Ever since we first heard about them two years ago, we’ve been meaning to get our asses to a Metalachi concert. Not like we haven’t had plenty of chances; they’re a local band and they play L.A. all the fucking time. But somehow, we just never quite made it happen.
Well last night, we finally got our Metalachi cherry popped at El Cid, a combination nightclub/Mexican restaurant that, if they had any sense at all, would make these guys their house band. Because sweet Jesus (pronounced “Hey-Seuss”) does Metalachi put on a show, even to a half-empty room on a Wednesday night. By the time they finished up with an encore of “Ace of Spades,” I did not see one person who wasn’t horns-up and yelling along.
Even if this is the first you’ve ever heard of Metalachi, you can probably guess from the name what they’re about: They’re a mariachi band that plays hard rock and metal covers. No electric guitars, no drums (except one time when Dave Lombardo of Slayer sat in with them), just violin, trumpet, acoustic guitars and vocals.
You might think “Ace of Spades” with no drums and no Marshall stacks would sound pretty weak, but most of Metalachi’s set works surprisingly well because a.) these are great fucking songs and b.) behind the gimmick and corny stage banter (“Come closer! We won’t bite unless you’re a fucking taco!”), these guys are actually kick-ass musicians. The violinist, in particular, one Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez, can fucking wail.
And yeah, the whole metal-mariachi-band gimmick is pretty great, too. Especially as embodied by the trumpet player, El Cucy, who looks like a refugee from GWARdalajara. Get it? Cuz he’s in a mariachi band and…oh fuck it. Just look at the pictures, for fuck’s sake.
Also: Yes, those are demon skull shinguards. Available at fine metal accessory shops everywhere.
Besides “Ace of Spades,” Metalachi also gave the Tijuana treatment to “Rainbow in the Dark,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Black Dog,” “Here I Go Again,” “Bark at the Moon,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Livin’ on a Prayer” and, of course, the Greatest Hard Rock Song of All Time. Which is the subject of our first-ever Weird Band YouTube Video. Apologies for the shaky camera-work, we’re still new at this shit. [Update: The video was taken down, so you won’t get to hear Metalachi’s version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” here. But maybe they got the right clearances from GNR, because you can still hear them doing it in the studio.]
So thanks for an excellent night out, Metalachi! We just have one humble suggestion: Add some Van Halen to your set. “Panama,” maybe? “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”? You’re the experts, we’re sure you can find something in the Roth-era catalog that lends itself to a little mariachi magic.