Posts Tagged ‘Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’

We’re sitting on the terrace of the Hotel Madrid in Gran Canaria’s amazing old quarter of Vegueta waiting to interview the founder member and lead guitarist of rising stars of the Spanish Indie rock scene, The Good Company; Víctor Ordóñez.
“Do you think this could be him?” asks Jack.
I turn around and see a slim thirty-something guy with a close cropped beard and designer shades strolling across the plaza, hands plunged deep into pockets. He’s practically got ‘Rock Star’ tattooed on his forehead.
“Hi! Great to meet you!” says Víctor in a near perfect English accent, raising his shades and embracing me warmly.

Enjoying a beer outside The Hotel Madrid

We’ve come to Gran Canaria for the day to interview Víctor and to explore the pulsating rhythm of Las Palmas, the city he was born and grew up in. Pounding the pavements of this bustling, lively capital, we discover a unique amalgamation of the old, the urban, the cool and the chic; it’s a city that blends tradition with innovation and fittingly, that’s exactly what The Good Company do with their music.
“The Good Company are half UK and half US influenced,” says Víctor. “The Beatles and those classic sixties sounds and conceptually Pink Floyd. But also Hip Hop and particularly a Canadian Indie rock band called Arcade Fire, one of David Bowie’s favourite bands.”

I can see what he means. Listening to The Good Company’s first album ’28’, I’ve been playing ‘spot the influences’; overtones of U2 on A City Shines; echoes of Kaiser Chiefs in Busy Town; the Pink Floyd strains of Víctor’s guitar and Radiohead vocals of Sergio Pueyo in the haunting Endless, which ironically, I’ve found myself playing endlessly. But no individual sound emerges as the blueprint; all those flavours have been absorbed and fused into something fresh and original.

In the heat of the late afternoon we move from the Hotel Madrid to the charismatic bar El Cuasquías where it feels like I should be carrying a guitar, or at very least someone’s amp before I can get in. Perched at the bar we order cold Tropical beers and Víctor tells us about the bands that play here and hints at some of the stories the walls could tell, no doubt set to their own Grammy Award winning soundtrack.

Victor looking cool in Vegueta

We’re listening to the coolest sounds I’ve heard outside of my own living room since we moved to Tenerife 6 years ago; Indie rock, Jazz, R&B, Soul and Blues weave their rhythms around us making it increasingly difficult to consider the possibility of missing the last flight back to Tenerife as anything other than a minor inconvenience.

Along with Víctor, fellow Gran Canarians Sergio Miró (drums) and Marco Valero (bass); and Barcelona born Sergio Pueyo (vocals) make up The Good Company.  With reviews in the music press and on La Sexta TV consistently hailing them as a band to watch, these guys are rapidly making a name for themselves on the Spanish Indie Rock scene.
They’re playing Dublin and Bristol right about now and they’ll be at The Forum in Barcelona on the 28th May 2010.
Check them out on MySpace and Facebook.

Read Full Post »

It’s not often that I get assignments quite so glamorous as last week’s: fly to Gran Canaria for a day to interview rising stars of the Spanish Indie Rock scene and get photos of the city. I didn’t need to be asked twice.

I’m very used to seeing the small inter-island aircraft of BinterCanarias that pass by on the blue horizon out to sea several times a day between Tenerife North Airport and La Gomera, but I’ve never actually been on one, before last Thursday that is.

The first surprise for me was the ease of their online booking service; Internet-based services are still something of a rarity here in the Canary Islands and ones that actually work are even scarcer. I booked the tickets and even checked in online, printing off my own boarding cards.

The vast majority of visitors to Tenerife fly into its South Airport so most of them never get to see the elegantly sophisticated North Airport. Light and airy with panoramic views over the Anaga Mountains on one side and the runway on the other, the airport is mainly geared towards domestic, Spanish clientele. It’s a lovely place to linger over coffee even if you’re not flying!
We parked the car and headed into the terminal for the 10am flight to Gran Canaria. As I’d already checked in, we simply went straight to gate where, after a cursory glance at passports and resident’s certificates, we were onto the runway bus with the day’s assorted commuters, most of whom were glued to their mobile phones. Just before the bus arrived at the aircraft there was a chorus of jingles as mobiles were switched off.

Most seats on the small, turbo-prop aircraft were filled as we settled down and within minutes were airborne and heading out over La Laguna. The stewardess came round with complimentary daily Spanish newspapers, then a chocolate BinterCanarias biscuit which was possibly the best choccie biscuit I’ve ever eaten and finally a glass of water just in time before we began our descent. It felt like we’d only been flying for ten minutes and here we were, banking over Las Palmas on our descent into Gran Canaria!

Mission completed, we returned to the Gran Canaria airport (not a patch on Tenerife’s airports!) for the 9pm return flight which was filled with (mainly male) commuters. Once again, barely had we swallowed our lip-smackingly good BinterCanarias biscuits and glass of water when we were landing at Tenerife North Airport and transferring to the runway bus amidst a chorus of mobile phone jingles as personal communications were restored.

The only blip on the otherwise seamless and efficient airport experience came when we had to pay the €10.60 all-day ticket for car parking. The machine only took €5 and €10 notes and we only had a €20 so we had to pay at the cashier. Unfortunately, most of our fellow passengers were using credit cards to charge their parking to the company expenses account which meant we spent almost as long in the queue as it had taken us to fly back from Gran Canaria!

For anyone considering island-hopping in the Canaries this year, I can unreservedly recommend BinterCanarias; they’re efficient and friendly and twice as fast as, and only marginally more expensive than, the ferries.
I can also unreservedly recommend Las Palmas de Gran Canaria…but that’s another story.

Read Full Post »