The first edition of the Supersonico festival in Los Angeles went down this past Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium, bringing together household names like Calle 13, Café Tacvba, and Nortec Collective, alongside up-and-coming acts like AJ Dávila, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and María y José. Here our west coast Remezcla correspondents report back on the highlights and pitfalls as the festival finds its feet in its first edition– our fingers are crossed to see future editions!
1. María y José for the win, always. Gallardo had a ski-masked amateur crumper lighting up the stage while he played the hits. At first the unfortunately named Illuminati Lounge looked unfortunately empty, but by the end the room had erupted into a deeply dark, deeply sexual dance frenzy.
2. Café Tacvba celebrating their 25 years on this grateful Earth by delighting us all with an adorable, synchronized dance routine. They did the pony. That’s all you need to know.
3. The across-the-board feeling of social awareness throughout the day. Each act took the time to discuss a range of topics in between songs, like the recent student kidnappings in Mexico, political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, and immigration issues. Sure, sometimes the “we are the world”/”we are one” schtick felt thin, but there was a strong showing of Latin American pride in LA that day.
1. The venue left a lot to be desired. Looooong, sloooooow lines to retrieve tickets and press passes. Looooong, sloooooow lines to the five food trucks on site. Lines so long and slow they created an impenetrable force field that made it nearly impossible to walk through and around. Because the limited food truck options were so constantly jam packed, one had to resort to the “food” in the drinks area. Exhibit A: These two Bud Lights and that triangular object that so cartoonishly resembles a pizza—that Dorito masquerading as a slice—cost $30. Thirty, fucking, dollars. #Unforgivable.
2. Pitting Ricans versus Ricans by scheduling Calle 13 and AJ Dávila in the same time slot. It was sad to see AJ’s set with only 12 other bodies around me, a sadness—or bitterness—he must’ve also felt, since he kept introducing himself as Calle 13.
3. A run-in with a drunk psychopath almost ruining my 20-year ambition to see Café Tacvba live. To the piece of trash who threw her entire cup of rum in my face because she thought I pushed her: I wish I had pushed you. And ripped your face to shreds. Sincerely, Person You Temporarily Rendered Blind. P.S. My eyes have finally stopped burning, thanks for asking. P.P.S. You’re the worst.
1. Los Rakas. Holy crap…them Rakas! Ricardo and El Negrito Dun Dun performed a number of hits with a full band (baterista, tecladista, the works!) including their latest, “We Dem Rakas.” The band and genre-hopping between their hip-hop tracks and slow jams gave them a huge stage presence, like a badass funk band, and their audience grew larger with each song.
2. La Federación Méxicana de Fútbol. I lost track of the number of fans decked out in football jerseys at the festival because there were plenty. One didn’t have to be John Nash to see that El Tri fans outnumbered the rest. Shoutout to the dude in the 2010 home jersey who looked like Paco Palencia.
3. Everyone who caught a train/bus to the festival. Because fuck paying $20 for parking. Thankfully, there are plenty of bus stops and an Expo Line station near the Shrine.
1. AJ Dávila. Why is it that scheduling overlaps always occur at every festival no matter the time or place? Overlaps weren’t really a problem at Supersonico…until it came time to choose between Calle 13 and AJ Dávila. Dávila’s 35-minute set happened during C13’s hour and a half set. Some people maximized their time by watching the beginning and end of El Residente & co.’s set with Dávila sandwiched in between. Unfortunately, that was only about 40 people. The rest were at C13. Davila deserved a better time slot and a larger crowd.
2. Empty stomachs. The lines at the food trucks at the outdoor stage weren’t too bad at first. The lines, however, grew longer as the crowd got larger and people would eventually wait in line for over an hour just for a taco. It didn’t help that the lines would stretch from one end of the outdoor area across to the other. We’re going to need a bigger boat!
3. Laggers who bought their ticket the day of. Tickets to the festival were $50 a pop, which is a great price considering the lineup. Laggers who didn’t jump on it had to cough up an extra $25 on the day of. I don’t care who you are, that’s a good chunk of change. Y’all could’ve bought more drinks or a t-shirt with that cash!