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Concert night in Bilbao

sunny 22 °C
View Basque Country on Sajeh's travel map.

A summary of this weekend's gains: the discovery of Kafe Antzokia - one of Bilbao's coolest music venues, a fun and entertaining Teenagers-concert, an insane revelation named Crystal Fighters - electronic music combined with traditional Basque instruments, the long-anticipated book The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave, and an insight in the gaps of the language education in the Basque Country.

On Friday, after completing our weekly duties at EiTB, we went to the Deusto quarter to meet Mikel, the guy with whom I'd been staying during my first weekend in Bilbao. That weekend, I had discovered that The Teenagers, a French, London-based indie electro-pop band, would be playing in Kafe Antzokia on the 23rd of this month. I was really craving a concert, it had been TOO LONG, and I knew that Michael and Niké would feel the same, so they tagged along.

Mikel, Tiina and Sami also joined us, and so it was that on Friday we headed to one of Bilbao's top alternative music venues. Kafe Antzokia used to be a small theatre, so just the setting itself was enough to make me giggle of happiness. Prices turned out to be a bit higher than what we're used to over here though: 3 euro for a simple tap beer! Luckily there was still the ever-cheap white wine at € 1.50!

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Niké, Michael, me, Sami and Tiina in front of the stage at Kafe Antzokia (photo by Mikel)

The Bilboloop festival night kicked off with a concert of Tom Boyle. It's a local band so I was curious but unfortunately for them and us, it was a true yawn-fest. I've rarely been that bored during a concert. My deepest apologies to their fans, but there was no stage presence, no chemistry between the band members and - most importantly - no interesting music.

Second to take the stage were The Teenagers. They greeted the audience with 'Kaixo!', so thumbs up for that. Easily accessible but nonetheless good music and a very energetic lead singer, who was mostly standing at literally only a meter away from the crowd, made sure that it was a very successful gig. Especially when people could go on stage during one of the last songs (The Homecoming), all teenage girls went wild.

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The Teenagers' lead singer
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The Teenagers: everyone on stage during The Homecoming

Rave & Basque folk

The biggest surprise of the evening was Crystal Fighters. Usually a five-member group, there were only three of them now, but they created so much noise that it was as if there were a lot more. How best to describe their music... It's heavy electro combined with traditional Basque instruments (txalaparta) at a high speed pace which resulted in something close to a rave concert. Insanity, but inventive insanity that we are more than willing to embrace and put on our iPods. The fact that some of them are of Basque descent and that they integrate Basque folk in their music makes it even better.

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Crystal Fighters: lovely insanity

We stuck around for the afterparty for a while and then headed back to Mikel's apartment, where five of us slept in the living room. In total, there were ten people sleeping in the flat that night, which apparently was a record. I feel obligated to mention the insane hospitality again!

Next day, schoolwork! Yes, that also has to happen (more often than I'm doing now actually, I feel like I've used all my spare time in the last two months, and that the next two will be all work and no play).
I stayed at Mikel's place to work, pondering about an article that - yes, you're reading this right - links a Korean movie to the Basque social conduct.

Education gaps

About that, I had a talk with Mikel and his flatmate about the way they teach English here in the Basque Country and I finally understand why almost no one speaks it properly. They told me that, for example, they would learn conjugations of verbs but didn't learn what the verbs mean. Or that they would just learn words and sentences by heart, but never how to apply them.
Also, they could not link the conjugations of English verbs to the Basque ones, because Basque simply doesn't have a connection to other European languages. I think, when teaching English here, it should be explained in Spanish, because it's just easier and more logical that way.

Anyway, those are my two cents on this. It just surprised me, because with a more efficient way of teaching English, I'm sure that the general level among the youth here would increase drastically.
Oh, and showing movies in their original language instead of dubbing would help. So far, I haven't found a single person here that actually likes the dubbing.

So, back to the weekend:
On Saturday evening I searched some bookstores for The Death of Bunny Munro, the new Nick Cave novel that I have been dying to read. I eventually found it in the Fnac store, my copy being one of the only two they had. Yay!

I stayed another night in Bilbao, sharing the Belgian chocolate that my grandparents brought. My hosts apparently loved it (how could you not)! Mikel told me about a festival with Basque bands in Arrasate on the 7th of November. We will definitely check that out and it would be a nice opportunity to be the host instead of the guest for once!

Talk soon! Gero arte!

Posted by Sajeh 19:43 Archived in Spain Tagged living_abroad

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