Los Tigres del Norte And Café Tacuba Will Mix Party Music And Social Justice At The Forum
No, it's not an early April Fool's Day prank.
Legendary Norteño band Los Tigres Del Norte will be joined by Café Tacuba, the punk-folk-pop band from Mexico City that defies even made-up, multi-hyphenate genres in Los Angeles soon.
The bands jointly announced their appearance at the Forum in Inglewood on Saturday, June 25. From the looks of the promotional poster, it seems that Los Tigres will be headlining the event.
Who opens and who closes hardly matters, however, as the seemingly disparate bands will showcase more than three decades worth of musical history that has deeply resonated with millions within their native Mexico, in the U.S. and abroad.
At first listen, Los Tigres Del Norte sounds like one of the many so-called Mexican "oompa" bands prevalent on Spanish radio stations across Southern California. Though the conjunto, composed primarily of brothers, cut its teeth on the now infamous corrido style of regional Mexican music, the band has evolved—if not made a lateral move—from narco ballads of old to songs of the immigrant struggle, forbidden love and political history of the Southland.
The band originating from the state of Sinaloa, land of cartels, found a base in San Jose, California nearly four decades ago, establishing themselves as the quintessential immigrant band. Aside from hits like the literally heartbreaking "Golpes en el Corazón" ("Shots to the Heart"), their music touched on themes dealing with the pains and perils of being an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. "La Jaula de Oro" ("The Golden Cage") talks of living as an undocumented person while longing for a home you can't visit, with children who don't speak your language. The less sentimental "Somos Más Americanos" ("We Are More American") bluntly lets it known to gringos that "we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us," along with a quick history lesson on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In their MTV Unplugged performance, Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine joins the band for this number, complete with the bass intro to "Killing in the Name."
The band has been so influential as to have an album of covers performed by more contemporary Latin artists like Long Beach native Julieta Venegas, East L.A.'s Los Lobos, and Forum stage mates Café Tacuba.
Los Tacubos, likewise, have a long history of addressing social issues in their music. Sometimes it's hidden behind manic screaming and marimbas as in "Rarotonga," the story of a dead prostitute who sold her body on the subway. The sweet and poppy "El Baile y el Salón" ("The Dance and the Hall") reveals itself in the last verse to be a love letter from a man to another man, a topic not many Latin artists broach in their music even today. Last year, Los Tigres del Norte made the unprecedented move of writing a song about two women in love, making "Era Diferente" ("She Was Different") the first "gay corrido." Café Tacuba's frenetic sound mixes Mexican folk, metal, electronic and pop music, but almost always with a punk sentimentality. Whether it's a quiet bolero about pigeon poop in Mexico City, or a ballad to "La Muerte Chiquita" ("The Little Death"), it's often tounge-in-cheek. That schizophrenic sound is maybe best personified in "La Ingrata," ("The Ingrate"), a song of unrequited love that ends at a funeral — think X's "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline," but a lot more Mexican.
Tacuba, led by the diminutive Rubén Albarrán, aka Cosme, aka a dozen or more other names, has spoken out on behalf of the citizens of Mexico and indigenous people of Latin America for years, lobbying publicly on issues such as water rights, environmental justice, and more recently, the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa rural teachers school in Iguala, Guerrero, at the hands of law enforcement authorities.
Though this seems like heady fare for a corrido/rock concert, the amazing thing about both of these bands is that they can deliver these messages of love and death, hope and despair in a way that does not diminish, in the least, the pure joy and emotion of the live performance. You'll get a civics or history lesson with your dance, and you'll love it.
If you've never heard of them, even if you don't speak a word of Spanish, the chance to see both these bands on one stage is not one to be missed. You might just want to stay away from the pit that is sure form on the floor, specifically during Café Tacuba. Though, moshing at a Tigres Del Norte show might be a first.
Presale tickets for the show go on sale Wednesday, March 30 at 10:00 a.m.