Mon 29 Apr 2013 to Sun 5 May 2013

by Manu Chao

Being familiar with the contrasts between Manu Chao’s studio recordings & live performance I was intrigued at how this iconic musician would go combing the two, translating the extreme energy of his live performance into an album. The result, Baionarena, is a double disc explosion, consisting of 33 tracks recorded live with Radio Bemba Sound System at the Arenes de Bayanne in his homeland France.

The tracks on the album span the artist’s entire career and includes the celebrated classics Rainin’ in Paradize, Clandestino & Desaparacido, always performed as upbeat, rock & ska driven versions of the originals. At times Manu teases, bringing the tempo down and sitting on a slower, reggae groove, but it’s never long before he turns it right up again with that four-to-the floor beat.

As a live artist, Manu Chao’s laid-back studio recordings, that for so many have been the soundtrack to some hazy couch-bound nights, are transformed into energetic anthems. His enduring vigor instills a natural ecstasy in even the sleepiest soul. Considering the sensory constraints of a live recording, Baionarena, does an incredible job of transporting the listener to the abyss of the Manu Chao Live Experience.

With each track rolling seamlessly onto the next, encapsulating the audience’s high spirits, if it were not for the lack of sweaty bodies, “skanker’s” making it impossible to leave the venue with all you arrived with and crowd surfer’s feet to your head, with a decent home sound system you could almost believe you were there.

by Jess Fairfax - Big Mob

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