- Patti Smith "I have lived more than 100 lives that are summed up in one"
Everyone in A Coruña talks about the rain with dissimulation, with fear of defying the inclement weather that shook the Northwest Estrella Galicia festival on Thursday. Everyone, until Patti Smith appears on the scene on Friday and says, "I was free, I didn't need anyone."
A roar of rage and devotion explodes on the beach of Riazor at the height of this 33 edition. The concert starts with the chords of 'Wing', a 1996 song that still retains (as its author) that free, transgressive and deeply libertarian spirit with which it was conceived.
"The Northwest Estrella Galicia resists despite this unstable climate," says festival director Javier Rodríguez , who estimates that more than 20,000 people are enjoying the live show, free as the more than 80 performances held over six days ( with the exception of those of Paco Ibáñez and the Portuguese Júlio Resende).
When the American takes the stage the weather is generous, the clouds that threatened in the morning have dissipated. The view is a beauty: the sea that is lost, the sound of the waves, the fine sand under the feet .
"This is a song of unity and there seems to be a lot of unity here tonight," says Smith, with his immortal white mane in the wind, dressed in black, to make way for 'Ghost Dance'. There are many young people who do not exceed the 30 mixed between the puretas who lived the hatching of the godmother of punk when the mythical 'Horses' came out today in 1975.
Over the years, away from the vertiginous rhythm of the music industry where icons no longer exist, increasingly focused on his literary career (this year his poems 'Auguries of Innocence' was translated into Spanish and his book will be published in September of memories 'Year of the Monkey'), Patti Smith is in 2019 the messiah of calm hatred . He stares straight ahead and sings against meanness, throws a powerful cry of unity and confidence in the power of the people.
"We are free, the future is now," says the poetess before remembering "all the loved ones who left" (in memory of her late husband Fred 'Sonic' Smith ) and introduce her band: her son Jackson Smith ( guitar), Tony Shanahan (bass) and Seb Rochford (drums). Then it gives way to a duo of versions with 'Wild' by The Rolling Stones and 'Walk on the wild side' by Lou Reed. There appears the most playful version of the singer, who hums and laughs in chorus with the audience.
In the final stretch of the show alternates those two facets that are already its hallmark: that of the aware singer-songwriter who feels comfortable between the artistic intelligentsia and that of the fierce dynamite of the system with taste for the attacks of combat rock noise . The complicity with his band is perceived, and more than that, the fullness that lives in maturity.
This is how songs like 'Pissing in a river' and a 'Because the night' happen, which instantly becomes the most crowded song of the night. Then comes his version of 'Gloria' (from the Norwegian group Them with Van Morrison) and the apotheosis with 'People have the Power'. "This is for all of you," he says before singing those verses that call the popular assault: "We can go around the world / We can lead the planet's revolution / We have the power / People have the power."
After the storm of Patti Smith, the generational exchange with Argentina's Nathy Peluso is staged. The Northwest festival, which concludes this Sunday, leaves this year a more than worthy harvest with memorable moments such as those of Paco Ibáñez, Los Voluble, Júlio Resende, Los Hermanos Cubero, Soleá Morente, Toundra, Mastodon and two Galician bands to which they were small the enclosure where they played: Baiuca and Listening Elephants .
Northwest says goodbye this weekend for this 33 edition with a popular pilgrimage in the Park of the Paseo de los Puentes from 12 to 22 hours at night two days in a row with artists such as Anni B Sweet, Los Punsetes, Bart Davenport, Derby Motoretta's Burrito Kachimba or Joe Twilight and with Saturday's concerts at the Riazor beach of The Sounds, Belako and The Rapants .
The Northwest Estrella Galicia festival, heritage of A Coruña
Much has been speculated in Galicia about the future of the Northwest with the change in the mayor's office of A Coruña after the return of the PSOE to power a few months ago. It was the left-wing citizen movement Atlantic Tide who, when elected in 2015, changed the spirit of the event by filling the historic center with free concerts. The response of the public has been its endorsement: this year it aspires to add 90,000 attendees between the six days. "The festival must be respected because it is the heritage of the city and not a product with political value," Javier Rodríguez , the new director, tells EL MUNDO. "The incoming government has already stated that it will maintain its character, the objective is to continue growing and expand the programming for 2020 one more day," he said.
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