‘Let the fruits go through, kid’. That’s something few might expect to be yelled at them during a concert, backstage, with a camera in hand on a Wednesday night – right after hundreds of nurses marched on one of the busiest avenues in México City and kept you inside a cab for two and a half hours. This was one of those once in a lifetime occasions when bizarreness and music made it all possible.
It’s hard to imagine that it all came out of a five song low-budget-made EP, FRUTA, a little album that was nominated for a couple of Latin Grammys, with more soul than production and enough power to take you to the warmest of places as soon as you push play. An EP that, after three of Caloncho’s concert this writer covered around the country, only grew stronger, with audiences growing larger under problems such as a festival canceled under a flood inducing storm, a warm weekend night as an opening act and culminating with a packed show at the Lunario del Auditorio Nacional in one of the biggest cities in the world.
Vanessa Zamora, one of Latin American folk pop’s best kept secrets, opened the show. Otra Vez, Control, Correr and many tracks from her debut album, Hasta La Fantasía, warmed up the crowd. In the meantime, friends and musicians alike grabbed beers and fruit in search of courage. Polaroids were taken, prayers said and memories of past gigs spoken before a final embraced gathering and a walk down the aisle connected to the stage. And just like a graduation ceremony, out walked drummer Cristobal Martínez, bassist charismatic Dex, guitarist Kristian Parker and, finally, beanie hatted Caloncho to a roaring public, which went shit crazy as Homeotermo began.
Along came Los Animales, with a special guest voice in the shape of the ever calmed and pretty looking Vanessa Zamora joining in afterwards for a rendition of Julia. Summer and dancing began to be felt as Pasa El Tiempo‘s chord echoed in the room, followed by a brought-back-to-life cover of Bésame Morenita and the non-album track Chanates. The night went acoustic with Mango Taco only to turn into lady mayhem with the kiss enhancer Chupetazos – a ladies favorite – followed by Autocar and the hangover’s anthem El Derroche, with Technicolor Fabrics’ Abraham López adding beats and Ruko Vagales trumpeting in from time to time.
At this point, a couple of fans came on stage dressed, one as a giant banana and the other as a giant mango (this writer guesses), for the traditional fruit throwing extravaganza during La Chora. A lot of other fans began to either get hit by pineapples, bananas, oranges and papayas or went full Fruit Ninja mode on. After this vegetarian’s wet dream, things began to get ready for the encore.
With a loop station and just a guitar in hand, Caloncho went back on stage and became a shadow of his early days as a performer: without any backing band and trusting on his inner tempo, he played Boredome Rodríguez, a reminiscence of his café gigs. Howling through it, with his family next to the stage, his friends watching from behind the curtains and a total silence in the room, it was like watching a dear friend finally making it: witnessing the success of such an honest artist as the months and years went by, but still knowing that there’s a lot of road and music ahead of it all; it gives you chills.
The swan song of the night was the ever loved Palmar, the sound waved drug for instant warmth, dancing and sun. And the final blow was a special appearance by Siddhartha during the track Loco. Smelling like a veggie alley down a local market, we all went back to celebrate and take photos with the families of the band members, only to put the instruments and gear in the van and head to the hotel.
Then we went down to I don’t know where and I don’t know when, but it looked like the lamest after party from outside. We got into a small vintage looking burger joint, with meticulously arranged framed notes covering the pink toned walls. ‘Go in the back’, I said, ‘This looks like a Wes Anderson film!’ What this writer didn’t know was that, around the bathrooms, a huge old looking and leather and wood smelling speakeasy style room.
Just like Wes Anderson‘s filmography, just like this place, Caloncho‘s music has that same vibe: it seems pretty oddly simple at a first glance and, just when you least expect it, it strikes you with his beauty to an unknown level.
But, boy, it’s good.
Written by Jorge A. López Mendicuti
OurVinyl | Senior Writer | Photographer