Assignment #23: The Inner City Festival.

Car Crash Sisters
Car Crash Sisters (no, they didn’t pay me to big them up.)

It always happens: the days after both semester and my contract ends, all traces of energy leave me. Is it an excess of adrenaline from the semester finally taking its toll? Is it the lack of motivation? Is it a necessary energy-saving mode after dodging mad teens that are out for blood?

Might be a combination of these factors, might be age finally catching up. The only two reasons I’ve got to go out today are catching Car Crash Sisters live and, well, I already bought a ticket, so might as well make it out of the house, one way or another. Yeah, that’s the second reason.

I aim to leave by half noon. Between a camera that won’t charge, a phone that refuses to reach 100% battery power and a crippling anxiety attack, I leave around 1:50 pm. Smooth sailing on public transport, though. There’s a double contingency, so a good chunk of the cars can’t be on the road today.

Mexicans: we are the best at killing ourselves with pollution. No matter how well we put our heads on the ground, we will choke on particles and ozone.

Still, music, eh? Parque España has a tiny stage and I saunter while Buffalo Blanco play. People get free balloons with MARVIN stamped on them. Other balloons say DORITOS. I get none, but I get my blue wristband. Maybe it’s for the best…

I feel you, Jen. All rights Channel 4.
I feel you, Jen. All rights Channel 4.

I stick around for the next band, Pilusos. I leave after two songs. I overhear a lovey-dovey couple nattering nearby.

“Well, that was ok.”

“Could be worse, could be the first band. The one who thinks they are Wolfmother.”

“The Mars Voltitos from Apolo? Christ, stop trying to make them happen. Who the chingados do they know? Didn’t they open for the Foo Fighters? Weren’t they one of the two bands who performed at Corona Capital?”

“Some noses are browner than others. Let’s go to the South Park diorama, get a picture with Cartman.”

And off they went.

Tourista – peppy, very catchy.

I needed to get somewhere safe-ish, so I trawled through a crowd of internet-savvy teens waiting for some Vlogger strutting his stuff and hightailed it to Caradura. Tourista are a good band. They mix the traditional sounds of Perú and add enough pop to make it hummable, but still with a rock edge that might keep your indie cred unblemished. They have a good crowd and they interact as much as they can in the sweat box that Caradura turned in. Ye Crispy Gods, turn the AC on, will ya?

Silver Rose – good setup, long road ahead.

Oh, the bar is not doing well. Figures, that’s why we are getting braised. I stick around for the next band. Silver Rose. Lead singer looks the part, part psych folk, part indie dream pop. The hired guns dabble with their guitars while a mic check overstays its welcome. I don’t know how long they’ve been around, but they have a long way to go. It’s not a lost cause, but everyone goes through growing pains. Drummer is fantastic, though, so don’t let him escape. 3 songs are enough and I saunter outside, defeated by the bad vocal mix and the rising temp. Outside feels cold in comparison and the trendy teens with Youtube-shaped eyes are still waiting for whoever is on the suggested videos list. I thought the Vlogger explosion was in 2008, when Nostalgia Critic and AVGN were on top of their game?

Mexico, we always get the trends a few years too late. Oh, well, it seems this guy is making his fans wait. Sic transit Gloria. See you in the nostalgia round-up of 2026.

Whoa, a dog. A not just any dog, but a French bulldog, eyeing up the chicharrón prensado quesadilla  I’m wolfing down. Her owner really wants to keep moving, but the dog suspects, NAY, knows, that I’m fond of dogs and giving them treats. Before I can give the little beast a morsel, I see it dragged away, its four paws carving a groove in the sidewalk. Rumour has it that if you get a stylus big enough, you’ll hear a pitch perfect version of Booker T & The MGs’ ‘Time is tight’.

Car Crash Sisters - highlight of the day
Car Crash Sisters – highlight of the day

And time is indeed tight. I shove my way through the kids still waiting for some two dime vlogger and arrive in the nick of time to Caradura. I fancied a cup of mangos, but it’ll have to wait. It’s space-rock time! Car Crash Sisters are just about to start, still plugging their veritable cornucopia of effects pedals. Their set is a beautiful cacophony, where waves and waves of music pound you into a state of bliss. I was mesmerised with the live renditions of ‘The Crystal Garden’ and ‘All my friends live underwater’. Then it hits me: you really need to experience the sheer energy and racket Car Crash Sisters creates with a simple combination of two guitars, bass, drums, and a Fugazi t-shirt. Good noisy jam at the end too. Just what the doctor ordered.

Outside, it starts to rain. I squeeze enough time to interview Car Crash Sisters and they graciously sign my copy of the EP. I wave goodbye and the mango cart is no longer around. Figures. I kept saying “I’ll get mangos later, I’ll go  a little later…” and then I finally mustered the energy to get mangos, some kids told me he just left. And when I asked another teen waiting for the Vlogger Superstar if the mango guy would ever come back again, he said he didn’t know. I wish I could say I’m never going to let something like that happen again. But it happened. That night. On Tinder.

Fat Tony
Fat Tony, working the crowd perfectly.

ANYWAYS, I get press ganged into Pata Negra to see Fat Tony. He charms the crowd quite well, mingling while still delivering lines with a nifty flow. Outside, the drizzle is now proper rain and for a moment, just for a moment, Pata Negra is a little cabaña by the seaside, hosting a private rap battle. Ayari and Marcos, who convinced me to get in, want to make the long walk to another venue. I stumble through the stairs, feeling dehydration taking its toll.

We refuel at a 7-11 where Dromedarios Mágicos once spent a couple of nights because he had no money and no place to stay. And now he’s getting big, so understand that with the very bad eventually some good comes. If no good comes, then you never went through hard times. For sure.

Norwayy – a very pleasant surprise.

We get to Bizarro just in time to catch Norwayy. I don’t recall being in this part of Bizarro before, but it’s quaint, akin to a middle high Halloween ball, with less realistic skulls attached to the walls. Norwayy are from Guadalajara and they tap into an eighties pop vein. They are a recent band too, but I think they’ve hit their stride. They work great as a band, sync perfectly and have an specific sound that violently bounces like a jai alai ball, hitting hard those walls between Altered Images and Alvvays.

When Norwayy‘s set is over, I throw the towel. I wave goodbye to my friends, Ayari and Marcos, and make the long road back home. It’s raining again and I don’t feel miserable, just too tired and dehydrated. It’s a long walk back to the bus stop, but it’s the best time to think about life. Again, end of the semester and the end of a contract. Both in one fell swoop. Where to now? Sky’s the limit, and you better take flight while your wings still work. I can hear in the distance the jazzy sounds of Troker and I wish my knee wasn’t falling apart, they are a great band. It’s over and I collapse in the seat of a bus in Reforma. 

I switch buses near Auditorio Nacional. Just as it starts to move, another bus driver starts a fracas with the driver from my bus. Insults, pushing and shoving, fear spreading through the bus. The doors are closed and none can get out. The other driver yells and throws a can of Diet Coke that hits me in the steel toes of my boots, ricochets into my ankle and goes somewhere beneath the rickety seats of the bus. We speed away and at a red light, the driver walks to me and asks if I’m ok. I’m shook, but the ankle is fine. He then asks me to reach for the Diet Coke. He cracks it open and drinks. And so the night ended.

Now, a week after the fact, I still feel a little dazed. The week feels like a second away; nothing productive was accomplished and that stress migraine still pulsates in the front of my head. A cricket chirps outside and I type to its rhythm. An ill gust pushes the blinds to a side. What will happen now?

Festival Marvin is a strange beast. There are great choices that have grafted their way into by sheer hard work. Others, well, it’s Mexico and it’s business as usual; we won’t live to see this tradition change. For all its faults, and believe, there are many, Festival Marvin was a good day out, don’t let my current fatalistic world view deter you, as night owls seldom see the brightness of daylight as a friend.

Words: Sam J. Valdés López


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