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Review: Playing for Change Band in Seville

100% great vibe and positive energy. That’s really all there is to it. The Playing for Change Band hit Seville alongside Kiko Veneno and Pitingo in a concert that left us all screaming for more.

By:  Cecilia Bogaard
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Artist: Playing for Change Band, Kiko Veneno, Pitingo
Date: 11/12/2009
Location: Seville

If you spend a large portion of your day online, it’s pretty likely that you’ve seen the classic youtube video Stand by Me at some point over the last couple of years. The curious amongst you wanted to know more and found yourself entering the world of Playing for Change via their website. The more adventurous found their mouse instinctively clicking on the GET CD/DVD HERE button. And the insatiable amongst you were probably left with a strange sensation of “Now what?”.

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When I heard that Playing for Change had not only formed a band, but that it was to perform in Seville, I was a little wary. For one thing, the concert was to be performed in Isla Mágica. Call me a sceptic, but it just didn’t seem right that a bottom-up movement of street musicians to inspire the human race to come together through music should be performing in a theme park.

The questionable location turned out to be spot on and the sound was awesome. However, whoever decided to put Pitingo on stage was somewhat misguided. While mixing New Orleans blues and world music with flamenco could be a match made in heaven, Pitingo is too groomed and commercial, and the contrast was too much to bear. Kiko Veneno got into the swing of things and let the focus of the evening take centre stage.

For one night, and one night only, stardom took backstage to be replaced by pure, unadulterated and positive music. The highlight was most definitely Grandpa Elliot dressed in denim dungarees and red top (as seen on TV!). With haunting and sorrowful vocals and piercing harmonica he played a blues that cut through the fake smoke and make you forget where you were. After the first tune, the audience was hooked, screaming “Grandpa! Grandpa!” at every possible opportunity. I couldn’t help but join in.

Some might argue that this is a glorified cover band. But they’d be wrong. Playing for Change exists to bring people together through music (as well as raising money for their foundation). It works. The audience was a bizarre mixture of ages and urban tribes: grungy students, professionals, backpackers, party people. I even saw a local judge swaying with the music. In the background, the stagehand couldn’t help singing along before rushing in to pass Grandpa his harmonica. Breathtaking.




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El 18 December 2009 a las 10:04 AM, Humphrey dijo...

One is not supposed to be jealous, especially not at this time of the year, but I must admit to being a little jealous of all you lucky people who were able to attend the concert!

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El 18 December 2009 a las 2:21 PM, oa_p_co dijo...

Hi! I was yesterday in the PFC concert in Madrid… this is my opinion:
A great plenty of a audience, swarming with arrogant yuppies without any inconvenience to rape the authenticity of the PFC project for cleaning their dirty consciences. Moreover, they ruin an amazing concert to us, the small group of person which paid the tickets and which knew the wonder was going to occur in the Caja Magica enclosure. Luckily, the enormous quality of the band overcomed this low optimum atmosphere, the drinks and noise in the bad-mannered VIP-zone and the ruin time of the ‘celebrities’ in the stage, including the insolent Nena Daconte who, if she had any dignity, she had not been dared to share stage with authentic musicians with the standing of PFC members.

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El 18 December 2009 a las 8:01 PM, Caracola dijo...

Excelente crónica, compañera. Describe a la perfección la atmósfera y las emociones transmitidas a aquellos que no tuvimos la suerte de asistir. No obstante, gracias a tu artículo y a los vídeos que lo acompañan podemos disfrutar del concierto, aunque sea en diferido.

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