Photo Credit: Erin Siegal/KPBS
Pay no attention to the looming existential dread as this year’s music festival season winds down. The fourth annual All My Friends Music Festival will take place this weekend in Tijuana, on the grounds and the theater of La Casa de la Cultura, a venue conveniently located a few minutes from the San Ysidro International Border.
All My Friends has quickly become the most important indie music festival of northwestern Mexico, and along with great music, concert-goers will be able to enjoy local food, art and music-related goodies.
The following are 10 must-see acts among the dozens of artists performing in this year’s festival:
Local shoegazers Celofán channel legendary 90’s British acts such as Chapterhouse and Ride with a modern twist. A truly world-class noise act waiting to be discovered in the so-called “esquina del mundo” (corner of the world).
9. Rancho Shampoo
Mexicali has become a hotbed of musical activity lately (think Juan Cirerol and Maniquí Lazer, for starters) and, for the first time since the Nortec explosion, has been able to step out of Tijuana’s large shadow. Enter Rancho Shampoo, a new, enigmatic psychedelic band on Fax’s Indian Gold Records Label, with musicians from Maniquí Lazer and Letters From Readers on its lineup, along some crazy shaman guy also called “Rancho Shampoo”.
8. Josué Josué
Hailing from the State of Mexico, this soulful rapper / crooner has spent the past year recording and collaborating with some of Latin America’s most cutting-edge producers, such as Siete Catorce and Mama Testa, with extraordinary results. Even the most recalcitrant cynic can’t help but to warm to his act.
On hiatus from his long-running band Ella tiene dos androides, Mexicali’s Polo Vega released a solo EP called “From the Trees to the Satellites” under the moniker Trillones (trillions). And it’s truly a gazillion times better than his main project, in my opinion: one of the best, most refreshing electronic music records to come out from Latin America in quite some time.
6. Calafia Puta
TJ’s hardcore scene is alive and well and one of their most important bands is Calafia Puta. These kids have come a long way musically and lyrically since they were wee high-school punks who couldn’t hold their liquor. Songs such as “Jennifer Lupus”, “Manifiesto Anarcojunior” and “Abstract title = Interesting Band” show a band who, besides keeping it real, possess a keen and perverse sense of humor.
5. Ford Proco
Before Nortec, before Ruidosón, even before Artefakto, there was Ford Proco, an underground electronic music project from Tijuana active since the 80’s. Taking their name from an obsolete technology, the duo (Roberto Castañeda and Wito Lavolt) use an array of analog gear to create techno-industrial music of unusual warmth.
4. Ibi Ego
The longevity (one decade, and counting) and the scarcity of their live shows have catapulted Ibi Ego into the status of live band. A strong first album, “MCMXVIII” (that’s “1998”, for those not fluent in Latin) released (at last!) this year makes their first presentation in their hometown something of an event.
3. White Ninja
Monterrey’s White Ninja, the brainchild of teacher and abstract artist Leo Marz, is quite simply the strangest, most compelling band to attend this year’s festival. Artsy and cerebral, but neither pretentious nor forgettable, the Ninja creates musical landscapes full of pain, trance inducing repetition and electronica rebajada. As one of their fans succinctly puts it: “yeah this song me truena la chompa loco!”.
2. Ases Falsos
Formerly known as “Fother Muckers”, the chilean band comes this far north for the first time, ready to take the festival by storm. After the release of their first album, “Juventud Americana” (which features a humorous, quasi-satanic tribute to legendary Mexican pop singer, Juan Gabriel) they have toured the hell out of their country and the continent. Their success makes them an obvious choice to headline AMF 2013 and to end the festivities.
1. Siete Catorce
Believe the hype. Last year has taken Mexicali-born and Oakland-raised Siete Catorce from obscurity to massive critical success, on the strength of only three innovative EPs. Here at Remezcla we’re really into the Ruidosón-influenced work of Marco Polo Gutiérrez, so we won’t be missing it for anything!