Traditionally, a foundry is a place where hardened metal castings are made. Last night I walked into the Foundry on First a wad of Play-Doh, and walked out a hardened rock 'n' roll concertgoer that my angry inner 19-year-old self would have been proud of.
In short, Mexico's volatile rock-rap group Molotov put on one helluva show.
It was a unique scene for Phoenix. Hundreds of progressive, mostly Mexican young adults descended upon downtown without a single protest sign. But there was a message being relayed, nonetheless, a sort of collective middle finger to the establishment that only the Molotov vernacular can get across.
Over the years the quartet have made a career out of rocking the shit out of crowds and boom boxes with aggressive guitar riffs, funky ass bass lines and charged lyrics driven by political climates and immigration issues. For obvious reasons, they've often drawn parallels to Rage Against the Machine, a band that is an integral part of The Sound Strike coalition boycotting Arizona in light of the anti-immigrant law SB1070.
The two bands share seemingly similar stances on the issue, but Arizona's racist law didn't keep them from stopping here -- it charged the band's set with a fierce energy, and the show was one unlikely to be forgotten soon.
Local ska/punk trio Fayuca took the stage promptly at 8:30 and got the venue going with a quick 30-minute jaunt. They made the most out of their time with a tight set that saw each of the guys flex their considerable skills. Front man Gabo showed off his pipes with a rich voice that soared over the music and shredded his guitar. Sam kept the rhythm grooving with his low-hanging bass and effortless wrist slaps, while Rafael kept the timing down beating the skins. Together they put out a cool sound that combines their reggae-punk core with Latin ska flavor.
They mixed up the tempo in their set but managed to finish strong at the end of each song. Although the guys were energetic and enthusiastic, it took some 20 minutes for a pit to form and it was pretty short-lived. It seemed the crowd was saving everything for the Molotov crew. I'm looking forward to watching these guys play a full set next time.
Fans finally got what they wanted as the four friends took the stage wearing matching jean vest/jackets.
Wasting no time they launched into a funky assault, unleashing their dual basses and power riffs on "Apocalipshit." It set a breakneck pace that got the crowd jumping and circling in mere minutes. It would be a while before anyone could trek safely through the Foundry's belly. Keeping it heavy they quickly followed with "Amateur," a slow, heavy hitting remake of Falco's 1985 hit, "Rock Me Amadeus."
Most of the heavy moshing took place early during Molotov classics; guys grit their teeth and girls gingerly galloped while the crowd sang hooks like, "Chingo yo, chingas tu, chinga tú madre."
(Note: Now here's the thing. Some of these lyrics don't exactly translate directly into English, so I'm not going to get into explaining, "why would they say such a thing." A lot of the lyrics are slang terminology or tongue-in-cheek humor so it doesn't quite get the point across to just look up definitions. If there's anything you need to know about Molotov songs it's that they're aggressive, sexual, and unabashedly crude. As our parents would say, que groseros.)
Aside from the songs themselves the guys fuel the mayhem with their own energy and on-stage presence. It's almost impossible to call any one of them the front-man -- every member is constantly in motion. Each member shares duties on vocals, and they all switch instruments. For the purpose of identification let's just say that vocalist Tito Fuentes started on guitar and was flanked by Mickey "Huidos" Huidobro and Paco Ayala on bass, while "El Gringo Loco" Randy Ebright manned the drums. The band is made up of seriously badass musicians.
While most everyone sang along to just about every song with the same amount of ferocity, the crowd was at it's loudest during, "Frijolero." Instead of targeting each other, moshers locked arms and belted out, "No me digas beaner, Mr. Puñetero, te sacaré un susto por racista y culero. No me llames frijolero, pinche gringo puñetero." ("Don't call me beaner, Mr.Jerkoff, I'll give you a scare for being a racist asshole. Don't call me beaner, fucking gringo jerkoff.") Despite the colorful language, the band excells at insightful commentary on US-Mexico relations, drug running, and immigration.
The rest of the night basically played out like a greatest hits set that satisfied the staunchest fans and Molotov newcomers alike.
Crowd favorites included most songs off of ¿Dónde Jugarán las Niñas? and the "Bohemian Rhapsody" inspired, "Rap, Soda y Bohemia." The guys wrapped up with "Perra Arrabalera" before succumbing to chants of culero, culero, culero, and finally playing "Puto."
Viva Mexico, cabrones!
Last Night: Molotov at the Foundry on First
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The Crowd: Puro nacos y fresas.
Personal bias: I'm pretty sure my first Molotov concert was also my first mosh pit.
Overheard in the Crowd: It is not a good idea to take a beer in there.