Magaluf does everything it can to make Brits abroad feel at home with an abundance of pints, fry-ups and Premier League football. A ten-minute walk from the white sand beaches and clubs advertising an appearance from members of Geordie Shore though is Mallorca Live. The three-day event, billed as the “most important international music festival” in the area, is a proudly Spanish affair with local acts dominating its five stages.
And it’s all the better for it. Rather than a copy + paste lineup pulled from a global Spotify playlist, Mallorca Live is a celebration of all things Spanish. Friday night’s headliner C. Tangana is joined onstage by over twenty musicians, dancers and performers but creates an intimate, family vibe that really shows off his emotional, ambitious rap. Blending modern production techniques with live instrumentation and classic sounds, he’s basically the hip-hop equivalent of early Panic! At The Disco and the audience follows his every experimental leap.
Before that, former Eurovision hopefuls Rigoberta Bahini take to the stage for an impressive set that condenses the spectacle, spontaneity and showmanship of the annual song contest into an urgent, fun-filled 60-minutes, complete with dance routines and costume changes. On the Sunday, bedroom pop star Guitarricadelafuente’s set is a more stripped back affair but it’s just as entertaining. His gorgeous voice and Latin-inspired guitar work conjuring feelings of escapism, longing and regret but sung back by 20,000 voices, his music feels warm and communal.
Elsewhere the impressive bubble grunge might of Repion, the scuzzy indie of Cupido, the flamenco-inspired pop of Cecilia Zango and the chaotic punk of Trashi prove the depth and vibrant width of Spain’s music scene.
Competing with local heroes, the handful of British guitar groups held their own over the course of Mallorca Live. Both Editors and Supergrass deliver sweaty sets of greatest hits that are received with a fervent excitement that shows no signs of dying down while Franz Ferdinand’s mainstage performance is energetic and playful, using their 20-years of experience and far-reaching back catalogue of art punk hits to own their 90-minute set.
Headlining the Sunday night, Muse bring their stadium rock anthems to Mallorca for the first time. With a setlist full of their most rebellious anthems, the band deliver a riotous set. From fiery opener ‘Will Of The People’, through a hammering ‘Psycho’ to the snotty ‘Uprising’, Muse continue to inspire resistance and unity. New song ‘Compliance’ is a synth-pop banger, all pomp and disco funk while a frantic ‘Won’t Stand Down’ throws down with the best of Muse’s guitar anthems.
Then there’s ‘Kill Or Be Killed’, a snarling metal-infused rager that sees the band back at the vicious, unstoppable height of their power. The classic ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ closes the set in true, sci-fi chaos with Bellamy sticking around afterwards to watch Justice from side of stage, filming Muse fans losing their mind to their pulsating electro-house at the same time. It truly feels like every one came here to party.
It’s pop legend Christina Aguilera who best brings together the different sides of Mallorca Live though. One of the defining pop voices of the noughties, she’s recently returned to her roots to release her first Spanish-language in 20 years, ‘Aquilera’.
Opening with ‘Dirrty’, ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ and ‘Genie In A Bottle’, her performance pulls heavily from the flamboyance of Las Vegas before Aguilera uses a pre-recorded voiceover to tell the crowd that “Latin music has always been so important to me” over archive footage taken from across her career. Returning to the stage, she talks about the importance of “respecting who you are” and being proud of your history, before giving the Spanish funk of ‘Santo’ and the swaying ‘Sueltame’ their live debut. They might not be classics yet but based on the reaction from the crowd, they’re well on their way.
Later, a relentless, confetti-soaked run through of ‘Lady Marmalade’, ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Fighter’ underlines Aquilera’s status as a living legend before she talks to the crowd about how it’s “been a hard week, with a lot of bad news”, referring to Roe V. Wade being overturned by the American Supreme Court.
“Life is too short to take choices away from each other,” she continues encouraging the crowd “to love each other, to give each other the freedom of choice and the freedom to be who we are” before a euphoric, rave-ready rendition of ‘Let There Be Love’. It’s a powerful, joyful performance burning with hope and acceptance that straddles different worlds but brings them together using the power of pop.