I lived in Madrid for almost 3 years. I was an 18 year old girl in a new city. I quickly got into the music scene, which back in 2003 was awesome. Almost every bar and nightclub had live bands and so much fresh new talent. The bar I worked in, Oneills, played host to some of the best new bands from all over Europe.
I soon became a 'groupie', following loads of Spanish bands. Although it's hard to pick the best bands I followed around Madrid, my favourite bands were Sexy Sadie, a Spanish band who sing in English but who are no longer together, Indras, a great band who aim to have a similar musical style Beatles but Spanish and Los Reyes del KO, a soulful band with amazing rhythm.
The best music venues over in Madrid include Bourbon Café, a country music style saloon bar which is home to Jazz, country and reggae music and had live beats flowing along with the dance tunes late night, the then Chesterfield Café, which is named the Orange Café, which is home to a very popular Erasmus night and Honky Tonk another popular music venue used by semi famous bands who are popular on the Madrid music scene. There is also Moby Dick Club up near the Bernabeu Stadium, where I had the pleasure of discovering one of my favourite Spanish bands Sexy Sadie.
A lot of the venues I used to hang out at are still popular now in 2010. The Sala Arena club still holds top gigs and La Riviera, where I saw Travis woo the crowd and sing Flowers with just an acoustic guitar and nothing else, is an amazing venue where MGMT and Motorhead are both performing there this month.
Although there are so many areas in Madrid, the most popular include the Calle Huertas close to the centre of Madrid, which has some live music venues as well as open plazas, nightclubs and small disco bars.
I have to say though one of my favourite places to hang out was Malasaña, an area that was the centre of the cultural movement of reinvention and freedom of expression, La Movida. It's a place full of retro bars, gothic bars and plazas where you would stand out in high heels as everyone is just in converse, jeans and t-shirts. The range of music in this area is amazing, ranging from Punk Rock and heavy mental to Indie and the 80’s, the 80’s being my all time favourite musical era.
One of the funniest experiences of my life was sitting in a bar in Madrid and hearing myself come on the radio! I featured on the track Bottle; from the album Forever Living Young, by Spanish band Blue Child recorded in Mallorca a couple of years earlier. I was a bit shocked to say the least when it came on the radio but it was fun. The band made a video too and apparently as I was 'absent' they replaced me with a mannequin… not sure if there is a hidden meaning there or not ;-)
The one thing I learned about the Spanish music scene while living in Madrid, Mallorca, Granada, Barcelona and Albacete (phew!) is that it is VERY hard for a Spanish band to made it big singing in English. Sexy Sadie are one of the very few Spanish groups who have made it singing in English. So I leave you with a video from them recorded at the Sala Arena, Madrid in 2004. I am pretty sure you can hearing me singing from the crowd. It was one of the best concerts ever. Enjoy!