Now in its third year Mad Cool Festival has already delivered some stunning line-ups, with the likes of The Who, The Prodigy, Foo Fighters and Green Day all featuring in past editions of the Madrid-based festival. This year was perhaps one of the most stacked line-ups to date, not only in the small history of the festival, but also compared to other festivals around Europe. Spanning across seven different stages this years edition featured some amazing acts, from Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, to Depeche Mode and Pearl Jam. But where most of the attention was drawn to the headline acts, and I guess understandably so, this year also featured a bunch of fantastic up-and-coming bands too. Both local and international artists took to the two smaller stages, called the ‘Mondo Sonoro Stage’ and the ‘Thunder Bitch Stage’, and it was here where I had the pleasure of discovering these five new (to me) bands.
Jardin De La Croix:
Instrumental post-rock band from Madrid. Formed in 2006, the band have already released four very impressive LPs, their latest being called ‘Circadia’. I’d heard a little bit about this band before checking them out on the last day of the festival, but nothing was going to prepare me for the blistering 50 minute set that they delivered. A blend of heavy, intricate and technically proficent muscianship, they had the crowd in the palm of thier hands, and it left me with a very good lasting impression.
For fans of: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Very talented singer-songwriter hailing from London. He has a charming way about him, backed up by incredible raspy vocals and accompanying band. With two EP’s and a host of collaborations with high-profile names, the future looks very bright indeed. His new single ‘Free’ is out now. He looks and feels like a star in the making, and it impressed me how he spent a lot of time after his set had finished with some of the fans who came to watch him. That can also be said for James, the lead-singer of Deaf Havana, who I’ll move onto next.
For fans of: Ben Howard
One of the more established bands on this list, Deaf Havana have already got a fairly dedicated fan base in the UK. It was interesting seeing them perform here in Madrid, and although I’d heard a lot about them through friends and music publications, this was the first time I’d seen them. There’s a vibrant alternative scene in the UK at the moment, and from what I saw they are well up there as one of the rising stars of it.
For fans of: Lower Than Atlantis
I’ve had a small obsession with Spanish music ever since living in Valencia for a year, don’t ask me why but it exists, and I’m at peace with it. From Madrid, Carolina Durante was one of the first bands to get my attention at the festival, their boisterous energy on stage, the mixture of styles and tempos, and an enthusiastic crowd shouting back every word, it was an action-packed 40 minute set that left me wanting more.
For fans of: At The Drive-In
Aesthetically, Tourjets look very much like your everyday skater-rock band, and not knowing anything about them beforehand this was what I expected. But, instead of crunching guitar riffs and fast-paced vocals, I was met with the sweet, soulful and pop sounds that one would expect from a band like Cigarettes After Sex. After adjusting to this juxstaposition, I grew to love the dreamy pop sounds and high-pitched vocals that they offered. Also from Madrid, they are part of an abundantly talented group of bands emerging from the capital of Spain.
For fans of: Cigarettes After Sex