Saturday, September 24, 2005


Merce Festival Barcelona 2005

OK, so it’s 1687 and Barcelona is suffering from a plague of locusts, who are munching their way through all the crops and nobody can find a way to get rid of them. Somebody has the bright idea of doing a trade-in on the existing city saint, and swapping all the prayers over to the Virgin of Mercy – consequently all the bugs disappear and we all get to stay out until 6.00am, drinking beer and watching bands, pretty good huh?

That’s the great thing about Barcelona, the Fiestas are like buses – miss one there’s no need to worry there will be another coming right along soon. So not a month after the week long mayhem of the Gracia Festival along comes Merce, four days of live music, drinking, free access to all museums and galleries, more drinking, fireworks, human towers with kids on top, demons running around with fireworks, four meter giants wobbling about the streets and even more drinking.

Live music is everywhere, something like 100 gigs over the whole festival. Caught an absolute blinder last night at The Forum – Saul Williams, American rapper / slam-poet / political agitator – really moving and motivating, and playing in front of a huge crowd of several thousand people all for free. Also caught a pretty cool Belgian electro punk-pop band called Vive la Fete (below) – kind of a1980’s Debbie Harry fronting D.A.F. with guitars, put together by a former bass player from dEUS.

The other great thing is that the Metro stays open all night from Thursday til’ Sunday, 24 hours – can you imagine that happening in somewhere like London? Now if we could only fix it so that the shops can open over the holiday, so we could buy bread and a litre of milk, then things would be perfect.


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