Hide your daughters: Metalachi is going on tour

Metalachi

Actually, by the time you read this, Metalachi have probably already impregnated your daughters. Consensually, of course. Emphasis on “sensual.” Yeah, they’re that good.

Yep, L.A.’s favorite mariachi metal band is hitting the road this December, and if you live in Sacramento, Boise or Spokane, you are about to have your minds blown by how great the lead of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” sounds on a violin. You folks in Seattle and Portland, it probably takes a bit more to blow your minds, but you’ll still dig them, anyway.

Also next month, Metalachi continue their Monday night residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is Las freakin’ Vegas. They’re even playing the night before New Year’s Eve…or “New Year’s Eve pre-game,” as it’s known to us professional alcoholics. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Metalachi tour dates:

Nov 25 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas NV
Dec 5 The Catalyst Club Santa Cruz CA
Dec 6 The Blank Club San Jose CA
Dec 7 The Uptown Nightclub Oakland CA
Dec 8 Assembly Sacramento CA
Dec 9 Vinyl Las Vegas NV
Dec 9 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas CA
Dec 11 Neurolux Boise ID
Dec 12 Knitting Factory Spokane WA
Dec 13 El Corazon Seattle WA
Dec 14 Doug Fir Lounge Portland OR
Dec 16 Knitting Factory Reno NV
Dec 17 The Brewhouse Modesto CA
Dec 18  SLO Brewing Company San Luis Obispo CA
Dec 19 Strummer’s Fresno CA
Dec 20 McNears’s Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
Dec 30 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas NV

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Weird Live Review: Long Beach Zombie Walk 2013

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BRRRRAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSS!

Okay, so we didn’t dress up as zombies for the 6th annual Long Beach Zombie Walk. Instead of brains, we feasted on bacon-and-gorgonzola sliders from the Me So Hungry food truck. But hey, we were there to document. I didn’t want to get zombie gore all over my camera phone. (Except that I kind of did anyway. More on that in a moment.)

Zombies are great and all, but we were mainly there to see the bands. Radioactive Chicken Heads, Rosemary’s Billygoat, Haunted Garage and Metalachi, all in one lineup? We’d eat our mothers’ brains with a spoon to check that out.

Sadly, we missed Radioactive Chicken Heads, which was extra frustrating because we got there during the last 15 minutes of their set and just couldn’t find the entrance. Event security staff were in full-on zombie mode, too. “How do we get in?” we  kept asking, at barricade after barricade. “Ugh,” they’d reply, pointing vaguely back in the direction we’d just come from. Who do we have to eat to get into this thing?

We finally figured it out just in time to have about an hour to kill before the next set, by Rosemary’s Billygoat. We passed the time watching a lame wrestling show, a slightly less lame burlesque act, having more event staff zombie conversations about how to buy beer (“Where do I go to get my ID checked?” “Ugh! Ugggghhhh!!”) and, of course, people zombie watching. Not everybody went full undead for the occasion, but among the ones who did, there were some pretty cool makeups. Here’s our personal favorite, the only one we saw from which people actually recoiled in horror.

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Incidentally, I’m glad to see he wore his earplugs. Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t take precautions again tinnitus.

Finally. Rosemary’s Billygoat took the stage, and they did not disappoint. Frontman Mike Odd is a serious showman, entering on stilts through the crowd and performing their first head-banger strapped to an electric chair.

rosemarys5Throughout their set, R’s BG pushed the prop-rock envelope. There were pizzas sliced up into pentagrams. There were hearses spun in circles through the audience. There was a flaming baby carriage for their cover of “Hell Is for Children” by that “horror queen” (as Mike Odd referred to her), Pat Benatar. There was a flaming guitar, which I failed to get a decent picture of, but I’m posting a picture of it anyway because I love that one of the spectators in the foreground is a giant brain. [Update: We have since received a great shot of the flaming guitar from none other than Mr. Mike Odd himself. Thanks, Mike!]

The show ended with what looked like Manute Bol in a werewolf costume stumbling through the crowd. It was all quite the rock ‘n’ roll spectacle.

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Mike Odd of Rosemary's Billygoat
Photo by Todd Sharp

Next up: Haunted Garage, the recently rebooted splatter-punk ensemble led by the inimitable Dukey Flyswatter, looking fetching in an apron made of human skin (note the screaming face visible near the hem) and ass-crack-revealing biker shorts. (I failed to get a decent photo of Dukey’s ass-crack. To all humanity, my humblest apologies.) Oh yeah, and those things on his face? Mousetraps. Even the guy with the super-gross zombie makeup was probably like, “Woah, dude. Hardcore.” hauntedgarage7

“This is our first Halloween show in 20 fuckin’ years!” Dukey proudly announced. They tore through a short but furious set of Haunted Garage classics, from “Welcome to Hell” and “Bitch Like You” to “Incredible Two-Headed Transplant” and “Brain in a Jar” (complete with, yes, a brain in a jar, like something you’d see at the checkout counter of a zombie convenience store). The stage show was stripped down compared to Rosemary’s Billygoat (“We’re building it back up,” Dukey promised), but what they lacked in flaming baby carriages they more than made up for with energy, intensity and spewage. Right after “Welcome to Hell,” Dukey scored a direct hit on me and several other folks in the front row with a well-sprayed mouthful of what looked like blood but which I believe was Jack Daniels, Coke and red food coloring. At least that’s what it tasted like. Yeah, he caught me mouth-breathing, that bastard. What can I say? I was slack-jawed with admiration at their horror-punk onslaught.

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The whole band tore it up, but special recognition has to go to guitarist Erik Erath, whose screaming leads took the whole band into Priest/Maiden territory. Not bad for a guy whose brains appeared to be leaking out of his forehead.

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Oh, did I mention the giant, demonic rabbit? That’s Peter Rotten Tail, who came out and danced around for a song or two. There was also a flying monkey and some go-go dancers called the Gore Gore Girls.  But Dukey was always the center of attention. That guy’s a true rock ‘n’ roll maniac.

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After Haunted Garage, we stumbled over to a whole second fenced-off area for the Zombie Walk, which isn’t really a walk anymore—more like an aimless milling about, which I suppose is more zombie-like, come to think of it. Anyway, the headliners in this smaller area were L.A.’s preeminent metal mariachi band, Metalachi. We’ve already described the awesomeness that is a Metalachi show, so I won’t give a full recap here; I’ll just note that I believe they rocked this poor gentleman’s fucking face off:

Metalachi-fanmetalachiSo thanks for an excellent evening, Long Beach Zombie Walk! And sorry we missed you, Radioactive Chicken Heads. I’m sure you were a huge hit with the undead crowd.

Weird bands invade the Long Beach Zombie Walk: Metalachi, Haunted Garage, Radioactive Chicken Heads

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Usually I save my zombie impersonation for the morning after the party. But Saturday, Oct. 26th, I’m gonna be moanin, shamblin and bitin people in the head during the party. It’s the sixth annual Long Beach Zombie Walk Festival, motherfuckers! And this year, they’ve got a music lineup that’s practically ripped from the pages of this here blog.

LBZW 2013 stars three Weird List stalwarts: heavy metal mariachi combo Metalachi, reunited ’80s horror punks Haunted Garage, and why-is-the-lead-singer-a-carrot band the Radioactive Chicken Heads. As if all that wasn’t weirdness enough, they’ve also got monster-themed rockers The Rhythm Coffin, evil clown punks Circus Jerks, and whatever the hell these guys are supposed to be.

Tickets to the festivities are a mere $15 and zombie attire is optional…but why the hell wouldn’t you smear yourself in fake gore before going? Especially if you’re taking the Metro. Nothing keeps the panhandlers away like fake gore. Well, except maybe real gore.

For more info and to purchase tickets, go here.

We’ll play this post out with The Rhythm Coffin’s “Tombstone Twist.” Catchy like ebola, ain’t it? See ya in the LBC.

Metalachi is messin’ with Texas

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I like to make fun of Texas as the land of Dubya and belt buckles the size of license plates, and I don’t intend to give those things up anytime soon. But it’s also the land of Christeene and these guys, so I guess they aren’t all bad.

More proof that Texas isn’t just for gun nuts and cousin-marriers: they seem to have a big ol’ ten-gallon hard-on for Metalachi, the awesome metal mariachi cover band whose praises we have been singing between long swigs of Tecate for some time now. And now Metalachi is gearing up to return the love with a nine-show swing through the Lone Star State. Hide your cheerleaders, Cowboys.

Here are the full dates. By the way, I had no idea you folks out in Lubbock had named a bar in my honor. I hope y’all have plenty of Shiner Bock on hand at all times, cuz you never know when I might drop by for a visit.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 3 – Antone’s, Austin TX
THURSDAY APRIL 4 – Backstage LIVE, San Antonio TX
FRIDAY APRIL 5 – Scoutbar, Houston TX
SATURDAY APRIL 6 – Brewster Street Icehouse, Corpus Christi TX
SUNDAY APRIL 7 – Trees, Dallas TX
WEDNESDAY APRIL 10 – Tricky Falls, El Paso TX
FRIDAY APRIL 12 – Jake’s Backroom, Lubbock TX
SATURDAY APRIL 13 – Clicks, Tyler TX
SUNDAY APRIL 14 – The Lucky Mule, Abilene TX

For those of y’all back here in L.A.: Metalachi will be hosting the third annual Drinko de Mayo party at the Roxy on Friday, May 3rd. Stay tuned for more details on that mess.

Let’s play this out with “Sweet Chayo o’ Mine,” as filmed by yours truly with an iPhone in one hand and a margarita in the other. Watch close and you can spot the moment when I switched hands cuz my arm got tired.

Weird Live Review: Metalachi

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Also: Yes, those are demon skull shinguards. Available at fine metal accessory shops everywhere.

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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.

Watch Metalachi cover Slayer’s “Raining Blood” with Dave fucking Lombardo on drums

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Very high on our list of New Year’s resolutions is “Get our asses to a Metalachi show.” L.A.’s preeminent metal/mariachi mashup band has by all accounts been killing it of late, and they just achieved another career milestone last week when they performed a Slayer cover with an actual member of Slayer: drummer Dave Lombardo, who lent his mighty kick rolls to a south-of-the-border rendition of “Raining Blood” at the Roxy on Sunset last Friday.

Behold the Metalachi mayhem in the clip below. The sound quality ain’t great, and neither is the camera work (especially when the cameraman starts headbanging about midway through—but can you blame him?). But you get the idea.

We will have a live review of these guys soon. Promise. ¡Ándele!

Weirdify Playlist 8: Covers for Kooks

[Note: The above image was, er, borrowed from Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine’s excellent greatest-hits compilation of loungified rap and rock classics, Sunny Side of the Moon. If you’re not familiar with Richard’s stuff, you should go to www.richardcheese.com right now and check it out. Especially because if you do, there’s still a chance he won’t take us to court and/or steal our wives for using his album art without permission. Thanks.]

Nothing announces your weirdness to the world better than a really demented version of a familiar song. It’s like saying, “You know how this song sounded in its original form? We’re the total opposite of that. Or we might just be YouTube whores hoping to score a few extra views with our medley of Lady Gaga songs played on bassoons.* Either way, are we wacky or what?”

Here, then, is a brief Spotify playlist of some of our favorite weird cover songs, from bands that rank high on the Weird List, bands that probably should be on the Weird List, and a few bands that are by no stretch of the imagination weird, but cool enough to include, anyway (you’re welcome, Ben Folds). Obviously, this list only scratches the surface of the vast universe of weird covers, and we’ll probably revisit it at some point. Probably with less Led Zeppelin. Although we make no promises on that.

(*Sadly, The Breaking Winds’ Lady Gaga medley is not available on Spotify and thus, not on this playlist. We’re not made of magic, people!)

1. Laibach, “Sympathy for the Devil.” Taking a familiar song from the classic rock canon and declaiming it like some pretentious dorkwad at a poetry slam is the oldest trick in the weird-cover-tune book (I was tempted to include William Shatner’s “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” arguably the definitive example, but I’m pretty you’ve all heard it). But something about Laibach’s gravelly, Teutonic spin on the Rolling Stones’ old pseudo-Satanic jam makes it sound like the most original idea in the world.

2. Ben Folds, “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Another well-worn cover trick is the painfully white version of a familiar hip-hop/R&B song (see also: The Gourds’ “Gin and Juice,” Jonathan Coulton’s “Baby Got Back,” etc.). In this case, Ben Folds’ version of Snoop and Dr. Dre’s misogynistic anthem stands out for me, mostly because it finds an unexpected core of heartache and melancholy underneath all the posturing. It’s the softer side of gangsta rap.

3. Hurra Torpedo, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Norway’s favorite kitchen appliance rockers give Bonnie Tyler’s ridiculous ’80s power ballad the beating it so richly deserves.

4. Tragedy, “More Than a Woman.” Tragedy do one thing, and they do it well: Hair metal covers of Bee Gees songs. Any questions? Moving on…

5. Metalachi, “Immigrant Song.” Another high-concept cover band, Metalachi do mariachi versions of metal songs. Most of it works better than you might expect—but even when it doesn’t quite work, as on this hilarious Hindenburg of a Led Zeppelin cover, the results are still pretty fantastic.

6. Nouvelle Vague, “God Save the Queen.” If you’ve ever heard one of your favorite ’80s songs transformed into a lilting bossa nova ballad, you’ve heard Nouvelle Vague, a French/English cover band whose versions of  Gen X oldies like “Melt With You” and “Dancing With Myself” have been licensed to death. Their catalog tends to be a little too hipster-wedding-soundtrack for our purposes, but this pretty acoustic Sex Pistols cover is just left-field enough to make Johnny Rotten hurl in his grave. Which, in a way, makes it possibly the most punk-rock Sex Pistols cover of all time.

7. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, “Fire and Rain.” The flipside to the pretty Sex Pistols cover is, of course, a punk-rock cover of a James Taylor song. Me First, a “supergroup” side project featuring members of NOFX, Foo Fighters and the Swingin’ Utters, have run the unexpected-punk-cover concept so far into the ground that they’re now covering Japanese bands, but something about a rockin’ “Fire and Rain” still makes us giggle like Beavis and Butt-Head.

8. Edmund Welles, “Big Bottom.” Yes, this is a Spinal Tap cover played entirely on bass clarinets. And yes, it goes to 11.

9. The Bad Plus, “Barracuda.” We should hasten to point out that The Bad Plus, a power-jazz trio from Minnesota, have done killer instrumental versions of several familiar pop and classic rock tunes. This track, however, is not one of them. Have you lost the singer yet, guys? You have? The jazz gods be praised.

10. Richard Cheese, “Baby Got Back.” With all due respect to Jonathan Coulton’s delightful version of this same Sir Mix-a-Lot classic, we highly prefer Richard Cheese’s lounge lizard take (also, the cover of his best-of album, The Sunny Side of the Moon, was too good not steal for our playlist artwork). And in case you’re noticing a theme between this and “Big Bottom”: Yes, we do like big butts and we cannot lie.

11. Señor Coconut, “Smoke on the Water.” This dude has worked his cha-cha magic on everything from Kraftwerk to Prince. But since we decided to take this playlist in more of a classic-rock direction, nothing says “geriatric DJs spinning classic-rock steez” more than a little Deep Purple.

12. The Moog Cookbook, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” Van Halen played on vintage synths! OK, Van Halen themselves did this on 1984, but there’s still something pretty unsettling about hearing a programmed robot voice intoning, “If you want it, got to plead for it, baby.”

13. Dread Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love.” Possibly the most high-concept tribute band of all time (and yes, we have dropped the ball by not adding them to the Weird List yet), Dread Zeppelin play reggae versions of Led Zeppelin songs, as sung by an Elvis impersonator. Mercy.

14. Tiny Tim, “I Love Rock and Roll.” At the height of his popularity, Tiny Tim turned his quivering falsetto loose on any number of popular songs, from “On the Good Ship Lollipop” to “I Got You, Babe.” And while his falsetto is indeed a marvel, it sounds downright quaint compared to the Tom Jones-like bray he unleashed on Chameleon, an overlooked 1980 oddity that features this amazing version of the song made famous by Joan Jett. Honestly, you don’t have to listen to the whole thing, unless you really want to hear what it sounds like when an aging eccentric bludgeons a song to death as though it’s solely responsible for the decline of his career.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s mix.