On Thursday night we went to see Whiskey and Traveller Blues Band play at the Teatro Guimerá in Santa Cruz. As parking can sometimes be a problem we decided we would travel up early(ish), park in the bus station and walk to the theatre as it isn´t far. We would stop for a meal before collecting our tickets for the Espacio Guimerá, which is at the side of the main theatre and up a few flights of stairs. (Nobody warned us we should carry an oxygen tank).
It seemed that luck was on our side because just before we pulled into the bus station car park there were loads of slots on the waste ground outside. So despite the heels I hobbled over the rough ground and we set off. There was a guy there seeing people in and out and in these hard times I personally think it is nice to see people do whatever they have to (and sometimes they are thankless jobs) in order to get their next meal. It beats sitting on a pavement begging so we gave him a couple of Euros.
It is a nice walk, passing the Mercado de Nuestra Senora de Africa with its pretty sculptures outside, across the Barranco Santos and then a sharp right to the theatre. (Don’t follow a Google Map otherwise you will end up turning left). In all about 15 minutes gentle stroll.
A couple of days previously I had read Colin Kirby’s review of Tasca La Marea, the food pictured looked lovely and he assured us it was open daily 11am to 11pm, well maybe they got word we were in town because it was CLOSED!! Nevertheless, I like this part of town with its narrow streets and old buildings, there is always something going on and sure enough, we had an additional treat as a full brass band started playing in the square.
On hearing the music, we wandered back towards the theatre where opposite are a couple of places to eat and have a drink. As we were looking at the menu we heard someone call, “thought it was you, why don´t you join us”. And sitting waiting for their drinks to arrive were Pete and Diana. Like us they were a long way from home, in fact living in the west of the island they were even further away and had decided to stay overnight. I just wonder where else you could get a really nice hotel, in a capital city, right next to the old town for €40 including breakfast and that is for two people!
All of the surrounding tables were full of youngsters with varying colours in their hair and an assortment of tattoos – we assumed we would probably be the oldest groupies in town – WRONG!! Despite the high volume of their chatter they were a friendly crowd regardless of how they looked.
The room where Traveller were playing can take an audience of around 200 people. It has beautiful old beams, which is OK for reverb if the room is full but a bugger if it is empty. Fortunately it started off with a good crowd and when we arrived we managed to find seats down the side by an open window. Talking to Whiskey the following day, once they started to play and could be heard outside a further 75 tickets were sold on the door – no wonder it seemed a tight squeeze. This is a huge kudos for Traveller as they are the first non-Spanish band to be invited to play at the theatre.
I thought it was coincidental that the day they played was Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday and Tenerife’s own ‘First Lady of Song’ Vanessa Pindoria sang with them for the first time. Not normally noted for singing the blues (more Bette Midler) she gave an added depth to the session which I thought made a great band exceptional. I just hope V does more gigs with them.
Traveller shared the evening with Alex Altamirano and the Purple Band, an excellent guitarist and genuine nice guy but by now our age was starting to tell and we left shortly before the end of the gig.
Despite it being a warm evening, I was surprised at how few people were around as we walked back to the car. The street lined cafes were getting ready to close, the police were “just chillin” and the streets deserted.
The lights in the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes twinkled like a thousand stars and the majestic avant-garde Auditorio bathed in moonlight towering over all. Santa Cruz is a nice city in which to spend a summer evening. Everyone should try it at least once.
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