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Front Page News Leap Day Party February 29th 2020

Every so often we ask particular friends to come to our events. The ones who would tell you when you were having a bad hair day. The kind of friend who would tell you to your face whether or not that wildly unique idea you thought you have is just one that's been caned a million times. One such friend graced our Leap Day Party and this is what he had to say for himself... - Ed. Note

Can you taste the music? by Paul Burnett

There’s an old joke about not being able to organise a few drinks in a brewery, and I can tell you it wasn’t one of those occasions.

Front Page News has been shaking things up on the Barcelona music scene for over a year now; getting up and coming, original artists and bands to play pop-up events in venues to suit the music - from an old vaudevillian theatre to modern, purpose-built concert venues and anything in between. They’ve built up quite a following for good reason and tend to draw a crowd.

Well, the brewery idea worked so well last Autumn, they brought it back. This time on a Saturday afternoon, another unexpected move from Front Page News.

You get out of the Metro in a rapidly gentrifying old warehouse district, well-known for underground galleries and studios and, approaching the building from the outside, there’s a bright graffiti mural that marks it out from its more boring neighbours.

As you enter, it’s clear that you’re walking into a craft brewery in full swing, there’s no hanging around either- with a slick pre-ticketing system, one scan of your phone screen and you’re in.

Inside, it’s a great open space with a stage in one corner and a bar in the other. The walls are lined with huge oak barrels and through windows behind the stage you see the huge operational vats.

There’s already an atmosphere in here, it’s low-key cool, with a laid-back atmosphere and a bubble of chatter coming from a really mixed crowd. This event is attracting a different type, from twenty-somethings and even a few couples with kids to the older hardcore of live concert goers. This is no hipster-only event, nor is it an overly-serious older venue where you constantly feel a little out of place.

There’s an underground, low-tech feel to everything, from the raw concrete floor to the unpretentious bar set-up. A huge blackboard lists the brews on offer, and the variety is almost as impressive as the number of award certificates proudly displayed beneath it.

The bar has a huge number of pumps on the back wall, and the staff are friendly and efficient – they know their business and there is a beer is in my hand in near record time – they kept up with the considerable demand throughout the day and I never had to wait long for a top-up - a huge plus for a busy event. It’s also really reasonable – prices are roughly what you’d pay for industrially produced, bland beer in other venues, but this beer is on another level.

I’m in a heavy mood and decide on an award-winning Imperial Stout, it’s not for the faint-hearted at nearly 10% alcohol but a distinctively rich chocolatey but savoury flavour was just what I needed to get me in the mood for an afternoon of music.

Working my way through the list was just surprise after welcome surprise, and everyone in my group ended up finding a different favourite. And good craft beer encourages the quality over quantity approach.

I catch a whiff of something and move to investigate – there’s a back yard with picnic tables, so the smokers don’t have to leave the venue, but it’s the big barbeque that caught my attention. A quality burger or veggie option means, when I get hungry, I don’t have to go anywhere!

The place is filling up, word obviously got around and I recognise a lot of the musicians who played at other Front Page News events hanging out. You know the Front Page News team are doing something right when the musicians are supporting each other and mixing with the audience, it’s a far cry from the normal event set-up.

A couple of guys are making last minute adjustments to the sound, and again the musicians are helping each other out. It’s not long before a young guy gets up on the low stage and slings a guitar around his neck, checking his mic position. A bassist joins him and they’re set. No ten minutes of fiddling and tuning like amateur night here, we’re off and the blues/folk feel gets you immediately. The chatting subsides…