23 July 2015 (gig)
24 July 2015
If you've never enjoyed the delights of Greenwich Music Festival they hit you as soon as you walk through the unusually well mannered security barrier. The spacious square brings to mind La Place de la Concorde (the Thames replacing the Seine) providing a majestic and moving backdrop to the imposing stage. The Royal Naval College square is an architectural delight, the bands have the best view of it as dusk falls and the collonades light up.
The pairing of Nine Below Zero and The Gypsy Kings was not immediately apparent to me. Maybe it was to redress the British balance on the bill, whatever the reason I was a happy man. Nine Below Zero’s mythical performance on the first ever Young Ones episode 33 years ago forever cemented them as legends in my mind. Ballsy blues, with kick-ass harmonica, the aforementioned ‘11 + 11’ to close and a birthday song-song for frontman Denis and we were set for the main event.
The 10-strong Gypsy Kings are an impressive guitar-strumming presence. Djobi Djoba came early in the set as the audience and security started to disagree on the sit or stand policy.
The raw vocals of lead singer Nicolas Reyes soon had the whole audience to their feet as the Catalan rumba and flamenco allure proved just too irrisistable with salsa moves breaking out all over the square.
The Gypsy Kings are a party band, even when they hit you with melancholia of ‘Moorea’ you feel the urge shake those hips. Whether it's the tender yearning of ‘Pida Me La’ or expansive joy of ‘Bem, Bem, Maria’ when the hands start clapping, the legs start moving and the hips gyrating, its fiesta! The husky vocals instill emotion, and even if the language is foreign the emotion is familiar. That's the Gypsy Kings trick that draws you in, moth-like to the flame.
‘Muchias grazias’ the Reyes family repeat as ‘La Quiero’, ‘Baila Me’ and ‘Bamboleo’ are played with Latino passion. A welcome summer night made all the more Mediterranean by the brilliance of the Gypsy Kings. ‘Muchias grazias’ indeed!
@gmt2015 #gmt2015 #gypsykings