Sotogrande School Rocks
Louie Louie Estepona
Nov 22nd 2018
Firstly no pictures or video of this event. I am from the UK and it’s been 20 years since we could video or photograph other people’s children (yes i know this is Spain but old habits die hard). Also i didn’t want to get in the way of the soccer Mums (and Dads), cameras held high who would undoubatbley have garrotted me if I got in the way of them capturing their Childs performance, and quite rightly so, I mean this moment was as much for them as the performer.
Organised by Mr. School of Rock aka Mr Camp Rock aka Mr Camp Rock 2 Kez Wicks, the students from Sotogrande school got to grace the same stage as hundreds of International musicians and superstars including Fred Wesley, The Vargas Blues band, O'Funkillo, Bourbon and Henri Herbert to name just a few. (Louie Louie is well know World wide as a top a venue for cult acts in Spain).
I arrived late and walked into a full horn section blasting the chorus of ‘Jail house rock’ by Elvis which happens to be one of my fav songs so a great way to ease me into the event.
I particularly enjoyed the horns for this which did that ‘Blues Brothers’ version thingy to perfection in the outro perfectly and made it such a joyous track.
This band followed this with ‘Smooth’ by Carlos Santana and I was stuck by the different styles of the lead vocalists and how well they complemented each other.
So sad i missed the other tracks as the impression these 2 made on me assured me that it would have been an in enjoyable full set.
Next was Radio Edit
I really enjoyed the 1st song even though i did not recognise it but it was the rendition of Purple Rain’ by Prince that had a profound affect on me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been very focused on work and away from music or if I’d just had a long day but as they entered the 1st chorus, I closed my eyes and I genuinely had a moment. You know that thing, that thing when music just transports you to another place, like having an out of body experience, well i had that. And when I opened my eyes I wiped away a tear. Then as if to prove to me that it wasn’t a fluke, following the lead guitar solo that any adult professional would be proud of, exactly the same thing happened to me again in the last chorus as i found myself moved and again on the verge of tears.
‘I could have kept up my facade of male machismo if it wasn’t for you pesky kids...’
Absolutely great band and although the lead guitarist stole the show, I wondered how many people noticed just how good the Bass player was?
Next was Tino or was in Tina
I’m not sure of the name of this band and this allows me to make a point. Always state your name clearly and loudly, you never know whose watching and the last thing you want them saying is who was that band and never finding out. Case in point I wrote a review of The Rick Ross Concert at Dreamers, Puerto Banus this summer and said that the opening act (An amazing female rapper and singer who didn’t say her name), was a artist we should all look out for. I met the promoter of this event last week and asked who she was, his answer, ‘I don’t remember’. Now I might have had a 20 million pound publishing deal waiting for her and unlike the TV shows or Cinderella I never would have found her and moved on to the next act on the list, get the point, shout your name.
That aside, I knew that this band was the real deal as they took to the stage. They looked great and their first song was delivered with the perfect aplomb for their target fan base. That said even though I initially liked them, I had totally underestimated this band.
Numerous instrument changes and line up changes saw the Bass player becomes the vocalist, the lead singer the Bass player and the keyboard player the lead vocalist all lending to this great feel of inspiration and multi talent that fit right in with their look and music.
High point for me was their final track where the previous keyboard player, err who also had played guitar on another track took to the Mic and delivered the performance of the night.
Quick digression, I had no idea who ‘Sigrid’ were until the third time I turned my TV on and saw their lead vocalist singing and dancing as if she were alone in her bedroom. She made the band totally impossible to ignore and once I’d been captivated by her, i actually started listening to their music. Well that is what Natalia (err i think her name was), did with her performance of the last track by this band, dancing and singing and performing as if we weren’t even there and it was totally infectious.
That added to the fact that over five songs this band gave us 3 vocalist (the third being the Bass err now lead guitar player) giving us his all in a rendition of the Arctic Monkeys ‘I bet you look good on the dance floor’ and stark contrast to the initial vocalists Blondie style chic, all i can say in summary is that this band is really pretty awesome.
Oh and lest i forget, 2nd best moment from this band for me was the grunge rock version of ‘Careless whisper’ By George Michael which just like Radio Edit’s cover of Purple Rain was quite mesmerising.
So amazing that it would have made track of the night for me but for the fact that the lead vocalist who had nailed everything she had previously touched, playing and singing and looking the part just fell a touch short on this song. Not because her Vocals were not great, because they were but because this song, this idea, this grunge reworking of Careless whisper was so utterly amazing, was such a good idea, was such a stand out in a world cluttered with this type of thing that it really needed her to up her vocal game to smash it. Small point and I know that I’m being picky, but i was having a '3 feet from gold' moment and i promise you, if you work on the vocal for this cover you guys will achieve a piece of musical perfection.
Next Up, Old School
I have asked in a previous article (what is it about bass players), and my question might have to be revisited when I saw that the Bass player for this band made up mostly of the schools well respected list of teachers caused two stage invasions, and that was before he started moving has waist.
High point for this band was the encore, an impromptu and unrehearsed version of ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor which got even my very tired feet dancing. Also the lead guitarist, Mark Fea led crowd participation getting us to sing la lala la laaaaaaaa after the chorus. Watching the crowd dancing arms linked or doing their best-worst 70’s disco moves along to this chant reminded me of what I used to love about Djaying and was for me a moment of pure joy.
Also the cover of Don’t stop till you get enough' by Michael Jackson which is a vocal perfectly suited to Jades voice and ‘I can’t go for that’ by the legendary blue eyed soul boys Hall and Oats were feel good greats.
Criticism is simply that this band took on some huge funk and soul anthems and these left Jade sounding a little exposed on the choruses. I mean as great a singer as she is, it’s pretty hard for her to compete with The Johnson brothers chorus in stomp or the mega chorus of ‘Aint no stopping us now’ by McFadden and Whitehead. Lead and Bass player backing vocal mics maybe?
That said, if you want your dance floor filled this would be the Perfect band for your wedding, Xmas party or club night. I see a very busy summer ahead for these guys.
Sometimes when I see talented young people perform I really think I’m looking at the stars of the future, (and on occasion in the past I have been lucky enough to have been right)
Well I defiantly had this feeling as i left Louie Louie this night.
But what really struck me, what I have come discover, is that the real point of events like this, the real accolade that must be given to Kez Wicks, the whole team at Sotogrande School and Louie Louie for organising this event is the way it shapes and encourages the young people involved.
Whether they go on to continue in music and become stars or if they just use the experiences from dabbling in music to create other lives and careers. These events can be pivotal points in their growth as they are about being allowed to express yourself and show what you have. About being rewarded for your hard work and seeing the effect that you can have on the world through the prism of a crowded club full of happy and enormously entertained people.
That is the point and for this, Sotogrande School and Louie Louie, I salute you.
As i said, I didn’t take any pictures or video at this event, but if any of the parents are happy to have pictures of their children performing added to this review please contact us and i will be more than happy to add them.