ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Sept. 23, 2011
Manu ChaoZilker Park, Sept. 18
"¿Que paso, mi gente?" yelled Manu Chao, bounding onto the massive AMD stage at sunset Sunday. "Ya llego!" It had arrived, all right – in the form of four multinational musicians who put on a punk rock master class not seen since the Clash. Where the Clash integrated the UK's love of reggae into its "Revolution Rock," the French/Spanish/Arabic core of Manu Chao's quartet not only reverses those inputs, taking reggae punk instead of vice versa, it does so at a soccer-stadium scale. Opener "Mister Bobby," as in Marley, summed it up in a song, wafting a syncopated raga before devolving into a full-on metallic thrash. Like Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and Paul Simonon, the frontline of Chao wielding an acoustic guitar, stage sergeant at arms and bassist Jean-Michel Dercourt, and guitarist Madjid Fahem stepped forward and back in unison, drummer Philippe Teboul of Chao's seminal punk rock band Mano Negra singing harmonies and pounding a Caribbean mosh. Chao staples "Clandestino," "La Primavera," and Mano Negra's "King of Bongo" all rose and fell in a soup of chants, shouts, and Marley-esque "whoa-yo-yo-yo"s. When Chao beat the mic against his chest in a show of solidarity and corazón, he drew blood. Not even Iggy Pop does that.