Indie-O Fest 2010

Pictures by Dorian Lopez

These days, getting anywhere on time is heroic in this city, at least for me. And I must say I wasn’t a hero the night of the Indie-O Fest nor am I a hero in delivering this brief would-be-chronicle… a couple of days after. Not the early bird, no. Fired from the paperboys team, you bet. But… better late than never, my aunt would say.

So let’s keep the aunt’s view near for a while. Anyway. The sixth Indie-O Fest brought a very delectable selection of fresh bands to Mexico City this week. I’ve seen this Festival grow from its debut at the city’s Hard Rock Live in 2005 and it’s been doing it the right way: step by step, yet always with vision, ambition, good taste and heart.

The first-class independent world finds a way to play for Mexican audiences thanks to these guys’ efforts and many interesting independent Mexican bands get a chance to share the stage with the likes of: The Secret Machines, Broken Social Scene or The National.

This year’s lineup was pretty tasty: Deerhunter, The Big Pink, Little Dragon, Marnie Stern and the local natives… no, not the band… um, let me rephrase this, and the Mexican bands: Bam Bam, Los Amparito and Corazón Attack. 

Last minute problems with the camera and monster traffic made it impossible for us to make it on time for the Mexicans, so we only got to see and hear things from Marnie Stern on. 

I must say that the first thing deserving huge praise is the place itself. At least, aesthetically. The circular Siqueiros mural inside is mindblowing. It gives everything a very mystical feel. The sound is a bit problematic, though. It was pretty LOUD that night too. That very detail made it a bit hard for me to enjoy Marnie. So we (Dorian, the photographer and me) went outside to breathe and forget the traffic some more as we drank something refreshing. 

We got back in just in time for Little Dragon and it took me about 30 seconds to fall in love. Yukimi has one of those personalities that can fill the place with just her charisma. But she’s properly backed by a solid band, solid arrangements and songs. So the experience is more than satisfying. They made sure everything was in order before beginning, themselves, and it paid off, theirs was the gig that sounded best. Yukimi’s eyes, her smile and her voice got to my heart as she danced. As they made us all dance and sing along and scream our hearts out. Little Dragon truly lit up the place, owned the night, and for a memorable encore they gave us a heartfelt rendition of Twice which I enjoyed to the last note. 

I confess I knew pretty much nothing about The Big Pink before, but I was positively impressed. They bring a peculiar mix to the table. They look as if it were going to be extremely punk with a drop of metal. And they do add a bit of noise here and there. But there’s something rather pop about them as well. They bring Nine Inch Nails to mind through their looks but the music had me thinking more about stuff like The Stone Roses. Interesting and powerful. At first I didn’t understand the mix of live drums and commanding beat programming. I didn’t feel they played well together. The drummer was also apparently singing a lot, and we never heard her voice. Eventually, though, the beats sunk in and I didn’t feel as weirded-out as I did at first. I liked them. Loud too… but good. 

So, remember I’m no hero, O.K. The thing is Deerhunter came out late, and I had to get up REAL early the next morning and sing that night. So I was a bit beat by then. The sound was even LOUDER and our camera’s battery was dead. I got to hear half their set and it went from a rough NOISE start to an increasingly better and better progression… I was left with a big curiosity to see them again. Hopefully that’s what this Festival leaves people with, regarding all the bands… It would be better if they could manage to throw the party closer to (if not ON) the weekend! But no serious complains here, and I fell in love (with Little Dragon) so I left happy.

I also got to talk a bit with Carlos Pesina (Pepepe) from Los Amparito and I enjoyed that a lot! We chatted about the RedBullMusicAcademy experience and being nominated for the same award at the Indie-O Music Awards. We gave each other the evil eye for a split second but it was all friendly after that.