From organizing the Latin Alternative Music Conference, curating MTV Tr3’s La Hora Nacional, and of course, overlooking the Nacional Records catalogue, Tomas Cookman is one very hard working man. Rumors of a “Latin Coachella” had been rumored around for a couple of years. When it was time to reveal the birth of Supersonico, it wasn’t a huge surprise to anyone that Cookman was behind it. Joining forces with Goldenvoice (the people behind Coachella) and under the subtitle of “A Cultural Happening,” the first edition of Supersonico looks truly promising.
Nacional’s syndicated brand has been the go-to place for the Anglo-centric fests to fill their Latin card to make their festivals appear more culturally rich. After 15 years of the LAMC, Cookman knows better than to turn a festival into a showcase. And although there are a handful of Nacional artists on the lineup, you have to applaud the decision of opening the field to an array of guests, including a couple of unsigned acts (María y José, Los Master Plus). Compared to a festival like Mexico City’s Vive Latino, Supersonico’s lineup looks like the timetable of a single stage, but it’s impressive considering we’re still tasting the waters of that pledged Latin Alternative audience.
So let’s get to the lineup. You won’t ever hear me complain about seeing Café Tacvba perform. Even if El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco has proven to be one of the band’s least accomplished works, the 20-year commemoration of Re (considered the best Latin rock album of all time) is enough to feel excited and nostalgic about. The other big headliner, Calle 13, comes from releasing the most politically-misguided and cringing record we've heard this year, but they do put on a great live show (and they are responsible for some of the most exciting music of the past decade). Nortec Collective’s Bostich + Fussible’s announcement of the recently released Motel Baja as their very last record will make their performance emotional and moving.
New music lovers typically find the most exciting acts amongst the smaller fonts of the lineup. It’s a hit and miss here. Let’s start with the underwhelming names. I’m sure Deorro will get the people jumping up and down, but I can think of at least twenty other names that could have done that job and actually produce above average music. It’s not a crime to have feature some comic relief, but the novelty of Los Master Plus wore off right after their Kings of Leon parody hit video “Sexo En Fuego.”
There are plenty of exciting rising acts that make up for the underwhelming names though. Tijuana ruidoson mavericks María y José and Los Macuanos are bound to prove why they’ve been a critics’ darlings, and two of the most blogable latin acts in the last few years. Also from the same bordertown, Ceci Bastida has been known for stealing the show –if looking for a true performer, you can’t go wrong with Ceci. Compared to most festivals catered towards Latinos, Supersonico has a surprising low number of rock acts. This is actually great news in the sense that it’s striking to be truly diverse. At the same time, it makes young rock bands like Venezuela’s La Vida Boheme and Puerto Rico’s AJ Davila y Terror Amor truly attractive. French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux will bring a full band to unveil her discourse, while Colombia’s Bomba Estereo is sure to make people move through their cumbia and tropical flirtations with dance music.
Supersonico: A Cultural Happening, will be taking place at Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds in Los Angeles this Saturday, Oct. 11.