“The woodsie lord knew the foolsie manbeings held gatherings//
the folly of the sneaksies n th’ lightnies cometh//
for green outlives us in the end.” – Unknown.
It’s been a while since I’ve ventured into the dark world of small festivals, so when the opportunity arose to flex out the reviewing muscles again, I moseyed down to the colourful and picturesque Colonia Obrera. The sights, the sounds, the smells from a thousand sacrificial goats, and the fact that it was Easter Saturday didn’t stop me and a companion from attending Aquí No Hubo Escena (“there was no scene here”), now on its fifth edition.
Contrary to the other festivals I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) of attending in Mexico, the special thing about Aquí No Hubo Escena was . Put me in an arena and the snarky fuck in me will come out. Put me in a close quarters situation and not only will I be more lenient, I will probably enjoy myself much more .
Who says critics don’t know about intimacy? Sadly, I’m not a critic, just a fat fuck with a thesaurus.
Salón Bolívar looks tiny from outside but it’s a venue mostly for metal gigs. Beer is cold and cheap (60 pesos for a caguama – I’m there) and it was a refreshing sight to see so many people for the first band. Said band was Lowboy, who take a gloomier approach to music with their introspective synthpop. A calm starter for the festival, like the primer required before the first brushstrokes.
Ver Llover do love their postmetal; a stark juxtaposition to the intimate Lowboy set. Complementing this first trio of bands was Run Golden Boys and it’s the moment where the variety in the line-up hits you: this is a mixtape and the apparent dissonance of genres is actually building up towards something.
Run Golden Boys do math rock and do it quite deftly. Salon Bolívar was now getting densely populated and the cases of beer started to dwindle. Somewhere during Run Golden Boys set, vegetarian burgers and pastries start to pervade the ambient, lingering in smell like the burnt incense in a long closed church.
San Louis incur into that dancey pop territory, and by now, the crowd seemed to be 30% made up of their fans. A more fashionable side of pop, it was another offering in this offering that would please Bertie Basset’s Allsorts. On that note, the trip hop of Budaya not only showed that there’s variety in the current Mexican music scene, but that there’s great stuff being created far and away from the capital, something which is sometimes ignored by the radars of everyone stuck in the Centralist station of our modern Mexican media. Budaya goes for a more expansive sound, in the near proximity of Nedry and Shield Patterns.
Yo maté a tu perro follows the slightly dreamier path set by Budaya, but with a post rock/diet shoegaze tinge that slowly builds up, smouldering through the now full venue. So far, so good, and Felina keeps the ball rolling, with their fast barrage of punk songs that fuels many full-blown slams.
Salón Bolívar has turned into an oven. I overhear a girl complaining that they’ve run out of beer. Another girl clearly asks for “craft beer” and once she’s shown the sign that reads “CARTA BLANCA” and “INDIO”, she only mutters “assssh!”
But no beer is needed to get intoxicated in a rich ambient like this. Belafonte Sensacional, a band that flows like a psychotropic campfire singalong, takes the stage and continues the streak of great bands. All these bands that Joe Q. Public might’ve not heard about, carefully put together in this place.
After a couple of technical difficulties, Joe Volume‘s return to Mexican stages managed to hit the ground running. A cover of ‘Roadrunner’ was a great shout to the ones who threaded that path before, but it was a combination of old hits (like ‘the Kids (still waiting)’ and ‘Lies…’) and new songs what got the crowd going. A grand finale that included people from Belafonte Sensacional and Acidandali made the Joe Volume set a thing to remember. Never thumb your nose at slams, even when a serendipitous elbow to the stomach means you’ll vacate the premises early. So I missed Tino el Pingüino, which is a damn old shame.
It was a great night. The point of any festival is to highlight some of the genres being explored by bands and that day, at la colonia Obrera, Aquí No Hubo Escena V was but a small sampler of the strange, weird and exciting things happening in México. Long may they run.
In the spirit of ANHE‘s mixtape shindig, I’d make this tape for you, dear reader:
Lowboy – Panorama
Ver Llover – Hanami
Run Golden Boys – Petrichor
San Louis – Para no regresar
Budaya – Motionless
Yo maté a tu perro – Nunca Es Suficiente
Felina – Loba
Belafonte Sensacional – Valedor
Joe Volume – This Fire (Starting to burn)
Tino el Pingüino – Naftalina
Words & Shit Photos: Sam J. Valdés López