Review: I’m From Barcelona @ Scala



What a fantastic gig!

I left halls early and set about walking up to Scala. I walked right past it then did a cirlce round and found it. Outside the venue John was there talking to an I’m From Barcelona fan, who is also an artist and Jeffrey Lewis fan. I showed him the picture Jeff drew for me and he told me that he used to do comics, but lately he’s been doing lots of tipex on cardboard. He gave me one of his cards, and he happens to have an awesome website here. It wasn’t long before Adam and Crazy Bobbles arrived too. I had decided to try and sneak my camera in, and Bob is basically the camera-smuggling master, so he set about trying to scare me about getting caught, because security are so eager when searching people at the front of the queue. While we were waiting I heard someone say “oh hi Anika”, I turned around and it was Mark from Woodpigeon, who just happened to be walking by (on his way to see Women at the Borderline). I said Hi and he noted that I’m at the front for every show… which is true.

The time came to enter the venue. I saw the security body searching people ‘ohnoes!’ I thought. I transferred my lens from my pocket into my bag and swivelled my camera behind my back, and then tried to act casual. I got my ticket, let the lady have a peer in my bag and shake it about, then went up the stairs. PHEW. I made it.

I went and stood with Adam and John. Adam had said the support would be Soko, which I was pleased about because I had heard one of her songs before. Last month at the Chris Garneau show at The Luminaire I heard a song on the sound system which I actually quite liked. I made a mental note of the lyrics then googled them and found it was Soko’s song I’ll Kill Her. I actually almost saw her play last Friday as well because Jay Jay Pistolet said he would be playing at the Borderline, in support of her, but I didn’t go because I went home that weekend. I should have gone to the show. What I’ve derived from this show is that whenever you think “should I go to see [insert band name]?” the answer is always YES. At first I was like “hmm should I go see I’m From Barcelona?? I haven’t heard their new record. hmmm” then decided I should. I’m so, so, so glad I did.

I’m From Barcelona

So Soko took to the stage. She had a bout of uncontrollable giggles, which was quite infectious. She sang a completely bizarre song about thinking she’s pregnant because she’s getting fat. She’s not going to win any awards for her lyrics, but I really liked her. I thought her songs were sweet (in a demented, weird way) and I liked her accent and voice, and also the fact that she was so much fun! She did a few slower songs like ‘I will never love you more’ on the ukulele, and some faster songs like the one she did on drums which had something to do with wanting to be a tiger, handily she had a tiger to put on her head to complete the illusion. She told us she was ill, and asked the lights man to turn the lights down so they wouldn’t make her laugh. She said she hasn’t got a record yet because she has no money, to which the crowd replied ‘awwww’. She asked for a Ben to come play drums, and a random Ben turned up on stage. Soko said “you’re not my Ben!’ and then the rejected Ben exited the stage, to another round of ‘awww’ from the audience. The real Ben turned up afterwards, who happened to be the Ben from Mumford and Sons. Soko was then joined by some of the members from I’m From Barcelona, who lended their vocals to a crazy song about a cat, which involved lots of meowing. It was epic, in a domestic feline kind of way. I really, really enjoyed Soko’s set and would love to see her play again. I found this video of her with Kid Harpoon playing Late For The Devil, which is pretty good.

Then some members of I’m From Barcelona came on stage and started setting their gear up. This was my first time seeing I’m From Barcelona. I had a ticket to see them play in Brighton in 2007, but didn’t go because I was working 9-5 and it took me 2 hours to travel back to where I was staying, so I was too tired (I now realise I should have gone). Emanuel started setting up his pedals and asked if we thought the setlist was ok. The girl next to me asked him if they were really from Barcelona (I got the impression that her and her friends had just wandered into this gig without even knowing who was playing), Emanuel replied “no, we’re from Sweden, but don’t tell anybody!”. She seemed to not believe him and turned to me and said “are they from Barcelona?”. When I told her no she sounded disappointed. The band soon started playing, and it was so unbelievably good. There were 12 of them including Soko. Everyone was having so much fun, lots of group vocals, handclaps and dancing. Everyone was so animated, it was fantastic. Emanuel said the band were the support band for us, the audience, and asked us to say our names into the mic. For another song Emanuel got Adam, John and I to sing the lyrics with him to This Boy. It was hilarious. For yet another song Emanuel gave the mic to Bob for Adam and John to sing into. It was so much fun! There were also giant balloons and enough confetti to drown several small children. We jumped and sang, Emanuel crowd surfed. The band were singing to each other and laughing, every person in the room was having a ridiculous amount of fun. The set highlight was, of course, Treehouse. Bob filmed We’re From Barcelona (which was another highlight) and it’s so fantastic, watch it, watch it 10 times! I have. There were so many balloons and so much confetti, and so many band members, it was just fantastic. This band really know how to make people happy. This was definately a contender for funnest show ever.

After the show Bob decided to stuff a handfull of confetti into my bag. When I took my scarf out of my bag this morning confetti flung all over my room. To summarise this giant blog: I’m From Barcelona are amazing and you need to see them live.

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7 Responses to Review: I’m From Barcelona @ Scala

  1. Crazybobbles November 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Hehe sorry for the stuffing, i have a trail of confetti at the office if that’s any consolation. That video is “Oversleeping” and “we’re from barcelona”. I didn’t film treehouse unfortunately, i was too busy making shapes and dancing (and confetti fighting no doubt) :D

  2. Chalky November 26, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    Hey I’ve come across the site with tippex and cardboard before – it’s Hungamunga! The connection is… I reviewed a band called “Off Ground Touch” a while back who played at the Hungamunga Festival, really liked them actually – they have a really good song called “Soft Options” on their MySpace page and I remember the signer had an egg shaker sellotaped to his bare foot. Small world :-)

  3. anikainlondon November 26, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Haha it’s ok! And I don’t know why I thought you filmed Treehouse, I think I must have had it on the brain! I will ammend that.

    And that’s funny about the tippex and cardboard thing, it really is a small world. Atleast in the music/art world anyway.

  4. girl November 27, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    funny because I tend to never know what people in bands look like, so when I saw that first picture in your entry I thought to myself, “funny the girl in I’m from Barcelona really looks like Soko” and then I actually READ your entry, haha. I’ve seen soko recently, and she was actually pretty ‘boring’ (but maybe we have talked about this before?) compared to the first time I saw her which was in London opening for, I think, Noah and the Whale (which sadly I ended up not seeing because I had to run and see another show). so it is nice to see that she had a great performance in London (where she has already played about, I swear, 243 times.) because my spanish flatmate was a little disappointed… she almost only sang new songs. which, by the way, are better arranged than the old ones.. it just isn’t as funny to sing along to songs you don’t know the lyrics to ;)

  5. Scala November 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    We’ll have to increase security if you’re planning on visiting us again. ;-)
    Nice story.

  6. anikainlondon November 28, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    Haha ah man you big venues are too strict, who are a few photos going to hurt? Nobody.

  7. girl December 7, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    …and people would be using their cell phones to take photos anyway, so it’s definitely better to have beautiful, good quality pictures of the artists around on the internet than shitty phone ones ;)

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