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Saborcito

Pachanga Latino Music Festival fusion

By Raoul Hernandez, Kevin Curtin, Thomas Fawcett, and Chase Hoffberger, Fri., May 10, 2013

Gina Chavez
Gina Chavez
Photo by John Anderson

Old Settler's Music Festival broke out from bluegrass a decade ago, Austin Psych Fest never tripped solely lysergic, and Chaos in Tejas next isn't simply punk/metal mayhem. Fusion defines all music this millennium, and though Pachanga Fest's annual Eastside picnic at Fiesta Gardens heaps Latin-American styles into its bottomless, cast iron melting pot, its focus remains on Hispanic culture and sounds. Friday's trifecta on the river, Este Vato (7pm), 3Ball MTY (8pm), and Intocable (9:20pm), lights the fuse, yet Pachanga essentially remains a single-day blowout. Saturday, which all our picks herein preview, howls with focal point Los Lobos, but Celso Piña might be the better "get," a cumbia pioneer transforming rock and jazz's red-headed stepchild – fusion – into a brown baby of infinite potential and pleasure. www.pachangafest.com. – Raoul Hernandez

Susan Torres y Conjunto Clemencia

2:15pm, Pavilion stage

Fixtures on Austin's Latin music stages, button-pushing beauty Susan Torres and drum dynamo Clemencia Zapata lead a quartet that jams a variety of styles including cumbias, rancheras, polkas, and conjunto. Every Tuesday at their Tecate-fueled Scoot Inn residency, Torre's exciting instrumental skill and Zapata's dexterous percussion and passionate singing prove that Tex-Mex ain't no boys club. – Kevin Curtin

Bang Data

2:45pm, Patio stage

Collaboration between Zion I affiliate MC Deuce Eclipse and producer Juan Manuel Caipo, Oakland's Bang Data boils hip-hop, rock, and Latin styles down into a mouth-watering mixture, as in their most recent disc, La Sopa (The Soup). Eclipse's witty bilingual flow, both rapped and sung, tops a hefty live band hitting bouncy Latin rhythms on par with last year's Pachanga headliners Calle 13. – Kevin Curtin

Money Chicha

3:35pm, Hierba stage

What do Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Ocote Soul Sounds, and the Echocentrics all have in common? They've played Pachanga Fest and feature Adrian Quesada on the six-string. Time to add Money Chicha to that list, a fun-loving cumbia crew inspired by the spaced-out psychedelic fuzz of Sixties Peru. Fellow Grupo members Beto Martinez, Greg Gonzalez, Matthew "Sweet Lou" Holmes, Leo Gauna, and John Speice throw in as well. – Thomas Fawcett

Raul y Mexia

4:25pm, Patio stage

Brothers Raul y Mexia Hernández made their first splash with 2010's "Todos Somos Arizona," a middle finger to that state's racist anti-immigrant policies. Such social commentary recalls the work of their father, Los Tigres del Norte frontman Hernán Hernández, but that political urgency goes absent on debut Arriba y Lejos, a slick mash-up of hip-hop and reggaeton, plus the tribal and the classic Norteño they grew up on. – Thomas Fawcett

Los Master Plus

5:15pm, Hierba stage

As gimmicks go, LMP's remains pretty straightforward. The pair of Guadalajara goofballs (El Comanche and Larry Mon) sing tongue-in-cheek Spanish language covers of pop hits by Gwen Stefani, Daft Punk, the Bee Gees, and Kings of Leon, while decked out in vaquero couture and oversized 'staches. "Weird Al" meets Chingo Bling. – Thomas Fawcett

Los Rakas

6:15pm, Patio stage

There's so much sex rolling around last year's debut EP Raka Love, it's a wonder that Oakland's Los Rakas even got let into Texas. Whether waxing on "Amarte" or offering una "Copita de Champaña," rappers Dun and Rich have one intention: Los Rakas' mujeres de la futura. Their collective flows are smooth as silk, delicate, and focused on icy R&B riffs. Ladies, keep your pants on. – Chase Hoffberger

Mariachi Mystery Tour

6:30pm, Pavilion stage

Imagine George Harrison's guitar leads played by teaming violins and trumpets, or the percolating bassline of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" picked on a jumbo guitarrón. It was New Mexican musician Lorenzo Martinez who bet that interpreting the universal pop sounds of the world's most famous band through the Mexican folk style of mariachi would sound incredible and his charo-suited group's powerful version of "Yesterday" proves him right. – Kevin Curtin

Grupo Fantasma

7pm, Hierba stage

When Grupo Fantasma last played Pachanga Fest in 2010, they were joined by pianist and personal hero Larry Harlow, one of the most prolific bandleaders of the Fania Records sound that Grupo models itself after. The local Latin orchestra masters that hard salsa of Sixties NYC and easily shifts from cumbia to merengue to the occasional R&B flourish. The 10-piece has been filling local dancefloors for more than a decade and earned a Grammy for 2010's El Existential. – Thomas Fawcett

Como Las Movies

7:05pm, Tent stage

Several members of Como Las Movies are no stranger to Pachanga Fest, having played with indie en Español outfit Maneja Beto. The new incarnation debuted its trance-inducing melodies floating over a cumbia thump during Free Week only five months ago. Expect an intoxicating sonic swirl from a hodgepodge of drums, percussion, bass, guitar, accordion, synth, and drum machines. – Thomas Fawcett

Vallejo

8pm, Pavilion stage

Sixth studio LP, last fall's Brothers Brew proved the Vallejo's brand enduring local appeal. Whether throwing down a classic rock answer to Kanye West's "Gold Digger" with "The Money," or swaying a ballad like "With Everyday," brothers A.J., Omar, and Alejandro Vallejo lead a local juggernaut muscled with Santana-esque breakdowns and hip-hop swagger. Given their imprint on most facets of local Latin rock, remember Alex Vallejo as a Pachanga co-founder. – Raoul Hernandez

Y La Orkesta

8:15pm, Patio stage

A massive brass-filled Latin orchestra in the mold of mambo king Pérez Prado, Tucson's Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta resurrects the golden sounds of Fifties Cuba with modern indie panache. 2012 debut Mambo Mexicano lends credence to KXCI Music Director Duncan Hudson's claim that "Y La Orkesta does for mambo what Daptone did for soul." – Thomas Fawcett

Gina Chavez

8:50pm, Tent stage

It's been nearly six years since Gina Chavez released a full-length album. Despite the gap, the native Austinite took home Best Latin Traditional Artist at the Austin Music Awards this year on the strength of local shows and the bilingual blues of "Miles de Millas (2000 Miles)." The singer-songwriter straps on the charango again for the forthcoming up.rooted, due this fall. – Thomas Fawcett

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