Mexicali is capital to the Mexican state of Baja California, the population of this metropolitan area is about 1 million. Mexicali borders the US city of Calexico which has a population of 39,000.
I left last week to visit this city for the first time with my boyfriend Bobby Bray and his band, INNERDS. The difference in population and culture was obvious at first glance. We crossed the border easily and quickly found ourselves in loud crowded streets, with many people walking around, cars honking and street vendors selling goods. A stark contrast from the desolate vibe of Calexico, where we had stopped to get a cup of coffee and meet up with one of the other bands that was playing that night, UPSILON ACRUX.
MONOCO BEER CLUB, is a mere five-minute drive from the border crossing, so we reached our destination quickly. This event was put together as a memorial show for Carlos Dautt, who died about a year ago. Here’s the flier for the show, made by ACAMONCHI
Since we had arrived early to set everything up the place was sparse with people. The employees at the bar were friendly, after we had finished loading everything up we sat down and they kindly offered us to any variety of their beer selection.
After relaxing from the drive we had the opportunity to check out the bar. This place is great, the downstairs area for the bands is about 150 capacity and set up like any place you might see here in the states for a bar their size. Equipt with a digital projector, P.A., and mixing board – all the necessities. Upstairs is what caught me off guard, a small stair well leads up to a smoking patio and adjacent to this is a gallery space filled with art. The artists’ names were unmarked, so if anyone has information as to who made what, please contact me because I would love to know. Some of these pieces were painted directly onto the wall, while others were properly framed, all of them were a pleasure to look at, here are a few of my favorites:
The first band to play were Mexicali natives THErapist. Their familiar disco-punk sound was entangled with honest screaming and a flattering steady high-hat beat. These guys are gonna be playing at San Diego’s Ruby Room on May 20th, be sure to check em out.
Next up NOISE BEAT PROPAGANDA, reminiscent of a Moving Units type sound. They have an EP which will be released later this year, not sure which record label they’ve decided on but their 2009 release entitled “We’re in love, yeah right!” was released on Poni Republic Netlabel.
HOSANNA also from Mexicali provoked a more pensive and somber sound, entangling a transition for the next two instrumental bands. KENSETH AND BRANDON (SLEEPING PEOPLE) followed next with a more upbeat experimental set. Then onto instrumental quartet UPSILON ACRUX, originally from San Diego now currently residing in Los Angeles. These guys don’t miss a beat and they’ve played with some amazing bands including: The Boredoms, The Ruins, Mission of Burma, the Locust, Don Caballero, Bad Dudes, the Fucking Champs, Dillinger Escape Plan, Anal Cunt, Devin Sarno and Nels Cline and Fred Frith, just to name of few.
Finally at around 2am INNERDS hits the floor with their own breed of post-prog skronk, space tropicalia, math lounge. Rumor has it they’re planning a west coast tour in September with 2UP (Japan) and Upsilon Acrux, so keep your eyes peeled! With 3 am pending, also known as closing time, my set was postponed till the next time around… We will definitely be heading east again some time soon, to see what else Mexicali has to offer!