Travelling has its perks. Landing in NYC after a month in Colombia to find out Beak is playing a show at the Bowery the day after is a pleasant surprise. Another one is to land in Madrid after an 8 hour flight to find out, not only is the Champions League match between Real and Manure on, but the day after King Dude is playing at the Wurlitzer, and his T.M. is a friend. Bless!
After sampling some extremely low par Indian food at Bombay Masala (the name should have given it away), I negotiated my way through the neighbourhoods of Madrid unaware of where I was going, and armed with only the name of the club. Spanish people, like Germans, have an increasingly impossible time speaking English because all their goddamn programs are dubbed instead of subtitled. I had to ask perhaps 15 people before anyone had even heard of the Wurlitzer Ballroom. I was pointed in a vague direction and told to walk for 15 minutes. I ended up in some square, tried asking a few others, was met with blank stares, couldn’t find Wifi, was at the point of giving up when I noticed a dude in strange shoes. He must know where it is. He did.
I got to the venue around 10pm. It was completely empty, with a few hipsters standing outside smoking cigarettes and being overly conscious about their hair. I side-stepped them, entered the bar, proceeded to make friends with the bartender who’s doctor had just told him to stop drinking (much to his delight) and was stunned when he said to me “The shots are 3 euro. Just so you know”. I told him they cost 10 euro in Norway. He went pale.
The other tall, gangly Ramones-esque bartender played great Rock N Roll as the room slowly filled up and I had a chance to say hello to Ricky, their Tour Manager. Before the band took to the stage he whispered in my ear “A Danish legend will appear for 2 songs. Keep watching”. King Dude and his 2 accomplices took to the stage and proceeded to play a sombre, melancholy twist of Bain Wolfkind, Spaghetti Western Soundtracks and sounds from the Lux and Ivy samplers. The band were great. The crowd was intoxicated.
After 40 minutes none other than Kim Larsen (No, not THAT Kim Larsen), from Of The Wand & The Moon joined “Dude” for a song, before experiencing the embarrassing technical issues we all succumb to once in a while as he tried to swap his electric guitar for an acoustic. It took about 5 minutes, the sound man looked on rather lethargically, Kim went bright red. He then managed to mumble through one song which didn’t exactly match the mood, but nevertheless one blonde haired groupie in the front seemed overly enthusiastic.
King Dude and his band of evil mongers continued for another 30 minutes, almost stopping when the light-man accidentally switched on the relay settings. Dude shouted “Does that mean we have to stop?”. Nobody answered so they played on. There was a small singalong during “Lucifer’s The Light of the World”, and the final song of the set was a perfect ending to a Sunday evening in Madrid with a cold breeze outside that ensured I walked briskly back to my Airbnb apartment and hit the couch riddled with Jetlag.