Review: Vive Latino!

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Raul at the pyramids

KCRW’s Raul Campos spun a set at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico last weekend. We hear about some event highlights from KCRW volunteer Jose Alejandro Castillo:

Oh man! After a bumpy 4 hours (ish) flight we got to the great Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City for the Anglo-Saxons). Weather wasn’t definitely the greatest, specially at 5am, but we are way to stoked too care. We got some bomb huevos rancheros and chilaquiles for breakfast, slept for 3 hours and off we went to the festival!

On our way there we shared the van with Canadian punk band Japandroids and hooked us up with 20 tickets for Vive so we gave them away to 20 lucky music heads thanks to Ibero who helped us give them away through the airwaves. So we got to this festival at around 2:30pm and our first thoughts…damn this festival is huge! It is very similar to its American and European counterparts but with its unique latin twist mostly noticed in the people, food and music. Cumbia, punk, electronica, psychedelia, reggae…its all here!

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Raul in action

Raul spun right after a great Agentinian all girl cumbia band called Hermanas Sista, at the Sonidero stage at around 3:50pm just as the big crowds were walking into the festival and got them grooving with some sweet tunes.

So as you can expect it, you can’t and won’t see all the acts, you have to choose wisely but also its awesome to just play it by ear, you never know the awesome music you’ll discover. And we did discover awesome Latin acts such as Los Punsetes and Love of Lesbian from Spain and a new project from Puerto Rico’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez called Bosnian Rainbows along with Les Butcherettes’ Terri Bender.  The highlights of the night tho, were Porter, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Underworld. There was so much talent on this first day, it was crazy, nothing to envy any other festival around the globe. Top notch performances, bomb food and great people. Mexicans are so welcoming and warm hearted!

Day 2 — Saturday 16th

Look at that crowd!
Look at that crowd!

Second day of the festival and we are super pumped after seeing all these amazing bands! Early during the day we got breakfast at Café de Tacuba (possible name inspiration for the band Café Tacuba?) in downtown Mexico City were we had some great enchiladas and hot chocolate.  After that we walked around the neighborhood of Polanco where we were staying and got to meet some locals along with listening to some spoken word poetry.

This time we got to the festival at around 7pm ready to rock.  On the way there we chatted with the guys from BalkanFirst. Once at the event, we headed to Ibero 90.9 FM’s stand for an interview with Raul while checking Carla Morrison’s set at the same time. Great performance, she played with a full band, the crowd loved her and she even had fireworks at the end! After Carla we ran into Ximena Sarinana and chatted with her for a little bit. She had a guest appearance during Angeles Azules’ set.  Then we headed to the Danup stage to check out Spanish rock act Dorian that were freaking awesome. Very post punky riffs and catchy melodies. We later chatted with the singer for a little bit. At around 9pm we headed to the main stage to check out the awesome headliners Tame Impala and Blur. Tame Impala had an impeccable sound playing songs from their latest release as well as some old tunes. Mexico City got trippy psychedelic for an hour and then came Blur to get everyone jumping and singing along to their classic anthems.

Day 3 — Sunday 17th

Last day in Mexico City, but we woke up super pumped! We had to do at least one touristy activity before we left so we decided to go to the Teotihuacan Pyramids. These Pyramids are crazy amazing and very tall. We only managed to go to the top of the Moon Pyramid because there was an insanely huge line for the Sun Pyramid, which is the biggest one.

On this last day of  Vive Latino we got to the festival at around 7:30pm right on time for Spanish ska punk band SKA-P who got the crowd jumping up and down non stop. Pretty much everyone at the festival headed to the main stage to dance to the latin and cumbia grooves of Fabulosos Cadillacs from Argentina. Everyone was singing along to their hits like Matador and Calaveras y Diablitos. They even had their kids join them on stage for a couple songs.

And to close this amazing evening the electronic norteno collective also known as NORTEC COLLECTIVE got the crowd going nuts. We’re pretty sure everyone at this festival ended up being exhausted after this last night but each one of them left with a smile on their face. This festival was just as good  as Coachella or Lollapalooza (if not better) it was a great combo of great music, great people, great place and great city!

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