MtyMx: The Alterna-SXSW, Mexican Style

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The motivations behind MtyMx – a three-day festival to be held in Monterrey from March 20 to 22 – are intriguing. Citing political, cultural, and practical reasons, indie promoter Todd Patrick (aka Todd P) and friends have decided to leave Austin on the last Saturday of SXSW to head down to Mexico. Turned off by SXSW’s “growing corporate environment” and frustrated by strict visa regulations that do not allow Mexicans to travel to the States easily for live shows, this festival claims to be an opportunity to further the exchange between the music scene in Latin America and the United States and disprove the shabby image Americans have of Mexico.

Known for his guerilla-style approach to booking all-ages shows in New York, Todd P has teamed up with YoGarage, a collective of event organizers that promotes the alternative music scene in Monterrey, and put together a festival that showcases coveted acts in the American indie music scene (Liars, No Age, Telepathe) and combined them with the best of the burgeoning Mexican scene (Chikita Violenta, Quiero Club, Los Fancy Free). We definitely approve.

American audiences lured by the idea of a weekend trip to Mexico in lieu of the last Saturday of SXSW can take advantage of the discount shuttles provided by the festival organizers that will be running from downtown Austin to Monterrey and back. A three-day pass to the festival is cheap ($30!), and on-site camping will also be available. If you decide to partake in the madness that will go down at the foot of the mountains in Monterrey at the Autocinema de las Torres, below is our list of must-see Latin American bands that will be playing.

Quiero Club
Monterrey, Mexico

These bilingual indie rockers will be at MtyMx to infuse some energy into the night crowd as one of the festival’s headliners. With their latest album, Nueva América, released late last year, and their fan base growing abroad, Quiero Club (pictured above) have proved to be infallible in their delivery of fun, dance-friendly upbeat tunes.

Chikita Violenta
Mexico City, Mexico

Chikita Violenta have been Remezcla favorites for quite a while – they played our 2009 SXSW showcase and we loved, as many others did, The Stars and Suns Sessions, released in 2007. For over a year now, Chikita has been working on their follow-up to Sessions with Broken Social Scene producer David Newfeld, and hopefully, as headliners of MtyMx, they’ll return to the stage with new material from the highly anticipated album.

Los Fancy Free
Mexico City, Mexico

A self-proclaimed schizophrenic band (check out our video interview with them), Los Fancy Free is at times fast-paced, at times slow; songs are delivered sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish. But regardless of language or pace, Los Fancy Free have channeled their eccentricities, looking back to the 50’s and 60’s golden era of pop songs, and continue to entertain audiences with cool, danceable tunes that have earned them a reputation as putting on one of the most entertaining live shows yet. Can’t freakin’ wait.

Jóvenes y Sexys
Caracas, Venezuela

This duo, hailing from the unexplored territory of the Venezuelan indie music scene, charmed listeners in 2008 with their Bruno EP, an eclectic but adorable collection of melodious acoustic tunes, and received international attention from music critics and bloggers when their song “Amor Platónico” was featured in the Rudo y Cursi soundtrack. Jóvenes y Sexys is comprised of Cheky y Loocilla, but they have announced through their MySpace blog that Loocilla will not be attending, so Cheky will be at MtyMx performing their songs with other artists. Still worth a listen!

Bam Bam
Monterrey, Mexico

Bam Bam delivers one of the most solid live performances we have seen to date (they blew us away at last year’s SXSW) – and we expect the same from them at MtyMx. Their energetic pop rock is catchy, and the dynamic between band members makes for a memorable set.

Neon Indian
Monterrey, Mexico/Texas

Neon Indian front man Alan Palomo is a walking-talking example of what MtyMx is trying to prove: a political border between two countries is irrelevant when it comes to making music. Born in Monterrey, fluent Spanish speaker Palomo grew up in Texas and has found his place as the lead singer of it-band Neon Indian, crafting electro-psychedelic pop songs. Whether from the United States or Mexico, Neon Indian shares influences and passions with fellow musicians playing at MtyMx and fits the lineup perfectly as one of its headliners.