Vive Latino 2011: Part One

Part One | by Enrique Coyotzi

Friday was a disastrous first day at Vive Latino, no point getting into details but let’s just say that a photo pass doesn’t precisely grant you the option of watching a full performance by any band. Having obtained a different type of acreditation, today’s experience at Vive Latino was a completely different and a satisfying one. This is the only day (second out of three) that has sold out of this edition; of course this happened due to the reunion of the legendary rock band Caifanes – you could tell this was their day: most of the merchandise outside Foro Sol was dedicated to them; veteran fans, neophites, even parents with their children wore proudly their idols t-shirts, while the most hardcore fans stood in front of the stage since access was granted.

My arrival at Mexico City was late and unfortunately I missed Vicente Gayo and Joe Volume’s performances, but was just in time before El Guincho began. I catched up the last couple of songs by Bengala which are indeed a mexicanized version of Kings of Leon; people went insane with their popular single “Carretera” and an awfully underwhelming cover of Alaska y Dinarama’s “Ni Tú Ni Nadie” that was their set closer. Their fans quickly left and allowed us El Guincho devotees to get in front of the stage. Accompanied by a bassist and guitarist, Pablo Díaz-Reixa offered a fascinating set that consisted mostly from last year’s magnificent Pop Negro as well as some of the best tracks from his beloved Alegranza; it was amusing watching the audience trying to find out how to move to “Ghetto Fácil” or “Soca de Eclipse”, yet they had no trouble finding the right steps for “Palmitos Park” and “Bombay”, this one especially had everybody dancing.

Like in most festivals, travelling from scenary to scenary is exhausting, but I never thought it’d be that exhausting getting to the stage where Torreblanca would perform. After rounding Foro Sol and running like a roadrunner, I finally arrived to Carpa Roja stage (more like Dust stage) in the middle of Torreblanca’s presentation. Juan Manuel looked spectacular with that long white coat, he’s got a unique elegant presence and is a virtuoso performer. The band was playing an upbeat new song that finished with an extract of Café Tacvba’s “Last Batallas”, this was followed by their new single “Lobo” which if it wasn’t huge enough in mp3 format, live is a mind-blowing flood of energy. “Defensa” was the song that ended the presentation, I was very happy people responded so enthusiatically, they really were craving for more. Luckily Natalia Lafourcade’s show was going to take place in the same stage, so I didn’t have to move. You can tell Lafourcade is already one of Mexico’s most adored chanteuses, you could see people running to the scenary minutes before she began just to get a good view. Featuring a big band with a brass section, Natalia owned the night even though she couldn’t play any instrument due to doctor’s orders, yet she mesmerized us all with Hu Hu Hu’s outstanding gems “Cursis Melodías”, “No Viniste”, “Ella Es Bonita” and “Azul”; Amar te Duele’s soundtrack heartbreaker “Amarte Duele” and Natalia y la Forquetina-era “Casa”, where Lafourcade announced a guest and Meme joined her in the vocals, it was an special moment seeing them on the same stage.

Afterwards I moved to the main stage where Caifanes was going to play, and although I tried to avoid Los Enanitos Verdes show, I managed to catch the last 2 songs they played – of course they predictably closed with “Lamento Boliviano”. When these guys were over, expectative among spectactors grew even bigger. I have never been a big fan of Caifanes but it was exciting sharing the anticipation of the audience before the band came out and how Foro Sol was filled of ovations when the band finally took the stage. Caifanes are responsable of some of the most important rock songs in Mexican rock collective memory. Classics like “Viento”, “Afuera” and “La Célula Que Explota” had practically every mouth at Foro Sol singing them, but pretty much everyone there knew the lyrics to all of the songs. Caifanes performance closed the biggest day at Vive Latino 2011; today promises to be a good day too.