Saturday was the day to attend Vive Latino 2012—some of the most buzzed about acts of the past year were performing, Café Tacvba was headlining, tickets were sold out, and the sun was shining. We had our day mapped out to the minute.
Columpio Asesino were already on the main stage, and I regret to report they were a bit underwhelming, but to no fault of their own, really. Their set was solid, but their music is too dark for blinding sunlight, methinks. The rather lethargic crowd did rise to the occasion, however, when they played “Toro,” cheering raucously when guitarist Cristina shouted—riffing on the song’s lyrics—, “Para que ir a Berlin si podemos estar aqui con ustedes en el Vive Latino?” (“Why go to Berlin if we can be here with you at Vive Latino?”). Seriously.
Next we dashed over to the Carpa Intolerante for Perrosky, who were the revelation of the day for me. It’s incredible the layers of garage rock, blues, and rockabilly the brothers Gomez are able to generate between just the two (2!) of them—it was as if Elvis had been somehow reincarnated in these two skinny Chilean dudes. Raw and refreshingly devoid of synthesizers and other gadgets, Perrosky rocked my world with a drum set, guitar, harmonica, and maraca.
Keeping things retro, we returned to Escenario Indio Verde for Vive veterans and música surf faves Lost Acapulco. The crowd had at least doubled if not tripled in size, and everyone was bopping, moshing, and doing the twist to hits like “Olvidemos El Romance” and “Frenesick.” I genuinely appreciate their whole shtick: the luchador masks, vintage visuals of shimmying vedettes, and misogynistic-but-we’ll-let-it-slide-this-time rapport between songs, but it kind of got redundant. We were just about ready to move on when the band started in on a cover of Los Saicos’ “Demolición,” which was easily the highlight of their set for me, even if no one else seemed to know the song.
Then it was Tacvba time. I think the official headcount for Saturday was 70,000, and pretty much everyone who wasn’t moshing to Hocico over at Indio Blanco was figuring out the best spot to see Mexico’s most important band from. As we all waited for them to come on stage, anticipation growing, spotlights shot straight up from the center of the stadium, and out came a stage from behind the soundboard, Tacvbos on top.
As Ruben, Meme, Quique, and Joselo rose from the crowds, chants of “papa-ra-papa eo eo,” queued them up for their first song. They'd been on hiatus for the past few years, and they really brought out all the hits at this show. There was no waiting around through mediocre Sino tracks for your favorites tonight. After “El Baile y el Salón” came “Eres,” followed by a reggae/dub version of “Como te extraño.” The sound was horrible, but we didn’t care! Then came one of the coolest moments of the night. Instead of singing hits by Maldita Vecindad, Aterciopelados, and Caifanes in their standard “Popurock” medley, Café Tacvba proceeded to cover Nortec Collective, Hello Seahorse!, IMS, Porter, Carla Morrison, Quiero Club, Plastilina Mosh, Kinky, Dapuntobeat, Enjambre, and Zoé. I don’t know what was more moving: the fact that these giants of Mexican music were paying tribute to the next generation that they helped establish, or the fact that everyone in the audience seemed to know the words to the songs by these comparably smaller artists.
Post-popurock, the band ran (and Rubén, still on his cane, hobbled) through the audience to the stage. Unfortunately I can’t really tell you how the rest of their performance was because, with almost 70K people singing along at the top of their lungs, I could barely hear a thing actually coming from the stage, and honestly I didn’t mind. My inner repressed sociologist couldn’t help but stop and think how bizarre and cultish this all was, and wonder why we found it so enjoyable. But I quickly snapped out of it and joined all my new friends in screaming the lyrics to “Las Flores.” Better than therapy, I’m telling you!