Tuesdays don’t usually have much going for them. It’s just a boring, mostly ignored day of the week you pretty much just try to get through. I don’t care for Tuesdays, unless of course there is an amazing show to attend that makes you want to dance like it is Friday night.
On March 28th the Music Savage gang, and a few hundred of our friends, had a particularly fantastic Tuesday because we had all day to anticipate an evening of soulful, Latino grooves with Los Angeles band Chicano Batman. The band is currently on tour in support of their fantastic new album, Freedom is Free, which is simply made to be experienced live… and holy smokes did they play the hell out of it!
More importantly, for those lucky enough to be attendance, the band were feeling pretty good about being there as well and the quintet was ready to get the crowd moving. The tour had kicked off in Seattle on February 3rd and it seemed that the couple of weeks of playing in front of eager fans had everyone in high spirits. I’m not playing favorites here (OK I am) but I’m pretty sure the Sinclair crowd were the most excited. After all, it is hard to get a Boston area audience to not act like they are too cool to dance like nobody is watching, but it didn’t seem hard for Chicano Batman.
Let’s talk about this set shall we. Kicking off the evening wonderfully with, “Angel Child,” the band brought on members of the opening act 79.5 to provide the angelic backing vocals, and while the song is great on the record, played live it takes on a new level of soulful swagger. With three fantastic albums to their name Chicano Batman has enough material to keep us all going strong to the wee hours of the night. “Cycles of Existential Rhyme,” from the 2014 album of the same name, worked its magical rhythm as lead singer Bardo Martinez moved back and forth from guitar and keys like a true showman, and bassist Eduardo Arenas providing a steady beat and killer moves.
With the one two punch of “La Samoana,” from their 2010 self-titled debut album, followed by the new hit song, “Friendship (Is a Small Boat In A Storm),” it was really something special to watch a group of talented musicians clicking perfectly together and creating a sound that pretty much dares you to stand still. The women of 79.5 were on stage for most of the night providing vocals for, “Freedom Is Free,” the aforementioned,”Friendship (Is a Small Boat In A Storm),” and the silky smooth, “Black Lipstick.” Ending the night with an incredible encore that consisted of fan favorite, “Itotiani,” the audience grooved along with glee knowing that we had all been a part of something special. This particular Tuesday had won us over
Brooklyn’s 79.5 and LA’s Sad Girl were along for the ride on this leg of the tour and while both bands had very different styles they kicked off the night in fine fashion. Sad Girl started off the evening with a collection of high-power surf rock songs from the band’s many EPs and singles, including their latest Vol. 3 Head to the Mountains. While Sad Girl is steeped in Southern California big wave sound they also bring a unique seventies guitar style mixed with a sixties Spectoresque girl-group vibe to the stage.
79.5 brought a funky-soul-psychedelia sound that was so tight it was hard to believe they started in 2012 and have only been together as a 6-piece since 2015. Take three amazing vocalists creating harmonies sharp enough to slice through a tin can and still cut a tomato with precision, mix that with a flute/saxophone player, and wrap it around a funky disco beat you have the makings for a fantastic set Really great stuff, be sure to check them out. 79.5’s forthcoming full length, Predictions will be out soon so be on the lookout.
As of this writing, Chicano Batman have been added to the already stellar Newport Folk Festival lineup and will be playing Saturday, July 28th at the Fort. Another reason to join the Music Savage Crew for our favorite weekend of the year. The band also just announced even more tour dates to their schedule so you really have no excuse to miss them live! Tickets and more info are available at chicanobatman.com
Here’s some great photos of the amazing night of music taken by the one and only Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography.