A lot has been said about the first edition of the MtyMx festival in Monterrey, Mexico. I think it has already been covered extensively in reviews by NY Times, Impose, Stereogum, etc. Yes, there was trouble with the organization and logistics. Yes, like one third of the bands in the line-up didn’t show up. Yes, there were issues with the transportation. Yes, there were only a few hundred people in the audience (Monday afternoon was a little depressing, with 20 people or less watching High Places). But let me tell you, I was there, I watched all the bands but two (including after parties), met a lot of people, lived the whole experience, and the truth is I had one of the best times of my life. That being said, I can now talk about the music, focusing on the Iberoamerican bands.
The first Mexican band to take the stage was Yo! Linares, with an energetic performance. People's reaction to El Resplandor's set took me by surprise. They managed to hypnotize us all with their primitive, minimal, raw, sort of tribal music. Lázaro Valiente made the whole audience get involved in the show, giving us all little toys and instruments to collaborate with by the end of his set. Guadalajara's Soho Riots sounded really tight, giving us a lengthy, noisy, improvisational ending. The guys from Quiero Club weren't so happy with their show, since they had some monitoring problems, but it was a lot of fun. The set mainly covered songs off Nueva América. By the time Los Planetas were playing, I was frozen and my legs weren't responding, so I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to. But there were a lot of fans singing the songs. I was excited to see Chikita Violenta getting on the stage and setting up their gear, but shortly after they had to get off because of time issues. Bummer.
Kría Brekkan's show was beyond beautiful. Das Racist are incredible. Explode into colors, The Coathangers, Coastings and Teengirl Fantasy had us all dancing. Acid Mothers Temple was epic. Male Bonding are a personal fav. Adventure and Drawlings opened the festival on an experimental mood. But actually one of my favorite moments of day 1 happened at the after party: Aa.
Piyama Party opened the second day of MtyMx with a great set. White Ninja was disastrously refreshing, marking the first on-stage appearance of Alexico of the festival. Los Llamarada were good, but their music never managed to get my attention entirely. Le Macabre Party was a pleasant surprise, I couldn't stay still with their fast dance punk. This was Alexico's second appearance. Antoine Reverb was for me, no joke here, one of the best moments of the festival, the show was beautiful. Then, XYX took the stage for a few couple of songs, when they decided to quit the show because they couldn't hear anything on stage (besides, Mou's drum kit was falling apart, he plays so damn hard!). It was a shame, it was sounding really good. Los Margaritos' show was amazing, this is a band that has to be seen live. Los Fancy Free brought us one of the biggest rocking moments of the whole festival. They played a 15+ minutes cover of a Paul McCartney song that ended with like 20 people from the audience on stage, dancing, stage diving and playing the band's instruments.
Dan Deacon's show was one of the best I've ever seen. I had never felt so involved in a show. Telepathe were sweet and awesome. Banjo or Freakout was more of a rock band than I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot. Ringo Deathstarr didn't sound so good, but they delivered good songs and great shoegazer moments. Andrew WK was fun, but I feel like people didn't know what to expect.
Sr. Amable & Mr. Raccoon played a rocking set, joined by members of En Ventura. They even played En Ventura's "Ingenuo", presented by Sr. Amable as "one of the best songs of the last decade". Too bad people didn't really connect with them. Mentira Mentira's set was excellent, but mainly because of singer/guitarist Gaby doing crazy things like playing between the audience, climbing the lighting structure, taking his pants off, running around barefoot, etc. Alexico's fourth and final appearance on stage (third one was as a translator of an impromptu comedy show by Dan Deacon's mate, Mason, the previous day) was to play his solo songs, in collaboration with Luxor, from BamBam and Selma Oxor. In fact, she presented the show as Alexico + Selma Oxor, and I think the match went great, fun times. I didn't have the chance to enjoy Mockinpott's show, because I was busy setting up mine, but the little I got to hear sounded pretty nice. Then, at dusk, it was Jóvenes y Sexys' turn. I'm not going to review my own show haha. Loocila couldn't finally make it, so I got some help by Laiza (Celesta en la cesta, uvi.lov) and Lázaro Valiente. Next, I ran to catch one of the bands I was expecting the most: BamBam. I was sad because they only played two songs off their self titled album (both amazing), but the new ones sounded pretty awesome. Ratas del Vaticano had some sound issues, but people were reacting well. Then Neon Indian, one of the main acts, brought us a very fun and great sounding show. At the after party, XYX had a second chance to play and I'm glad they did. This band rocks very much. It reminds me of Lightning Bolt (that's a compliment).
International favorites of the night? Hands down, HEALTH. This is unbelievable. High Places opened the day with a beautiful show, mostly playing new songs. Best Fwends was a lot of fun, ultra energetic and funny. Lemonade was great! Some serious dancing here. Indian Jewelry finally made it, putting a dark, powerful live show. I was too tired by the time Liars took the stage, but it was really good too.
So yeah, I was depressed because half of the bands I wanted to see pulled out, but I'm happier because of the quality of the bands I did see. I hope the organizers don't feel defeated (I'm sure they don't) by the missteps of this edition, and that they learn from their mistakes, because I feel this festival has to be done every year, and it'll only get better. I want to thank Yo Garage's crew, Todd P and his friends, and all the volunteers for making this happen and for inviting us. And I want to say that I feel honored because Jóvenes y Sexys was the only Venezuelan band, and the only Latin, non-Mexican band to play at this inaugural edition of the festival, it means a lot.
On a note aside, I don't feel like being controversial, but I'm having a hard time trying to understand the bands that pulled out of the festival because of fear. Maybe it's because in my country we're so exposed to violence daily and we're sadly getting used to it, I don't know. There was some bad timing with this festival due to isolated events, but people have to realize Latin America is not the Wild Wild West.
Text and photos by Cheky.