Chicano Batman Adds Latin Flavor to Classic Oldies Sound

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The independent movie house proved to be a great setting for the fearsome foursome as they dished out bilingual lyrics, cumbia-fueled rhythms drenched in funky bass lines, and touches of slick guitar riffs and warbled wah-wah's from Martinez's 1970 Yamaha combo organ. Although the sound setup slightly stifled the group's vocals, the performance was tight, and everyone was on point.

Dance-happy fans filled the theater space well before the group took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. Of course, Chicano Batman came out sporting their trademark frilly, blue tuxedo tops and quickly rolled into "El Frio" and "Cycles of Existential Rhyme" off of their latest album.

By the time they launched into "La Samoana" and "Um Dia Do Sol" off of their self-titled debut, seated patrons had risen to their feet and the crowd hugging the walls were swaying back and forth.

As rockin' as it was soulful, the night played out like a '70s era backyard boogie or junior high school dance. But it was also reminiscent of a Carlos Santana concert, and even a tropicana night club. Martinez commanded the most attention on stage as his fingers danced along his organ keys and he animatedly articulated his lyrics. Drummer Gabriel Villa proved to be equally mesmerizing with his impressive mullet and a persistent cowbell.

The Chicano Batman vibe is everything you'd expect from a group of guys inspired by the likes of Brenton Wood, The Four Tops, Los Angeles Negros, and Los Bukis.

Your parents definitely would have been macking it to Chicano Batman if the band had been around back then, and it's still a beautiful thing to hear today.

Visit the next page for set list and Critic's Notebook

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Anthony Sandoval
Contact: Anthony Sandoval