Viva La Revoluci?n

Sound and sedition at the Latin Alternative Music Conference

By Gustavo Arellano
Published on LatinoLA: August 21, 2003

Viva La Revoluci?n

It was sometime Friday when the mutiny occurred.

The people occupying promotional booths at the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) had listened to the symposium?s mediocre double-disc compilation for too long and came to the conclusion that sabotage was necessary. Nearly every stand in the Beverly Hilton?s moldy conference room quickly volunteered a CD of a favorite L.A.-based band, and those infernal LAMC records were surreptitiously replaced with scratchy indie productions. The floor soon rumbled with approval for local Latin alternative music ? but who wanted inspiration here? Certainly not the LAMC organizers, who quickly returned the audio to the status quo.

The sonic suppression neatly sums up this year?s LAMC, four days of panels, workshops and shows that functioned as a corporate-sponsored excuse for music-label scalawags to get sloshed and discuss business safely away from the smelly rockero masses. Sad, really, because many of the LAMC activities would have been better appreciated by run-of-the-mill fans.

Local loves Los Abandoned and Go Betty Go (pictured) solidified their status as Next Big Things during the opening-night Indie Showcase, GBG lead vixen Nicolette Vilar in particular showing how a peek-a-boo red bra strap can be as much of a musical statement as a screech. Lumpy chilangas Las Ultras?nicas? too-brief set at the Friday Acoustic Showcase revealed a Gipsy-Kings-play-Lil?-Kim sense of song. ?Maybe ustedes can shut your mouth and listen to us or suck on it,? the drummer (built like a Humvee) growled. Las Ultras?nicas then strummed into their infamously wonderful ?Vente en Mi Boca? (?Come in My Mouth?).

Open-to-the-public events included Venezuelan sex funksters Los Amigos Invisibles on Thursday at the Santa Monica Pier, and two California Plaza presentations ? Kronos Quartet and the Nortec Collective on Friday, and a Saturday-eve Plastilina Mosh/Jumbo/Volumen Cero free-for-all with P. Mosh and Jumbo covering ?Mr. Roboto.? Domo arigato for the freebies, LAMC overlords, but shouldn?t all the concerts have been like this?

Everybody?s favorite crazy rockero uncle, El Tri front man Alex Lora, emerged from his sarcophagus long enough on Friday to ramble about accepting payola and having played ?Los Rolling? a couple of centuries ago. And the prune?s solo mumblings during the Thursday-night La Banda El?stica Awards fiasco at the Mayan was a reminder of why atheism persists.

In addition to the Friday fun, local renegades organized two separate but unrelated hoi polloi counterattacks ? an all-Spanish ska showcase at South Gate?s decrepit Allen Theater Friday night that saw headliners Las 15 Letras inspire a near-riot with their jumpy surges, and an Eastlos-centric slate at the Knitting Factory?s AlterKnit Lounge held in direct competition to the official Indie Showcase. Songstress Lysa Flores hosted the latter with her acoustic cries, while Los Villains turned off their double-drum mortars to whisper some folkloric punk. As for closers Ollin, any group that can rockabilly-out a reference to City Terrace, recall the displaced families of Chavez Ravine, and chirp a rendition of ?The Wearing of the Green? that can cause all of County Cork to cry deserves the world?s blessings.

About Gustavo Arellano:
Originally published in the LA Weekly at http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/40/live-arellano.php
Gustavo can be reached at GArellano@ocweekly.com

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