Hey! Manchester presents Guadalupe Plata
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If the Spanish town of Úbeda had its own rogues gallery honouring the misfits and outlaws whose boots had scuffed its dusty ground, three ‘Wanted’ posters would surely hang; a trio of mug shots simply referred to as ‘Guadalupe Plata’ – the most deathly delta blues outfit to ever emerge from Andalusia.
‘Our name comes from our hometown’s patron, the virgin of Guadalupe, so she protects us as we play the devil’s music,’ they say. ‘Our music inhabits that place in our collective imagination where the demonic force straddles the blues and cante jondo.’
Make no mistake – the music of Guadalupe Plata derives from the murkiest of depths. Channelling red hot passion for the blues into Hispanic roots, theirs is a sound that lingers in the sunset like a voodoo curse. Using flamenco terms, they describe their process as straining to be podrío; to be rotten, and talk of ‘involution’, ‘duende’, and ‘hechizo’ – supernatural terms of invocation, and, well, goblins. But then again, that’s what you’d expect – concocted in a town famed as a location for Spaghetti Westerns, the band’s unique blues sits like a cowboy soundtrack pulled from a zombie’s grasp by the Mississippi Blues greats, Os Mutantes and Jon Spencer.
It is a pounding sound, blending blues, bebop and rockabilly to the Andalusian tradition, which draws from Romany, Sephardic and Moorish strains of music. Lyrically casting spells via a curious mythology centred around dogs, the devil, Christ, rats, black snakes and cats, where all the lovers are Frankie and Johnny. It bewitches listeners who may have never walked Úbeda’s mean streets, as it is possessed by the sense of space, sex and the magic of the night which belongs to both rock’n’roll and blue-collar folk art.
‘We’ve listened to every kind of musical style since we started playing,’ they say. ‘In the beginning we listened to psychedelia and 60s blues. From Canned Heat we went backwards; our sound arises from an chemical experiment that mixes the edge of Hound Dog Taylor’s well wheel, Skip James’ darkness, Jon Lee Hooker’s hypnotic rhythms, Screaming Jay Hawkins’ craziness, Tampa Red’s sweetness, Elmore James’ killer slide and Son House’s essence.’
Whilst it’d seem Guadalupe Plata’s underground origins couldn’t be further removed from Spanish tradition, the band equally draw on music closer to home – something that has solidified the band as stars in their home country and Mexico. From the fast and furious punk kids Los Bengalas, the infinitely inventive blues duo Crudo Pimento, Seville’s own Pata Negra, Mexican composer José Alfredo Jimenez, and legendary flamenco guitarist Sabicas exiled from Spain after the Civil War. It’s a musical journey that has seen the trio perform hundred of gigs each year since they formed in 2007, everywhere from working men clubs to strip joints, not to mention the odd trip to a graveyard in between (an interpretation of which can be seen on the album’s cover, felt tipped by guitarist and singer Pedro.
‘Culturally rich, and instantly identifiable as excellent, this one’s an extra-hot essential’ – Mojo
‘Hardcore Andalusian psychobilly blues’ – Uncut
Tour support comes from The Bonnevilles. The Bonnevilles are shaking Northern Ireland in a way it hasn’t felt since Van Morrison & Them obliterated Club Rado in 1964 and Stiff Little Fingers blew apart The Trident in 1977. The Bonnevilles don’t so much play punk blues as use it as a spring board to create a completely new genre. Their new album, Arrow Pierce My Heart, is evidence of a band at the top of their game. The Lurgan duo take Mississippi Hill Blues and Punk Rock and mix into their own unique dark Northern Irish Punk Blues stew.