Yes, as well as translating, interpreting and writing and correcting texts, Más Que Traductores also has time for some “culture for the spirit”, indulging in a bit of indie music when it comes to these parts. So, we couldn’t miss an occasion like the one offered by the BIME Live Festival: two long nights of concerts at the BEC (Bilbao Exhibition Centre).
The main act on Friday was the unstoppable PJ Harvey, although some people were waiting more anxiously for the chance to dance to Suede. No doubt, though, that the main attraction on Saturday night was The Chemical Brothers. But there were also a few surprises. The big one on Friday was the way Suede put together their show, with almost an hour spent promoting their new (and depressing) album with a giant screen projecting the short films that accompany the songs from the album. Actually rather than a few short films, it was more like a half-length feature movie as the same actors appeared throughout in an intense and uncomfortable story of personal tragedy. Not the best way to win over the public, especially given the starting time of the concert and the fact that the band were almost completely unseen behind the screen. That’s why about half the audience opted to exit stage left and head to where Nacho Vegas was performing. We, though, decided to remain faithful to the Englishmen and our loyalty was rewarded with a second part of the concert. Yes, the good will of Brett Anderson, such a diva when on stage, delighted the audience with a series of Suede’s most festival-friendly hits. What we all had been waiting for.
Saturday’s surprise arrived in the form of The Divine Comedy. Despite the performance being limited to the smaller theatre stage with the majority of the public sitting down, the charismatic cabaret of the band’s leader, Neil Hannon, ensured that most of the audience were dancing in their seats. Apart from the high quality of the music, there was a sense of showmanship (and humour) present throughout in a very English way even though the band actually hail from Northern Ireland. An on-stage bar in the shape of a world globe, the singer dressed up as Napoleon and an ongoing rapport with the fans left us wanting for more. While we recall the first edition of BIME for the memorable performances of John Grant and the Manic Street Preachers, this fourth edition will be remembered indisputably for The Divine Comedy.
And of course, there was PJ Harvey – a perfect performance. It was like listening to her songs with the quality of a record but in a live setting. This elf-like being left a powerful impression, not just with her outfit of black leather shorts and infinitely-sleeved blouse (she looked like a kind of punky Tinker Bell) and the fact she was surrounded by a stupendous group of, wait for it, nine musicians, but the way she launched her socially-charged messages with a voice of pure crystal.
And there was more: The Horrors, Belako, Edwyn Collins (it was impressive to see the strength of the one-time Orange Juice singer, recovering from a brain haemorrhage, with a professional performance and a sense of humour), Lambchop and The Wild Beasts. And not to forget the Chemical Brothers who most of the Saturday crowd had come to see. And among the public, some of the stars of Game of Thrones. What more could you ask for from a festival?