anymore either. But the concert became a bit of a family outing, with 3 of my sisters, my brother-in-law and my mom going (and my brother and his wife wanted to come, too, but unfortunately had problems with their tickets), so I decided I would like to go too, enjoy the Manu Chao nostalgia and maybe discover some new music.
When we arrived (after queuing for what seemed like hours to get through the security check) Colombian band Systema Solar were already playing. And until we found a spot and were settled, their concert was almost over. But honestly, I didn’t mind that much, since their music obviously wasn’t my cup of tea. I have to admit, listening to it a bit now, at home, I like it much more. Probably because it isn’t quite as reggae-y as their show was.
Irie Révoltés are a German band and on paper work very well for me – they have a little bit of everything in their music, which I like, and are opinionated in their lyrics, which I also like. But somehow it doesn’t quite come together for me. I also barely watched their show as their music didn’t pull me in and we were standing quite in the back, so after a while instead of watching and listening I talked to my family.
Finally Manu Chao came on. He definitely had the most presence on stage for me, probably because I also watched him more closely than the other two bands. But it was also a bit of a weird show. He had some animation on a screen behind him that looked really nice but there seemed to be about 10 minutes of material played on various loops during the entire duration of the concert.
As much as the animation repeated itself, there also seemed to be a couple of rhythms and melodies that were repeated throughout the concert. I’m unsure if it was just some parts of some songs sounding alike or whether it was a kind of signature melody, repeated to give the concert a theme. Or something else entirely. In any case it was a little irritating, especially because Manu Chao is not a songwriter who has like a great variation between his songs anyway.
But it was a generally entertaining concert. I liked that he didn’t play his songs (or at least the few songs I still knew) like the studio recording but that he had distinct live versions. And one of the cutest things was that he pronounced Wiesen [wee-zen] like wee-yeah-say. That amused me to no end. Yeah, sometimes I’m that easy.
I wouldn’t have minded if it had been a little shorter, but it certainly was no hardship to be there.