This week’s weird band was suggested to us by a Facebook fan named João Nox, who we assume is from Portugal, because his name is João and this band Blasted Mechanism seems to be virtually unknown outside of Portugal. Which is a shame, because these guys fly a freak flag that should really be traveling in international waters. I’m not even sure what that means, but I haven’t had much sleep.
Blasted Mechanism have been around since 1996 and have played a lot of major European festivals alongside more famous band they charmingly misspell on their Facebook page: Pearl Jem, Linking Park. They’re a six-piece sorta electro-jam band with lots of dub/reggae and world music influences; one of the dudes plays djembe and didgeridoo, another plays a double-neck combination guitar/cavaquinho, which is a Portuguese cross between a ukulele and a mandolin. Except I think maybe they call it a Bambuleco or a Kalachakra or who fucking knows—a lot of their instruments are custom made so they can call them whatever they feel like.
Although their music sounds like a lot of fun live, what’s really more interesting about Blasted Mechanism are their costumes, which they’ve changed up many times over the years in an apparent attempt to discover the perfect combination of B-movie space alien, Aztec warrior, Mighty Morphin Power Ranger and Burning Man refugee. Here they are having fun with electroluminescent wire:
And here they are in perhaps their crowning achievement, an insane mix of gypsy-punk and peyote-fueled tribal freakout called “Battle of Tribes.”
Good shit, no? So thanks for introducing us to the weirdness of Portugal, João. Now what’s it gonna take for us to convince these guys to do a U.S. tour?
Mixing music styles is a tricky business. Do it well, and you can inspire entire new genres, i.e. Celtic punk (thank you, Pogues), ska-punk (nice one, Specials), and rap-metal (we forgive you, Rage Against the Machine). Do it badly, and you can sound like an unholy train wreck. Do it badly with world music, and…well, usually the results wind up sounding like something that plays in the background while you shop for dream-catchers and bath salts.
To their credit, no one would ever mistake Delhi 2 Dublin for New Age gift shop background music. That being said, we still can’t decide if they’re actually good or not. Let’s put it this way: They get an “A” for effort, and an “A+” for originality. It would be wacky enough if they just fused traditional Celtic music with Bhangra, a style of folk music from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. But no! These crazy kids—who are from Vancouver, of all places—decided to throw a little hip-hop, rock, reggae, dub and electronica into the mix, too. The results sound sort of the “Lord of the Dance” soundtrack as performed by Asian Dub Foundation and remixed by Fatboy Slim. Did that last sentence make any sense to you at all? Then we may have just found you your new favorite band!
Believe it or not, Delhi 2 Dublin actually isn’t the first band to do this sort of Celtic-flavored, pan-global hodge-podge. Afro Celt Sound System, among others, having been doing something similiar since at least the mid-’90s. But Dehli 2 Dublin earns a spot on our Weird List because there’s something about the way they approach their music that’s equal parts dorky and awesome. The video below, for example, is just crying out for an SNL Digital Short, don’t you think? And we mean that in a good way. They’re like the T-Pain of world music fusion.