Being as today is apparently Nash Kato’s birthday, it seems somehow appropriate that I’m finally getting around to completing the story of The UO Spanish Hustle. It also seems somehow appropriate that I’m also three weeks overdue with it.
Now, when I packed Aspinall Miles off into a cab on the morning of the UO gig, that’s when the whole escapade started to seem foolhardy. Armed with Google Translate, I tackled the shopping and tourist spots of Léon, during which the local shopkeepers were very indulgent as I thrust my mobile phone into their faces in an attempt to be understood. I soon learned that in Spain, you don’t get milk with your tea. Which is weird.
It was also going to be weird to watch Urge Overkill when it was still daylight. The gig had been moved to a different venue due to the date change, and apparently the band were due on around 5.30pm. Having killed all the time I could, I set off early from the monastery, trying not to appear too much like a keenie by being the first person queuing outside. It turned out that the Espacio Vias was literally two minutes round the corner, so I did actually look like that stalker anyway. As I was wearing a vintage fake leopard print coat that you could practically see from space, I decided that I couldn’t sit outside like a lemon until they opened the doors. So I retreated to a cafe across the road, just as what looked like Nash Kato emerged from the soundcheck to have a ciggie.
And yes, I was far too chicken to approach and say hello. I’d only gone across an entire continent, after all. I just buried my nose in my tea. Mujer estúpida!
(As it later transpired that the poor bloke had contracted food poisoning, it was probably the right decision. Getting tapped up by an eccentric British barrister wouldn’t have helped.)
It still seems bizarre that an hour or so later, I was at the front of a packed room, having elbowed my way through the mod throng, watching Urge Overkill kick off with Positive Bleeding. For once, the sound didn’t seem as if it had been run through a washing machine. For once, there was no seven foot high bloke blocking my view. For once, they played three of my absolute favourite of their songs in the same set (you can see their awesome setlist from that night here – I wasn’t taking notes!). Slap my thighs, but I was in the middle of Spain, on my own, watching UO doing Woman 2 Woman! Take Me! Last Night/Tomorrow!
I’m far too much of a fan gurl to review the gig, because in the circumstances I couldn’t possibly be objective. But I can report that it was Well Worth The Effort we’d put in getting all those planes, trains and automobiles to the middle of nowhere.
This was my first opportunity to see UO with the Arling brothers’ rhythm section, which was impressive. And whoever the bloke playing cowbell was – heroic.
Feeling uncharacteristically bashful, I didn’t stick around after the set. Besides, having only eaten bread and tortilla during the day, I was starving, and I had to get up at 5am to make it back to Madrid in time for my flight. So I hotfooted it back to the monastery to see what the evening menu had to offer. Tongue salad, apparently. (The last time I had that offered, it was a totally different context. But that’s Another Story, from when I was a Much Younger Woman.) So I made do with some pudding.
Next time, you know, I might actually say hello. After all, The Stalker was definitely not written about me. Honest. Even though it was the encore.
(You can hear some classic live Urge Overkill here, hopefully.)