Festival Nrmal 2012, Part Two

by Enrique Coyotzi

When Alex Anwandter’s outstanding set was over, I was really looking forward to seeing Javiera Mena own Nrmal stage. I had seen her twice in the past and was already familiar with her commanding live shows. However, Mena’s performance at the festival was underwhelming. She never really clicked with the audience (many didn’t know who she was), and her presentation never seemed to take off to such great heights as what her fellow Chileans had done previously that evening. Despite playing Mena’s favorites such as “Hasta La Verdad” and “Luz de Piedra de Luna,” the songstress appearance at Nrmal left a bunch wondering, “Was that it?” And inviting She’s a Tease’s Pibe as guest vocalist during “Sufrir” didn’t help, like, at all. It turned out to be counterproductive and off-putting. By the time she played “Al SiguienteNivel,” one couldn’t help but think she missed a great chance at a memorable performance. While I did have a good time chanting and jumping to her songs, when she was over it left me a sort of “meh” feeling.

James Ferraro’s set started exactly after Mena’s and I honestly could not get into it, even less so when I had in mind how Dávila 666 would fucking kick ass at Nrmal stage and alter all my senses. I had the chance to talk to the band’s lead bassist, AJ, during Anwandter’s show and he was extremely cool, accessible, and was notably excited by their upcoming performance. And, no shit, this was probably the most energetic presentation out of the whole bunch I had seen. The Dávila 666 guys possess the punk spirit at heart and showcase it mind-blowingly on stage. “Esa Nena Nunca Regresó,” “Obsesionao,” and their Nerves cover, “Hanging on the Telephone,” were all of part of the Puerto Rican’s engrossingly killer show, which was both fun and modestly aggressive.

Photos by Erez Avissar

As the cold kept getting more intense, I moved to Panamérika stage to catch a bit of Daniel Maloso’s show before Girls, who I’d been waiting all evening, finally began. This was a perfect idea. The Cómeme pupil brought warmth with his super hot, banging set, which progressively kept getting better, never stopping, and projecting a noteworthy sense of build up and appreciation for prolonged climaxes. I would’ve loved to stick around for his whole presentation, but the time to see Girls had finally come. A divisive band within our circuit (I’m talking about you, Andrew), the San Francisco duo offered an emotive, top-notch performance. An absolute highlight in every sense and rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end, Girls brought tears to eyes, sent shivers down the spine, and had devoted fans singing their hearts out to Christopher Owen’s divinely painful lyrics.

I'm not really a fan of witch house, but it was intriguing to see White Ring’s spooky, coked-out show before getting ready to rock with El Columpio Asesino. Even as it got colder and I got more tired, I was thrilled to once again experience the Spanish ensemble. They didn’t fully convince me when I saw them last year at DF’s Corona Capital, when they played like at 3 p.m. or so, but this time around the weather and schedule was in their favor. Out of the whole performances I watched the whole day, El Columpio was the group that portrayed the most perfect synchronization and live qualities, functioning as a whole, as a marvelous rock band does, with each of its members in tune. Since they occupied Nrmal stage, El Columpio perplexed and grabbed audience attention without ever letting go. With a set that mostly consisted of their applauded fourth album, Diamantes, El Columpio Asesino reminded why their transcontinental success has been so huge.

The perfect closer of the night and the festival’s most enjoyable moment came when Tony Gallardo II and DJ Nombre Apellido (Los Macuanos’ Moih) occupied Panamérika stage. It was past midnight and, while most of the public was watching Los Rakas, us Gallardo hardcore fans were eagerly waiting for his smashing party to begin. One of the most notorious qualities Gallardo’s performances possess is that they’re pretty much unpredictable and extremely entertaining. This time around wasn’t the exception. Tony spotted Sonido San Francisco’s vocalist, Sebastián Cárdenas, the Adrianigual guys, and Alex Anwandter, and got them all on stage to dance as he kept doing his thing. Without a doubt, seeing all these artists reunited on one stage while visibly enjoying themselves was one of the festival’s most epic moments. With the assistance of DJ Nombre Apellido, interpreting his whole Líder Juvenil EP in its entirety, Gallardo gave the last essential performance of the festival and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon by all of us who were there to presence it. When his set was over, after people asked for another tune, the youth leader told us he had one more song prepared, though he wouldn’t sing it, he’d dance to it with us. He pressed play and jumped with all of us to “Violentao" (Sheeqo Beat mix), delivering the ideal final touch to one of the year’s most epic journeys.