I admit, I can often get caught up in mainstream radio and what it regurgitates. Often I will just stick to what I’ve already purchased and have on my iPod and don’t always get to hear new music unless someone mentions it, or I happen to hear a snippet of it in passing and research further. Thankfully, I stumbled across the musical gem Molotov Jukebox whilst I was in Spain. As those of you who know me or have read my other posts know, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. So much so I even have subscribed to have Juegos de Tronos (Game of Thrones in Spanish) on my newsfeed. So when they mentioned that a band (unknown to me) lead by the exuberant Natalia Tena was touring Spain for the weekend, my curiosity was piqued.
Within a few minutes of watching and listening to them on Youtube and Spotify, I was absolutely hooked. Words cannot accurately describe how excited I was to have found out about this band and their ‘Gypstep’ sound. An energetic combination of jazz, funk, gypsy vibes, latin grooves and ska, featuring the trumpet (and its mute – my weakness!), accordion and violin. It was pretty much the music I had been dreaming about writing, singing and dancing to ever since I began studying music. Without any hesitation, I booked myself a bus, hostel and a ticket to see them in Sevilla.
For those of you wanting to visit Sevilla, there are plenty of options. From Córdoba (and other main cities), you can catch the train (renfe) or bus (there are various companies, such as Alsa or Sociobus). Whilst the bus is longer, it is usually close to half the price of the train. As it was a rash, last-minute decision, I took the bus. I had visited Sevilla in the past (read more here), so I was happy to just wander around the city and even catch a movie in V.O. What is V.O. you might ask? Well, as the Spanish dub EVERYTHING (from foreign films to tv shows) into Spanish, you have to find specific cinemas and sessions that screen films in English. Look out for V.O. (original voice) or V.O.S (original voice with subtitles in Spanish) if you want to see films in their original format (which is another debate altogether).
After my afternoon of movie watching, exploring the city and the pre-requisite siesta, 9:30pm finally rolled around I made my way to Sala Malandar with my dancing shoes on. There was a substantial crowd and once Molotov Jukebox hit the stage, everyone was ready to party! Natalia and Sam make an enigmatic duo on stage and connect incredibly well with the audience, in English and Spanish. I was always enthralled with Tena’s acting chops and found her character portrayals captivating, but seeing her on stage as herself, just brought my girl-crush up a whole other level. In fact, I would go as far to say that she deserves more fame and recognition for her role in this band, than any of her previous work. She is a natural performer, and the band work so incredibly well together to bring a lively, entertaining and upbeat performance. They played through their catalogue from their previous EP’s and newest release, Carnival Flower. The crowd and myself sung and danced along to every song and even put our phones away at stages to completely let go and enjoy the music wholeheartedly. I was surprised how well known they were here in Spain and it’s clear they have a lot of passionate fans, who brought memorabilia from Natalia’s parents’ towns and knew every word from their songs.
After their energetic and upbeat performance, the band even stayed around to sign merchandise and take photos with fans. I was so impressed by how long they stuck around for after the show, taking the time to happily talk to fans and take ‘selfie’ after ‘selfie’. After waiting a good hour or so, I managed to finally get my much-loved pic with the gorgeous Natalia Tena herself, just before they were whisked away for the night. It was certainly a night I won’t forget and thanks to my personalised signed cds, I have the perfect soundtrack for my daily walks to school, dancing around the house, road trips through Spain and for anytime I might need a ‘pick-me-up’.
My Top 5 Song Picks
- Don’t Panic – One of my favourites, this song is driven by alluring trumpet melodies, which are perfectly paired with Natalia’s sultry vocals from its slow and sexy start to upbeat and energetic end.
- Give It A Go – This song puts a smile on my face every time I listen to it. A fun, calypso-like and upbeat tune about giving love a go. Listen out for the seamlessly-placed Mario theme.
- Tropical BadBoy – Another song perfect for swinging your hips to and getting a good workout. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself dancing in a hot chiringuito (beach bar).
- Trying – I dare you to try not to move your hips throughout and sing along to the catchy chorus.
- Gypsy Funeral – This song really lives up to the Gypsy in its title. It starts off slow, before taking the listener on a rollercoaster ride for the aural senses; building up to a rush of a jumping chorus and then bringing them back down to the swinging verses and back up again.