Blazing Baile Carioca

Mexican smackdown, Brazilian banging

The Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming! Sixteen bands from el otro lado and nine from South America – the largest contingent from Brazil – make this the biggest Latin-American presence at SXSW to date. A mix of vets and newbies, retro and modern, acts that make a glorious racket and others going for the easily digestible make this lineup especially bubbly.

Beautiful noisemakers: Los Llamarada of Monterrey have been "making an awful racket" since 2001. Their DIY approach delivers a dingy sound that's curiously exciting to ears dulled by music overdone by high tech magic. Check out "The Discovery." It's as familiar as mother's milk – scalded and thrown into your fat face! Division Minuscula bring their punkish sound, and if you're not blasted by the music, Javier Blake's achy vocals will keep you listening.

Bonde do Role
Bonde do Role

If you're looking for some good, loud fun, turn to São Paulo's Debate, a flinty rock band that's as insistent as a car alarm at 3am. For those who don't like it so rough, check out fellow Brazilians Bonde do Role. Call them "funk carioca" or "baile funk"; both aptly describe their narcotic rhythms with metal influences. Lead singer Marina's bright vocal play adds just the right touch. Retro modern: Dublin-based Mexicanos Rodrigo y Gabriela intoxicate with their blazing guitar work pumped by Gabriela's rhythmic guitar drumming. Not just flamenco, not just folk, this duo is highly influenced by their shared passion for (wait for it ...) heavy metal, as well as classical Hispanic music. Many will compare them to the local Del Castillo brothers.

The one-man band known as the Mexican Institute of Sound (aka Camilo Lara) brings the bustle of Mexico City to life with his clever use of cumbia, cha-cha, electronica, nods to Esquivel, and even a bit of poetry from Mexico's finest writer, Juan Rulfo, thrown in to make you swoon. Those who love Michael Ramos' Charanga Cakewalk will recognize his south-of-the-border doppelgänger.

Brazilian Pierre Aderne's way-groovy bossa nova guitar licks are as smooth as a sweet mango on a parched tongue. His silky, masculine vocals flirting around the ear only add to the sensation that you're enjoying something extremely naughty. Speaking of ears, are those jazz influences heard in Patuá Tronxo? That's not far-off, though they claim an allegiance to the drum 'n' bass tradition of Recife in northern Brazil where most of the band hails (except for Cali Ricky Sybrandy). Together, PT offers a stylish sound that suggests electronica but sounds like more, especially with Jota Erre's handsome vocals sliding nicely alongside strong instrumentals.

Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela

Pop rocks and others: It's easy to write off pop as frothy and empty-headed, but when alt-rockers Zoé from Mexico City get their hands on the form, they turn deceptively simple pop tunes and lyrics into something larger in the tradition of the Beatles. Their "Love" is as pleasing as a walk in the park, holding hands with a new love. Then, they make a U-ee with pulsing numbers like "Via Láctea." Seasoned players, Zoé cranks it out sweet or savory with enormous skill.

For a spirited good time here come the crunkers, Todosantos. Their influences are "friend chicken, sneakers, ghetto design, grills, girls, and friends." Their club music is all relentless, joyful thumps. Music snobs will call it nothing more than repetitious drivel. Lighten up. Since when is having a good time against the law? It's a safe bet these club heads from Venezuela will put on a good show. end story


Allison (Mexico City) Rio, Fri., 1am;

Austin TV (Mexico City) Opal Divine's, Wed., 10pm;

Luke Brodie (Mexico City) Ale House, Sat., 10pm;

Canseco (Tijuana) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 8pm;

Division Minuscula (Matamoros) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 12mid;

Finde (Mexico City) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 9pm;

Hey Besala (Ciudad Juarez) Rio, Fri., 8:20pm;

Hummersqueal (Mexico City) Club de Ville, Thu., 8:15pm;

La Gusana Ciega (Mexico City) Opal Divine's, Wed., 11pm;

Los Llamarada (Monterrey) Blender Balcony @ the Ritz, Sat., 11pm;

Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS) (Mexico City) Visions, Thu., TBA;

Panda (Monterrey) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 1am;

Rodrigo y Gabriela (Terra Acida) Stubb's, Thu., 10pm;

Thermo (Guadalajara) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 11pm;

Tolidos (Ciudad Juarez) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Sat., 10pm;

Zoe (Mexico City) Opal Divine's, Wed., 12mid;


BJC (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Opal Divine's, Wed., 8:20pm;

David Kirton (Barbados) Copa, Wed., 1am;

Pierre Aderne (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Copa, Fri., 7:30pm;

Bonde do Role (São Paulo, Brazil) Beauty Bar, Fri., 11pm;

Debate (São Paulo, Brazil) Co-op Bar, Thu., TBA;

Patuá Tronxo (São Paulo, Brazil) Copa, Fri., 10pm;

Nudo de Espejos (Lima, Peru) Opal Divine's, Wed., 7:30pm;

Todosantos (Caracas, Venezuela) Exodus, Sat., 9:45pm;

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