Davila 666 Last Night at The Yucca Tap Room

Davila 666
Yucca Tap Room
Tuesday, March 22

One of the great things about rock & roll is its lack of language barrier. I don't need to speak any of the many languages of Nigeria to know that the Nigeria 70 comps rule -- don't need to learn Japanese in order to turn Boris up too loud -- or understand German to zone out to Amon Duul II

Puerto Rican bad-boys Davilla 666 proved this point last night, cruising into the Yucca Tap Room to deliver a 40-minute set of ungodly amplified garage rock. "We are not Mexicans," they joked with the crowd while trying to get the bass amp working, routinely checking the mic by turning up the accompanying echo pedal and letting out a delayed and endlessly repeating howl and responding to the crowd's Spanish jeers.  

Openers Plainfield Butchers, fresh off a write-up from our own Michael Lopez, opened the show with their Buzzcocky pop-punk. Featuring KWSS DJ Wesley Allen, the Butchers played a quick set -- quick sets were the theme of the night in typical punk rock fashion -- "Nothing to Lose, Nothing to Prove" was a highlight, but Allen's sweat drenched shirt betrayed conflicted intentions; he was sure working like he had something to prove.

R&B bashers The Booze followed. Looking a little like they had rolled off the Mitch Ryder assembly line, they put on a solid show. It's hard to grind the guys for being too derivative, that seems to be the whole point, but a few acknowledgments to the last 40 or so years off popular music wouldn't be entirely inappropriate. Their cover of "Cowboy Song" slayed though, and combined with a cup of the Yucca's finest coffee, it helped shake me from my sleepy state.

The Biters followed, and as my friend Mike pointed out, they sounded like they wanted to be The Sweet and looked like they wanted to be Suzi Quatro. They were good, with lots of duel guitar solos and poppy choruses, but they also seemed entirely too bitchy for a bunch of "bad dudes," incessantly whining about the monitors, and at one point vaguely threatening the sound guy if he didn't fix it.

I was more than ready for Davila 666 at this point, who stumbled through setting up awkwardly, as someone prematurely axed the house music. Once bass amp issues were sorted and guitars were tuned, the Davila machine turned on and didn't turn off. The band blasted through tunes from their self titled debut and their new one, Tan Bajo.

It's hard to describe what exactly makes the band so unique. They don't do anything new so much as they do old things really well, injecting 60s freak-beat, chicha, and American garage rock with Black Flag insistence. They sounded as at home covering The Nerves' "Hanging on the Telephone" (you may know the Blondie cover) as they did with their own material.  

"Basura," was the night's best song, with all six members hollering the chorus in discordant unison. It's the sort of song that sounds like it could have been a hit in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or Aughts, not retro so much as classic.

Critics Notebook

Last Night:
Davila 666 at the Yucca Tap Room

Personal Bias: I sometimes DJ alternating Tuesdays at the Yucca, but was more than happy to hand this night over.

The Crowd: All manner of rock & rollers -- leather jackets, wallet chains, big ass sideburns.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Look at this, just like a bunch of Puero Ricans "working," five dudes standing around watching one guy try to do something." -- A good-natured joke from one of Davila's Hispanic fans.

Random Notebook Dump: "Yes! 'Cowboy Song!'"       

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.