I remember meeting Hugo Felício for the first time. Almost instantly we connected very well, both boys in an adult body, trying to make sense of the world and mostly ourselves. At that time Hugo was playing together with Rui Martins, Cláudia Duarte and Carlos Batalha in a band called Canela. I also recall Hugo sometimes having a hard time keeping the pace. Not tonight in Alvalade´s Popular, though. His strong rhythm work leads the band through musical parts that are pretty hard to describe.
Alcateia´s music definitely is geared towards a larger audience – in a sense that it follows some of the `rules´ that we find back in popular music. Some of the rhythms are easy to pick up and they are not so far away from the general radio station smoothness, without ever getting near that harmful level of brainless-ness we have learned to associate with (commercial) radio, don´t worry. Often, an advanced listener may pick up slight signature changes. A second layer under the surface, that makes you wonder if it will become more pronounced to lead you into a different realm of sound. Sometimes it does. The vocals could use some improvement, sounding insecure at times, because of inadequate breathing technique, but the guitar solos that the same Hugo Pereira pulls out of his toes pretty much makes up for that. Suddenly it becomes clear that, given the right circumstances these guys can take you into the realm of psychedelic fusion and make you want more. Carlos Batalha´s subtle bass play weaves and leads, his backing vocals support well and Hildebrando Silva´s vingers do a job that many keyboard players find hard to do. He’s right there in the mix, but how exactly is hard to say; high pitch in the distance or a low supporting hum to feed the guitar solo some bottom. Trust me, these guys can make you fly.
Another fine moment was being introduced to Raphael Tramontana, a German currently playing the streets in Lisboa. He was invited to show some of his skills and … I´m not sure the audience in general fully understood what was going on, but I would be surprised if we would not hear more from him. Ralf totally ripped it.
The surprise of meeting JP Teixeira, ready to have another go at a drum kit, a nice conversation with a new friend, meet some old ones. All in all I had a good time. Apart from being in a traffic jam on the way home for over thirty minutes, of course, but hey.