It’s just one of the widest pyramids in the world, compadres. People back then just put one pyramid on top of the other until it reached its current size. The thing isn’t that big, but the foundations are strong and huge. The same description could be applied for the 72810 Festival as well. Puebla, a city that received acts such as Queen back in their prime and, more recently, Morrisey, hadn’t had been a place where many bands wanted to play during their world tours. Its proximity to México City (just a 2 hour drive) made it an unnecessary city to visit for international acts.
But still, a location such as the Great Pyramid of Cholula had passed under the radar for many years, until now. This march, a bold first attempt of a local based festival took place, with a solid selection of established and fresh bands in the line-up and a triple stage concept. It seems that the Corona Capital and the Vive Latino festivals have found their match for years to come.
Electronic, folk, rap, rock and roll, instrumental, alternative and even sabrosindie music. All of those genres sounded non-stop around the place for almost 24 straight hours, on a hot spring-like Saturday across the 72810, Albino.Mx and 8yMiedo stages.
Felix Da Housecat’s We all Wanna Be Prince
8yMiedo Stage. Focused mainly on dance, techno and all sorts of electronic music, it was the most crowded stage during the festival. As all kinds of people were dancing non-stop throughout its 10 act lineup.
Salón Acapulco electro duet formed by Telésforo and Iñigo (the first is also a member of another duo, Los Master Plus, and the later a member of Lost Mapaches), a companionship of two producers and dj’s that mix typical Latin sounds with electronic beats. Delivering a relaxing, fun as well as fresh sound, their music is easily listenable for anyone willing to have fun and forget those hip-hop and boring bass driven tunes typical DJ’s have been playing for years. Be sure to give their songs Everyone Salsa and Comanchero a good listen.
Mexican Dubwiser being part of the new emerging electronic acts that actually perform as a band live, Mexican Dubwiser is a (proudly) Mexican project that mixes cumbia, salsa and dub. Marcelo Tijerina is the heart and soul of it, and has been the opening act for some of the most respected and successful Latin artists that have emerged in the last two decades. He even collaborated with Manu Chao and Faith No More’s Billy Gould. Check out this last collaboration in Trouble In My Soul.
The Wookies one of the most bizarre moments of the 72810 Festival was the presence of 4 men on-stage, wearing white jumpsuits and the most nerdy-yet-awesome set of masks you can find. They were The Wookies, another act that combines live instruments and a DJ set. Using the identity of one of the best races in the Star Wars universe, the secret members behind these masks gave one of the best shows of the night, energizing everyone as the sun was going down. Making everyone notice the festival was far from over. Try to find their first and only EP Discotecno on line.
Felix Da Housecat The icing on the cake at the 8yMiedo Stage was definitely Felix Da Housecat’s set. Even though he was the second to last act, his performance was one of the most anticipated of the festival. He managed to steal most of Kid Sister’s audience, who were playing simultaneously at the Albino.Mx stage. Although he performed as a DJ set without guest singers or instrumentalists, his charisma and house beats conquered Puebla. Try to find out why, as you listen to We All Wanna Be Prince and L.A. Ravers.
Modest Mouses’s Float On
Albino.Mx Stage. Standing in front of the 72810 Stage and seemingly far away from the 8yMiedo Stage, the primal function of the Albino.Mx was to make the audience move back and forth between sets, as the bands on each of the facing stages would be playing one after the other. And boy, this author ended up with a nice pair of swollen legs thanks to that. Their line-ups consisted mostly in alternative rock bands and the main headliners.
Ponyrex first and main band from the now members of Los Master Plus and Technicolor Fabrics, Ponyrex is an electro-rock act with a solid live performance. Playing danceable, potentially unforgettable anthems in both English and Spanish, such as the Joy-Division-meets-Depeche-Mode Accident Of Everything or the catchy NFWS, Ponyrex is going the right way up to take the place many attempts of electronic-driven bands never could or failed to reach in the Mexican scene. One of his founding members, Dan Solo, was chosen as the opening act for one of MGMT’s shows during their tour through México.
Los Master Plus the first sabrosindie and comedic duo of its kind, composed on one half by El Comanche (Ponyrex) and on the other half by Larry Mon (Salón Acapulco). Los Master Plus explore the fun side of music. Their tunes take some of the biggest hits in the English-speaking music scene, and transform them into electro-based Spanish tunes mixed with salsa and cumbia. The result is both extremely funny and mind-blowing, as their performances attracted most of the early attendees of the festival. The lessons learned from them is that music can’t always be taken seriously (we’re not talking about making awful noise and call it ‘music’ or anything, is not reggaeton, this music was made for having fun and a nice time, for crying out loud!) and there’s humor and comedy in everything, even in worldwide hits such as Kings of Leon’s Sex On Fire or Daft Punk’s One More Time. There’s a new album in the making, including original songs plus some sabrosindie covers. Give Los Master Plus a chance, and the worst that could happen is that you could laugh along with them and dance to a cumbia version of No Doubt’s Don’t Speak.
Technicolor Fabrics The perfect band for the perfect time slot they were given, with the sun at its hottest spot in the sky, Technicolor Fabrics calmed the nerves of the ones who were willing to listen to one of México’s best offers for the indie scene. Take the soft side of Phoenix (they even opened one of their shows), add a little bit of Cut Copy, U2’s delay-ish guitar effects, and add an English-Spanish dictionary. Then you’ll get a simple-yet captivating band, capable of creating well balanced tunes with beautifully crafted instrumentation. That’s what Technicolor Fabrics is all about, and yet, they have the potential to achieve even more. Look for both their Fénix and Frequency videos on YouTube.
VHS Or Beta one of the top acts the Albino.Mx Stage had to offer; they didn’t let anyone down. Along with a beautiful view of a sunset in the Mexican mountains in the background, VHS Or Beta mixed dance and a little heavier than the average electro-rock. The result is a trip back to the 80’s, but with steroids. When you listen to Breaking Bones, Night On Fire or their more friendly Can’t Believe A Single Word then, you might get my point. They sound like the good-nonmetal side of the 80’s, just imagine you take Robert Smith, take out all of his make-up and put White Lies as kiss’ backing band. Their live performance is perfectly driven by their front man Craig Pfunder and his charismatic persona; their videos make no justice for what they can offer on stage.
Blonde Redhead A living proof of the influence of Portishead and synth-pop, this band takes you back to the Dummy era, but with a whole lot more of a melancholic feeling in their lyrics. Kazu Makino’s voice fits perfectly within the mood Simone and Amedeo Pace attempted to create with their music. Think of her as a female Thom Yorke, could you imagine someone else with the right amount of feeling and sorrow in his voice to sing in Fake Plastic Trees? It’s the same, I can’t imagine someone else singing Love Or Prison besides Kazu.
Modest Mouse There’s a reason they were considered one of the top 3 headliners and the second most anticipated act of the night. Isaac Brock and company were worth the wait and helped everyone forget about the cold, cold night. They went onstage barely a few minutes after midnight, and there is a handful amount of awesome ways to receive a Sunday, one of them is a concert by one of the most beloved bands in the Indie movement. And they are truly, one of the few indie bands that actually struggled to get where they are now, not just wagon jumpers (more than 10 years playing prove it). One shouldn’t need to remind another that Float On is a must-have for anyone’s music library.
Los McAllister’s Crazy June
72810 Stage. This was the Albino.Mx stage’s twin brother and also the main stage for the final act of the festival. It was also the stage who presented the best surprises and even some old friends of OurVinyl.
Los McAllister they are proud members of the OurVinyl family, being the first Mexican band to be inducted into our compilation back in November with their single Crazy June. After playing along with Chromeo and being the opening act for Foster The People within a few months of appearing in our site; Paco, Diego and Ronco keep on proving why they deserve to be in such a privileged spot in the Latin rock scene. Performing the most honest and raw-power-trio rock set in the festival early in the afternoon, the influence of The Libertines and the English independent rock scene became even more noticeable than in their record. And they sound superb live. Playing alongside some special guests such as members of Beta and having the front man of Neon Lion supporting them backstage, our boys are in good hands and on the right track. They even gave some great news: a brand new EP is in the making. In the meantime, you should check out their debut album, as it is a free download in their site; be sure to give Black Leather Jacket and Kissed a go.
Hussle Club The first thing a lot of people tend to love about festivals is the little big surprises that come up once in a while. For many, the first enormous surprise was Hussle Club and their ball-breaking Depeche-Mode-meets-the-Yeah-Yeah-Yeahs set. There were times when people thought they might be lip-synching, as their sound was way too perfectly crafted. Thankfully, it was all real as their music. They look like a Gothic band, they perform like a rock band, they behave like a punk band, but their sound is a perfectly balanced mix of all those elements. The showmanship of Prince Terrence, the distorted wails from Todd Weinstock’s guitar, the sweet way Carol Sharks dances back and forth to their own music, the tremendous MC5-ish bass lines from Shirley Ho and the personality and talent of Jeremy Wolfe Kivett: these elements made most of the audience regret not having attended to the previous night’s pre-party, which they also played. Many are hoping they come back as soon as possible to Mexican territory. Their song Fuck Shut Up might give you a hint of their sound, but you should really try to catch them live, especially if you are near New York City.
Telefunka one of México’s most beloved and strange trios to date. Try to imagine three grown men, wearing full body suits that look like a mix between Power Rangers’ customs and a F1 pilot’s jacket, in really bright colors. Now throw in a saxophone, an electric guitar, some keyboards, a keytar and some toys (you read that right, toys!). Add tons of personality and talent, and you’ll get Telefunka. It was definitely one of the most fun and eye catching sets of the evening, no wonder they were chosen to open for Daft Punk back in the day. Just as their instruments of choice and the live mash-ups they tend to make live; one of their latest videos, Desechable, is a real eye and ear candy for electro funk and videogame fans.
Vicente Gayo México’s best math rock band (I don’t really know how to describe that genre in words though). Try to picture The Mars Volta and The Hives having a baby, add some early Santana Latin beats, and you’ll get Vicente Gayo. By using the basic rock and roll line up (bass, drums and guitars), while adding synthesizers and metal-like tempo changes, these guys created a hell of a party at Puebla. No wonder they were invited to play at SXSW and Never Say Never festivals. They live show lacks visual props, but their presence is the secret weapon that gets you into their music. Regresar A Cero and G-A-Y-O will help you understand what math rock is all about.
Austin TV Don’t you just love it when a band proves you wrong? Back in October, when they played at the Corona Capital Fest, I didn’t like Austin TV. Maybe the sound was a little off, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood (which could be, after being all tanned and cooked by the sun for more than 6 hours). But this time, I finally understood the purpose of their music: to be global and personal, at the same time. The energy, the head banging, the lack of lyrics, the war-like drum beats and the excess of talent; that’s what makes a live performance an unforgettable one, and these mysterious gentlemen and lady just keep on composing better each day. For an instrumental delight, check out El Hombre Pánico.
Data Rock The absolute kings of the night and the biggest surprise at the Festival were the red jump suited members of Datarock. The most entertaining and joyful set of the night was theirs. Using matching clothes and playing the most dynamic hard-rock-dance driven music I’ve ever heard; Fredrik Saroea, Kjetil Møster, Adrian Meehan, Tarjei Strøm and Thomas Larssen performed their hearts out and made the whole crowd (even the people that were at the other stages) stop by the 72810 Stage and sing out loud the most memorable song at the festival: California.
Peter Murphy the Godfather of Goth and former Bauhaus member introduced himself with one of his closest friend’s (Trent Reznor) immortal anthems, Hurt. Armed with a theatrical persona, a Tron-like lantern and a cold night, Peter Murphy made the most dramatic entrance of the festival. From then on, he showcased the experience gained after more than 30 years onstage. Flawless, choreographed but natural felt, passionate: those and many more positive adjectives can be said by his performance. The icing on the cake was another cover, though. This time from David Bowie’s catalog: Ziggy Stardust. An appropriate soundtrack for a question that popped in many heads: is this guy even human?
Public Enemy well into the early hours of a Sunday morning, Professor Griff, DJ Lord, a backing band and a couple of soldiers raised their hands in a battle-like manner. And then, the favorite duo of the entire festival and also its most important act appeared: Chuck D and Flavor Flav¸ roaring Tear Down That Wall through their throats. It’s amazingly strange and beautiful at the same time, to witness one of hip-hop’s pioneer acts performing as the only band of its kind in the entire lineup. Rap and hip-hop aren’t the most popular genres in our country, but we feel identified with the rejection, the alienation and the desire of equality in their lyrics, even though we are almost three decades apart from what the African American population had to live with back in the day. But we are having those feelings as a community nowadays, with all that’s happening in the States with the Latin population. We could hear it through Bring The Noise and Fight The Power. Chuck D talked about these similarities too, and for a handful of songs, we all felt like brothers looking for the same: to let our anger filter through noise and turn into something creative, beautiful and supportive as music.
After all, that’s what this festival is all about: a platform for the arts, the creativity and the ones who want to be heard and the ones who want to hear. It’s for everyone. And, even though its barely their first year, the people of Cholula, the organizers and performers of the 72810 Festival should be proud: this enormous place with enormous history gave birth to a music festival with an enormous potential. We will come back, hopefully, year after year.
P.S.: special thanks to Paco, Ronco, Diego, Rod, Juanito and the whole Mix Le Fun family for backing me up through the awkward momentum at the beginning; to Carol Sharks and Jeremy Wolfe Kivett for their kindness and wonderful birthday wishes; to Maria for taking me to my first backstage tour, you are truly a V.I.P.; and especially, to one of my compadres, Rodrigo, for standing by me on such a hardworking day. You all made this 23rd birthday the best one (so far).
Jorge A. López Mendicuti | Senior Writer