SXSW Entry #4: "Los Amparito"/Banda de Turistas

So...last night was very interesting. I'll address what I mean in a sec. But for now, look at this funny sign:
Good Lord, that male stick figure has the body of Mighty Mouse.

ANYWAY, last night I was supposed to catch shows from Los Amparito and Banda de Turistas. Sadly, as soon as I walked into their gig, the band was finishing a song, complained of sound issues, and then silently packed their gear up. It was a shocking and somewhat sad development, considering the other recent issues the group has seen lately. Hopefully they don't leave sour on Austin or Texas, because they're a VERY talented band, one who I've successfully impressed on some friends in the past few days.

A few days ago, the New York Times made the outrageous statement that Austin was the "breakfast taco capital of the world" (Guanabee should also get credit for alerting me to this shocking development). Listen, I love you Austin, you've been my home for years now, but if I see ANYONE in this city boasting of this "proclamation," I will put on my soccer cleats and slide tackle you in the shin. First of all, Austin only has ONE decent taco place that's open 24 hours. Secondly, I don't think I've ever seen anyone in Austin eat a taco that DIDN'T have cheddar cheese in it (and if you don't know why it's wrong to put cheddar cheese in your taco, you must also write for the Times). Thirdly, and most criminally, STORE BOUGHT TORTILLAS. There's plenty of other circumstantial evidence I could use to disprove the Times' statement, but this is still a music site...until Carlos hires a food editor. As I've said before, I'm from San Antonio, a town of MUCH MORE taco authenticity, and the big city who should rightly be called "breakfast taco capital of the world." Now, obviously anyone who's ever been to the Rio Grande Valley can rightly proclaim that area to have the best tacos in Texas, but good luck getting a New York Times reporter to go down there and say that (kiddiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing, I love the Valley). And I'd love to rep for SoCal, but every time I go over there, some tells me that they "don't eat tacos here...we eat burritos." Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me! Anyway, we all have the right to rep whatever city's tacos that we want, but please, anywhere but Austin, right?

But I digress, I went over to Flamingo Cantina (home of last year's super-awesome Natalia Lafourcade/Hello Seahorse!/Juan Son gig--I maintain that the showcase should have been called "Los Descatados curated by Carlos Reyes") to check out the super-handsome Banda de Turistas. In a sense, their show was a microcosm for the Latin rock star experience at SXSW. Here they are, a band virtually worshiped in their homeland Argentina, but now playing for 50 die-hard American (and maybe Argentinean) fans, yet they still have the mindset that they're playing for thousands of their countrymen. The two guitarists wandered the stage as if they had dozens of feet of free space, always in danger of bumping up against the other. Their keyboard player was tucked away next to the wall, never looking comfortable with what he had to work with. Their lead singer looked away, never seeing a camera that he didn't like. In a way, it was charming, especially because their show hardly suffered from this "demotion." At first, I was going to complain that their music rarely strayed from either a "struting" or "striding" tone, but as I looked at the crowd's reaction (and the reaction of my friend/photographer), I realized that this is precisely what got them this far. Particularly when the band hit its high note on "Sueno O," you could understand how this textured approach to pop-rock can be infectious at times. They still come off to me as a bit too much like Babasonicos-devotees rather than their own band, but after seeing the crowd last night, maybe I really don't know anything. Except where to get a good breakfast taco of course...