Nothing on this side of legal beats the adrenaline rush of watching a live band. The coast has a thriving live music scene, from international superstars playing auditoriums to low key but loud venues where you can get your rock rocks off. Giles Brown hands you an Access All Areas pass and takes you backstage at some of the best.
Starting with the big live music venues first.
Starlite Marbella is the best-known music festival in town. Since 2012, when Starlite took over the abandoned Marbella Auditorio in the foothills of La Concha, the boutique music festival has attracted international stars such as Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Santana and Jason Derulo. This year’s line-up includes Lionel Ritchie, Simple Minds, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Il Divo. More than just live bands playing, Starlite Marbella also features bars and restaurants – be advised: it’s not cheap – as well as smaller live acts, DJs and shows in the festival zone. Antonio Banderas has also hosted his VIP Charity Gala at Starlite and it was a stop-off for Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Antonio during the PR tour for The Expendables 2 movies.
Club de Tennis Puente Romano
Tennis greats Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase and Novak Djokovic have all graced the clay courts of the Puente Romano, but centre court is also a regular and intimate venue for international artists during the summer. There really is something special about catching a gig at Puente Romano and recent years have seen The Jacksons, Tony Hadley, Seal, George Benson (who is practically a Marbella resident, he’s played here so often) and Foreigner all perform. Maybe it’s the fact that they can stay at the Puente Romano Hotel, one of Marbella’s finest, or that La Suite nightclub is the perfect place for the after party!
The Plaza de Toros Nueva Andalucia, a five-minute walk from Puerto Banús, has a long history of hosting live music events. In the 80s and 90s Joe Cocker, Sade, Spanish guitar legend Paco de Lucia, Joaquin Cortes and Kid Creole and the Coconuts all performed there – which is nothing if not a broad selection! After safety concerns forced the cancellation of a planned concert by Faithless, Marbella’s Town Hall stepped up and revamped the bullring in time for Spain to play a Davis Cup match there. Last year the Plaza de Toros was rebranded Arena Marbella, although a delay in the work meant that the venue only put on a handful of concerts. This summer the venue hosts two legendary Disco acts – Sister Sledge and Shalamar – on one night (July 31 to be exact) while UB40, featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, play on August 5.
If you prefer your live music venues on a somewhat smaller scale, then check out
If you were designing the rock bar of your dreams then Louie Louie would pretty much fit the bill. Situated in Estepona Port this intimate venue has a funky Tarentino Dusk til Dawn meets Highway to Hell vibe. Put it this way – you wouldn’t be surprised if Salma Hayek appeared on stage to dance with a snake. Just the right side of dark and dangerous, Louie Louie is a popular venue for rock and blues bands with former Black Crowes’ guitarist Marc Ford and up and coming acts from both the US and Europe turning up to shatter the eardrums of an adoring audience. Be warned. Shots at the bar are pretty much compulsory!
The favourite hangout for seemingly every passing premiership footballer, Brit celeb or Reality TV star, La Sala in Puerto Banús has live music every night of the week. The venue has a small stage in its main bar and restaurant area while the Live Lounge has hosted Motown and Rat Pack Nights, as well as a memorable acoustic performance from Ronan Keating. Regular acts include soul and funk from the Jackie Brown Band, rock with the Wall Street Band, classic Motown soul with Mr Malph and everything from Sinatra to Buble with Peet Rothwell. If you fancy a little celeb sing-along, both Arg from TOWIE and Paulo Nutini – who was obviously enjoying himself – have also been known to get up and join the artists onstage!
For years La Catarina in La Campaña was the best kept secret for live music fans in Marbella. The craft brewery, restaurant and live music venue hosted an eclectic array of artists, from legendary James Brown collaborator Fred Wesley to Chicago’s Metropolitan Brass Ensemble and Chambao’s La Mari. La Caterina may have closed, but the team behind the craft brewery have relocated to Cat’s Kitchen restaurant, located halfway between San Pedro and Estepona. The venue has changed but the live music continues with regular Friday Rock Jam Sessions, Jazz Jams and Sunday Acoustic sets. Cat’s Kitchen has become an immediate hit and it’s also child friendly, which means you can enjoy the music with your kids!