Genres like punk and metal have their own codes of fan conduct and dedication – it’s part of what makes them thrive. Sometimes bordering on the obsessive (and, sadly, intolerant), there’s a constant push for excellence and survival when the big crowds and press aren’t looking. Bootleg recordings of shows are one way scenes like these survive: a fan gets the whole thing on tape (so to speak), and exchanges the results with other like-minded obsessives.
Los Grises Festival III is a classic example of this scenario. Los Grises is a collective of bands playing heavy music that defy all expectations (from Los Viejos’ punk irreverence to Terror Cósmicos knotty instrumentals, and everything in between). Each year, they organize a festival held in a house/art space (where some of the earliest Caifanes and Santa Sabina gigs happened), and host talent from all over Mexico and other parts of the world. It welcomes sizable crowds without any real press exposure or sponsorship, and the result is a day long slamtastic gathering of youth getting heavy, weird and mindblown. And if you missed it this year, you can listen to the results for yourself thanks to Juan Tamayo of Mexican doomsters Vinnum Sabbathi, who recorded parts of the festival and released them through his Loud, Slow and Distorted Riffs imprint.
The festival doesn’t focus on just one style of music. As heard on these recordings, there’s hardcore punk, math rock, black metal, crust punk, screamo, noise, stoner rock, post rock, and even hip-hop. You can hear some of the best extreme music, courtesy of Weedsnake, (SIC), Calafia Puta, Cardiel, Lxs Escombro, Los Ateos, Bar De Monjas, Nazareno El Violento, and many more. There’s a little sampling from most of the acts that played that day, although it’s worth noting that Nazareno and Bar De Monjas have their own full show streaming.
They may not be the clearest recordings, but in my opinion these wouldn’t have sounded as great if they’d been cleared in post-production. Listening to these recordings is like being there: your ears get tired from the constant blasting of raw sound, the sound oscillates due to the constant motion of the moshpit; everything feels drunk and sweaty. In other words, the most fun you can have at a rock show.