MADRID – To the beat of flamenco, electronic, urban-pop styles and with a stark contrast between loudness and near-whispering, Spanish sensation Rosalia on Wednesday put her skill palette on full display at the opening of the fourth edition of the MadCool festival in Spain’s capital in front of some 40,000 people who were left both ecstatic and – at times – silent by her varied performance.
The gates to MadCool 2019 opened and the music started blaring at around 5:30 pm with The Amazons and The Gulps, while thousands enjoyed light pop with synthesizers by British band Metronomy and the entertaining fusion-metal of The Cat Empire, who had Jairo Zavala, alias Depedro, as guest.
Rosalia, however, was the main attraction. She loves the current “hype” around her image as a diva of “fashionistas,” who didn’t miss the opportunity to record everything in detail. Thousands of people were looking for a place in front of the main stage to enjoy the Catalan perform live in her first performance in Madrid this year.
Her premiere at the Cultura Inquieta festival was a little over a year ago, when her hit album “El Mal Querer” (2018) had not been launched yet and her stardom could only be sensed.
Her mere appearance on stage, dressed in golden short leggings and a blouse of flounces, unleashed mad screaming which turned into a choral when she started with the first verses of one of her most celebrated songs: “It scares me when you go out / Smiling for the street / Because everyone can see / The little dimples that come out.”
As in her previous concerts, she arrived in Madrid with the presence of two clappers, two backing singers, a large group of dancers all dressed in white – whose powerful movements amped up the drama of her songs – and the guitar playing by El Guincho adorned the pre-recorded bases from the keyboard and rhythm box.
“Madrid makes me very, very much, very much, very much excited to be here,’’ she exclaimed on several occasions, during a show in which songs from her album “El Mal Querer” served as the perfomance’s backbone.
She also performed as-yet-unreleased songs, such as “Como Ali,” “De Madruga” and “Lo Presiento.”
Rosalia presented an a capella version of her most recent release, the Catalan-language rumba “Milonaria,” which she performed for the first time live and in which the Madrid audience sang along, as they did in the first flamenco rhythms of “Catalina,” from her first album “Los Angeles,” which succeeded in leaving thousands of people stunned.
Rosalia also tried herself on a version of “Te Estoy Amando Locamente” by Las Grecas, and also performed songs from other albums, such as the beautiful “Barefoot in the Park,” which she recorded with James Blake, or “Brillo” with J. Balvin.
Her renditions of “Di mi Nombre” and “Bagdad” had the crowd on fire, but this was nothing compared to the final songs with her homage to the reggaeton classic, “Con Altura,” her celebration of personality in “Haute Couture” or her biggest hit, “Malamente.”
After her performance, Sweden’s Lykke Li stepped onto the stage with her rhythmic pop and hypnotic, melancholic and sensual repertoire full of R&B, to unleash her latest album, the beautiful “So Sad So Sexy” (2018), amid a show of lights and red leather.
“I Follow Rivers,” her international success song, did not fail to excite even those who were not able to overcome the post-Rosalia syndrome and her final song “Bring Me the Horizon” came after midnight.