Punk festivals happen on the daily, but New York’s Latinx Punk Fest stands out – not only for its focus on Latinx bands, but also for its adherence to the punk ethos. Decidedly not-for-profit and free of sponsors, this fourth edition, slated for August 10-12, champions the same kind of community the genre was created for and shaped around back in its 70s underground beginnings as a creative sanctuary for anyone who didn’t fit or simply detested the status quo of rock at the time.
“Playing at Latinx Punk Fest is important to us because we’re interested in strengthening and growing Latin American punk, and to have a more unified community of young Latinxs involved,” says Cremallera singer-bassist Violeta.
Making paramount its mission to be inclusive – homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and racism have absolutely no place at LPF – is something Violeta and bandmate Dany both support.
The duo isn’t the only act that is drawn to the fest for an ethos that aligns with their own – and from faraway places, too. Cremalleras hails from Mexico, and there’s bands coming in from Colombia, Canada, Ohio, Minnesota, Texas, Florida, and more. The lineup represents a massive international convening: Dallas-based Diego Osorio of Perdidos adds, “Latinx Punk Fest brings our community together all from across the world in solidarity to show our struggles through our music in our language and culture to share with everyone.”
It’s critical to the Latinx punk community to have spaces like this one, where the values of punk, obscured by the popularization of the genre, are proved to still be alive and thriving. Frente Norte singer-bassist Johnny puts it most succinctly: “Punk at its best is a refuge for the other rather than merely a reflection of mainstream society with loud music and weird clothes. If you have a problem with any of those tenets, there’s no place for you in punk today.”
Below, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite acts from the lineup – all of them coming in to New York from afar. They’re not motivated by money, but by the importance of connecting and supporting the global Latinx community.
Latinx Punk Fest takes place in Brooklyn, NY on August 10-12. For more info and to purchase tickets, check out the event’s Facebook.
Lupus (Bogotá, Colombia)
This Bogotá band’s embrace of the darkest parts of existence is somehow not as frightening or bleak as one would expect. That Lupus funnels all the callousness of life into its music makes for a realistic spirit, rather than down-and-out pessimism. On the group’s 2015 LP, La Mentira, a foundation of the band’s point of view stands out among the blasts of seething guitars and guttural vocals: La vida es una trampa. In acknowledging that the blissful, utopian humanity we’re taught to strive for is an impossible ideal, Lupus drops the pretense, suggesting that there’s more authenticity – and maybe even more personal serenity – in accepting that living through some sort of darkness is an inevitability for all of us.
Lupus plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 10. For more info, click here.
Perdidos (Dallas, Texas)
Futuro Oscuro, the latest release from Perdidos, could be the soundtrack to demolition footage – one after another, each implosion making dust and debris of buildings that, put to the Dallas band’s noisy, ferocious post-punk, feel symbolic of a constraining societal structure. The April EP follows last year’s La Gente Esta Maldita, which makes a similar catharsis-by-chaos offering, with every track like a wild tumbling of all things arbitrarily confining. The incredible energy exerted in each brutal breakdown isn’t draining, but surprisingly invigorating – the rush of one track actually serves as fuel for the next.
Perdidos plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 10.
Cremalleras (Monterrey, Mexico)
In super-short, antagonistic bursts of high-speed punk, this Monterrey duo is capable of instantly stiffening your body with a fiery rage – complete with clearly defined targets, courtesy of guitarist-singer Violeta. She wields feminism like blowtorch throughout their latest, Mercado Negro, like in the sharp warning of coming retaliation on “Arruinaremos tu vida” and the pointed criticism of the patriarchy’s stifling control on “Seres incomprendidos” and “Fondo del vagón.” They issued their first LP back in 2013, and each member has respective roles in various other bands (Violeta is also in Soga, and drummer Dani brings percussion to Descarnada and fronts Heterofobia – these are just a current few). Cremalleras are critical contributors to the latest wave of Mexican punk, and will undoubtedly be vital to its future, too.
Cremalleras plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 12. For more info, click here.
Verminoze (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Verminoze are Latinx Punk Fest vets, returning for a third time after playing the 2015 and 2016 editions. Getting a rowdy, crowd-wide pogo going is definitely part of their gig, and yes, they actually dubbed both a demo and subsequent tour Livin’ La Vida Loca, so they’ve got jokes, too. But this Minneapolis band’s values also figure into their M.O. (like when they clarified to a crowd that war is perpetual, and there’s gotta be a better way), and delivering it through the blissful repetition of catchy D-beat and street punk structures can not only make those messages more widely accessible, but ensure they stick, too.
Verminoze plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 10. For more info, click here.
Niños Rata (Montreal, Quebec)
Coming in from Montreal is Niños Rata. Their vocals are like handfuls of gravel running through a blender, juxtaposed against relatively clean guitar quality that, by comparison, sounds buttery smooth. Adding plenty of flagrant solos to the mix, the trio’s brand of punk nods to genre predecessors like the MC5 or The Stooges – with vocal grit like a perpetual sandpapering of that more polished underpinning.
Niños Rata plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 11. For more info, click here.
Frente Norte (Toledo, Ohio)
Balancing nihilism and charged hope is a traditional punk feat, and this Toledo band walks that line with thoughtful lyricism that both shows and tells. On Demo 2, released last June, the emotional depletion in the deceptively buoyant “Atómico” is expressed quite literally, and the downtempo tribute ballad, “Mi Vecino El Señor Harwood,” is symbolic of the situations that shape that overall outlook. But finale “There’s Gotta Be More” offers optimism, albeit measured and with desolation trailing close behind. Don’t skip out on the lyrics when listening to Frente Norte; it’s definitely one of the band’s most compelling characteristics.
Frente Norte plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 11. For more info, click here.
Riña (Mexico City, Mexico)
In the album description of this Mexico City’s band’s July release, Riña calls for the deaths of the patriarchy and white supremacy – and Aquí No Eres Nadie brings the most fitting electric energy to get the job done. With shrieking vocals winding around a steady onslaught of brawny shredding and drumming that often hits turbo speeds, the hardcore punk act bets on a dizzying kind of determination, and the results are immensely gripping.
Riña plays Latinx Punk Fest on August 11. For more info, click here.