Refreshing the Madrid Summer Nights

By Sergio Ariza

Madrid summer nights are back to being a little less stifling thanks to the Noches del Botánico which present their 3rd edition in the Alfonso XIII Royal Botanic Garden from the Complutense University of Madrid between the 21st of June to the 29th of July. The lineup is once again a luxury with several unmissable gigs for electric guitar lovers, as we are here at Guitars Exchange, with names such as Jeff Beck, Elvis Costello, Pat Metheny and Little Steven.


The festival opens with a splash on the 21st of June with a double programme, the New Wave legend, and one of the greatest composers of all time, Elvis Costello, who will blow the dust off his mythic Jazzmaster from his days with the Attractions to play some classics of his long illustrious career. He will be accompanied by Brazilian Seu Jorge who became very well-known with his appearance in Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, where he played various Bowie classics in Portuguese on an acoustic guitar.      


The most awaited event for guitar fans comes on June 29th with the performance of Jeff Beck, one of the legendary guitarists if the Yardbirds, together with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, and one of the most revolutionary guitarists of all time, who will continue to show his incredible skills on the 6-string reminding us that he is one of the giants of the instrument. And if that wasn’t enough, Ana Popovic is the supporting act sharing the bill with Beck. The Serbian guitarist has shared the stage with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, and Gary Clark Jr., among others, and now she’ll be able to do it with an icon like Beck. July 2nd is another date with another mammoth guitarist, Pat Metheny, with his 20 Grammy awards, his ‘Custom’ guitars, and his amazing quartet comprising Malayan bassist Linda May Han Oh, British pianist Gwilym Simock, and the marvelous Antonio Sánchez on drums, with whom he has an almost telepathic connection.   


July 10th is David Byrnes turn, the once leader of The Talking Heads, who is introducing his latest solo album, American Utopia, released this year, with a show that will surprise many of the audience of the Noches del Botánico  when they will hear past hits like Once in a Lifetime and Burning Down the House. The next day brings Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, or none other than Stevie Van Zandt with his band. Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand-man will offer a pure sweaty rock & roll show which he does so well.  And of course, the man who gave life to Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, with his Stratocaster slung over his shoulder.


The last big guitarist event of the festival takes place on July 25th, with a double billing: the Corizonas and Gary Clark Jr.. The Spanish band is made up of members of the Corizonas and Arizona Baby, with the great Fernando Pardo on guitar. As for Clark, he is one of the best rock/blues guitar players at the moment, fusing his blues with more contemporary elements as well.

And we mustn’t miss other musical delicacies like Kraftwerk, June 23rd, Joan Manuel Serrat, June 26, Rufus Wainwright, July 5th, Caetano, Moreno, Zeca and Tom Veloso, July 23rd, and Norah Jones, who closes the event splendidly on July 29th. It is a must-see for the Madrid summer nights, which we will keep you informed about.

"Noches del Botánico" official website