Tijuana Scene Report: Mexico's Pop-Punk and Emo En Español
Mexican pop-punk and emo en español exist and it is some fucking great stuff.
I first discovered it on my own as a bored teenager in Mexico City on Youtube. One of my favorite pastimes in life is to look up punk bands in whatever country I’m visiting. I grew up going to Mexico City with my dad once a year and Iistening to bands like Taller Para Niños really helped me get in the mood to be there. Not to mention, loosened up my tongue to speak my parent’s—and now my wife’s!—native language by trying to sing along in my pocho-ass Spanish.
I really started to embrace and absolutely love the subgenre when I met my wife. Through her, I was introduced to bands like División Minúscula, Bye Sami, Pxndx, Tolidos, and Thermo. Now, if you ever see us cruise down the street, chances are that we’ll probably be bumping one of those bands really loud. She listened to that stuff 15 years ago, of course, and I’m just now barely getting into it, so I’m still a poser.
Thermo happened to be playing a show in Tijuana last Saturday, and at approximately 3:30 PM we both decided to just say fuck it and drive as fast as we could down the 5 to the border. Pro tip: If you’re only going to Tijuana and planning to be there just for the day, pay $15 and park on a lot in San Ysidro and save yourself the 2-5 hours it would take to cross back into the US if you were to drive in.
Nearly five fucking hours later, we both found ourselves in the backyard swigging on my flask of tequila in what seemed like a run down—or abandoned?—mansion near the Caliente stadium. We almost didn’t go since Bye Sammi canceled just a couple days before the show, too.
Then they started to show up: the aging pop-punk rockers, or what white kids who like to go Fest every year here in the States like to call “Orgcore” kids—that name stems from the website punknews.org and the older punks who like to stay abreast with all things punk rock. You know, dudes nicely trimmed beards, flannels, tattoos, three-inch plugs in their ears, and beautiful punk girlfriends/wives (Hey! Like mine!).
We barely made it on time to see the opener at 8 PM, Konrado, who is actually a headliner on any other night. He’s played in many bands but he’s mostly known for his time with Insite. But before he went on, Josué Guijosa of one of the other bands on tour named Kill Aniston went on the makeshift stage overlooking all of Tijuana to introduce the tour titled “GK 2018: Gira en Kasas, Seguimos Ardiendo” in Spanish.
“The whole goal of this tour is to break away from the system of cagapalo security at venues ruining the shows and bars overcharging for beer. We all have no booking agents, no managers, nothing. We want to keep it more punk rock.”
With that introduction, we snapped out of our shitty week and were ready to have fun. Paola was in her element and because we were in a backyard, so was I. It really meant a lot to the both of us to just breathe and listen to some emo-ass music in Spanish. Also, I took five ounces of tequila in my flask and I was drinking it fast as hell on an empty stomach, so I was vibing pretty hard.
Konrado’s pretty much like the Mexican version of Dashboard Confessional but maybe with a little more balls? While he didn’t play a single damn song from her favorite project of his “Siempre Me Dejas,” we still had an amazing time because the man can sing his broken heart out.
After him, we dipped out real quick and had perhaps one of the best meals that we’ve ever had in Mexico at La Querencia. But that is another post. We rushed it and made it back to see half of Thermo’s set. Their set was unplugged as well and they skipped most of the screamo songs that we both love from their first album, Arde En Mi. I don’t blame them since melodically screaming your insecurities and anxiety that you had as a teenager is a lot harder when you’re in your mid-30s. Nonetheless, Paola sang along—and I hummed—to “Vanessa” and it made the entire trip worth it just for that moment.
We painlessly walked back to the US in five minutes and we were back home in our bed by 3 AM. The moral of the story is to listen to more punk rock from Mexico and if you live in Los Angeles or San Diego or anywhere in between, go to Tijuana and reap the benefits of living so close to Mexico.
Go to Tijuana more often to eat, drink, and cry to emo en españoll