Letters from Madrid – Fiesta de San Ysidro y Loquillo


While I was baking a heart shaped chocolate cake for Laurie for Valentine’s Day, and she was making vanilla bean gelato, we listened to Loquillo y Trogloditas on the stereo. Curiously enough, today’s letter from Madrid moves to May 27, 1996 and I was writing about the activities and concerts during the San Ysidro Festival that was in the middle of May. We happened upon a concert by Loquillo y Trogloditas in Plaza Mayor during the festivities. We had never heard of Loquillo before then, and we became fans after the concert , bought all their CDs, and saw him in concert a couple more times after that. Loquillo y Trogloditas were very popular at that time, they had been around for at least 10 years or longer and had many albums out by 1996. Loquillo is still going strong 20 years later, as you will see if you click on the photo or follow the link to the YouTube video at the end of the letter.


27 May 1996

San Ysidro Festival
San Ysidro is the patron saint of Madrid (and Corrales, NM, USA, also). May 15th was the holiday, but the fiesta goes on all week. As part of the San Ysidro Festival, we attended a very nice concert in Parque de Retiro by the Municipal Orchestra, checked out the festivities at Parque San Ysidro on the south side of town, went to Casa de Campos, and discovered the pool there was free on the 15th for San Ysidro Fiesta (Tristan got to swim, she was beside herself). The concert in Retiro was very good. The orchestra played paso dobles and other traditional Spanish music. Parque San Ysidro was like the midway at the state fair with vendors, rides and a lot of noise. A lot of people were dressed in traditional Madrid feria costumes, that look similar to Laurie’s Sevillanas dress, if you have seen it. The men wore houndstooth (small check pattern) driving caps and a matching vest, sometimes. There were Gypsies playing music with an amplified keyboard and trumpet. The keyboard was on a large speaker set on a push cart. They were playing paso dobles, sevillanis and traditional Spanish music. A small group of people were dancing local folk dances to the music. Tristan and Laurie danced paso doble and sevillanas. I was much to interested in watching the locals to get up and dance.

We decided to go to Plaza Mayor one night to check out the San Ysidro Fiesta activities there. There was a large group of young people gathered around the band stand dressed in leather jackets, black jeans, and T-shirts, with their hair done up in 1950’s James Dean or Elvis styles, sporting manicured side burns. The young women were generally dressed in more punk fashion. They were waiting for a band to play. We made our way through the crowd to a point about 50 feet from the stage, centered between the two walls of speakers. The band came out before 9:00 PM and started paying. This was a major Spanish rock band with great sound, light show and lots of energy. After the band started playing I noticed the whole plaza was wall to wall people (Plaza Mayor is the old 16th century plaza of Madrid that is surrounded on all sides by four story buildings. The plaza is about the size of two football fields). We could hardly move we were so packed in. The crowd knew all the words to every song the band played and yelled them along with the band, so we basically had surround sound on the vocals. The band was “Loquillo y Trogloditas” as we learned later. They had a logo of Woody Woodpecker smoking a cigar, with a snarl on his face over cross bones with stars like a Confederate flag, imitating the pirates. The singer had a Confederate flag hanging on his mic stand. He was dressed in leathers and sported the same hairstyle as the young people. Various members of the audience had Confederate flags and Che Gueverra banners. One fan was wearing a Confederate infantry cap. We have not figured out what the biker-James Dean/Elvis-1950’s greaser look, Woody Woodpecker, Confederate flag, Che Gueverra and troglodytes have to do with each other; maybe Loquillo knows. The band played over three hours straight without a break. Most of the songs were less than 5 minutes, so they played a lot of songs, with a good variety of rock to slightly hyper punk. They even played material they had recorded in 1983, as announced by the singer. We told Tristan that we would have to pay a small fortune to see a major rock band, with a fantastic light show, play a concert like that in the States.
To be continued…

Loquillo Feo, Furte y Formal 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVmzA48ojWk