The Austin Chronicle

¡Pachanga! Picks

By Michael Toland, Nina Hernandez, Thomas Fawcett, and Kevin Curtin, May 15, 2015, Music

Austin's annual Latino music festival at Fiesta Gardens crams into one day this year, May 16, noon-10pm:

Anthropos Arts

12:15pm, Pavilion stage
This 17-year-old Austin organization puts instruments in the manos of at-risk kids, but procurement followed by lessons remains only half the tale. Experience the results when these middle- and high-schoolers take over Pachanga's interactive subfest, Niños Rock. – Michael Toland

Tiarra Girls

1:15pm, Pavilion stage
The Tiarra sisters share the same smile. Bassist Tiffany, 16, drummer Sophia, 14, and 12-year-old guitarist/vocalist Tori attend the rigorous Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, and began the band after the youngest sibling, who plays French horn in the school band, became interested in guitar. Last year they were distinguished by the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center as the 2014 Emerging Artist. – Nina Hernandez

Bidi Bidi Banda

3:20pm, Pavilion stage
Bidi Bidi Banda showcases the funk-fueled cumbias of the late Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and her Dinos. Returning triumphant from Corpus Christi's Fiesta de la Flor last month, singer Stephanie Bergara's wrecking crew continues stirring up old ghosts. As they say, anything for Salinas. – Nina Hernandez

Irene Diaz

3:45pm, Patio stage
L.A. singer-songwriter Irene Diaz, alongside ukulele wiz Carolyn Cardoza, hop-scotches between genres on 2013's noir-inspired I Love You Madly. A hopeless romantic, Diaz stunned NPR's Tiny Desk Concert last August with her smoky vox and vintage approach – not to mention those statement bangs. A full-length studio LP is in the works now. – Nina Hernandez

María del Pilar

4:15pm, Pavilion stage
"I like the raw connection with an audience," said L.A. world pop dynamo María del Pilar. "We're in this together. That's why I make music. For people to get through their shit." Former frontwoman of L.A. punks Los Abandoned, the singer crafted February's Songs + Canciones I between California and Chile. – Nina Hernandez

Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta

5:15pm, Patio stage
Stripping down to congas, Farfisa, and Telecaster, Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta takes salsa and cumbia back to the garage. The Chicago fivepiece, which dazzled at South by Southwest in March, keeps arrangements to a minimum and production fripperies nonexistent on this year's debut Dos Santos, instead homing in on the groove. – Michael Toland


6:45pm, Pavilion stage
A power-pop powerhouse from Mexico City, Motel is led by guitarists Rodrigo Dávila and Billy Méndez. The former's soft vocals float atop a polished synth-pop veneer. Fourth album Prisma arrives as Motel's danciest to date and features a collaboration with Pachanga headliners Kinky. – Thomas Fawcett

Orkesta Mendoza

7pm, Patio stage
Hearkening back to Fifties Havana, Orkesta Mendoza is a brass and lap-steel driven big band in the mold of mambo king Pérez Prado. The Tucson ensemble remains led by multi-instrumentalist Sergio Mendoza, who earned his indie stripes alongside Mexican Institute of Sound, Calexico, and Devotchka. A follow-up to 2012 studio LP Mambo Mexicano, Live at Rialto Theatre captures the indie mamberos in their element. – Thomas Fawcett


7:45pm, Hierba stage
Hipster cowboys with ample hooks and virtuoso chops, the Monterrey-bred, Los Angeles-based Kinky earns global amor with crowd-pleasing electro grooves. Skewing EDM with guitars, bass, keys, horns, and percussion, the ensemble maintains a streak of quality pop singles since its pre-millennial formation, but it's their live show, recently documented via MTV Unplugged, that engages with frontman Gilberto Cerezo singing, rapping, and chanting en Español. – Kevin Curtin

Palenke Soultribe

9pm, Patio stage
Colombian producers/musicians Juan Diego Borda and Andres "Popa" Erazo formed Palenke Soultribe in Los Angeles in 2006. An extension of the pair's Colombian act Polaina Dinamita, the Soultribe expands on the original project's danceable crush of Afro-Caribbean grooves and electronic textures, finding a uniquely organic/digital balance. The band's fourth LP, Sangre, arrives later this year. – Michael Toland

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