For the last decade a trio from Estepona have been composing the ultimate soundtrack to adolescence. The music of Airbag is a heady mix of fierce chords, complex rhythms and lyrics about vinyl, comics, UFOs, horror films, the fact that September is still summer and of course, falling in love. For anyone who has gone through the roller coaster ride that is adolescence, their songs cannot but conjure images of teenage life and all its stereotypes.
After their first concert on 23rd August 1998 in the now defunct Badulake bar in Estepona, the intense energy that the band members Adolfo, Pepe and José Andrés emit using the guitar, bass and drums has been felt by everyone. Airbag’s catchy melodies are reminiscent of the sixties. Their music is influenced by bands such as the Ramones, the Beach Boys (the cover of their latest album, Alto Disco, is clearly a tribute to the legendary album Pet Sounds) and Phil Spector, whose famous “Wall of Sound” production technique reaches new levels in La gran decepción, one of the singles on their fourth album. “We like them because of their freshness, their power and their authenticity” explains José Andrés Albertos, the drummer.
“We’re not worthy”. This is all Albertos has to say about their level of success amongst both their local fans in Andalusia, as well as on the indie circuit as a whole. A legion of fans come to every live concert armed with floats (a symbol inspired by lyrics from their first album “although they say I’m a bit old for it, I won’t swim without my float”) and who provide a chorus to all their songs. Their repertoire includes singles like Marta no es una punk and Big aquarium. They continue to be one of the few bands that can attract such a mixed audience of punks, rockers, pop fans and mods who nostalgically shout out for more at the top of their lungs.
They are aware of the fact that the Andalusian music movement has strong roots in Granada, “a city with a long musical tradition and a history of producing important groups”, and retain a keen interest in the musical awakening of the region. “In the past, music promoters have continuously ignored Andalusia, and groups from different areas rarely came to play in the South of Spain” explains Albertos. “Now it seems that things are slowly changing. There are a lot of initiatives and theatres, like the Cervantes in Malaga, that bring in artists like Patty Smith and John Cale. Things are beginning to change”.
They are now riding the crest of the wave and show no signs of giving up. Airbag are indeed the definitive band of eternal youth.
• AIRBAG. Big Aquarium, del álbum Ensamble Cohetes (Ejército Rojo, 2003)
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