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Jeff Tweedy

Y La Bamba

May 02, 2018


9 p.m. on the first hot and humid Tuesday of the year, Bathtub Cig, Gully Boys, and Y La Bamba came together to provide the proper ambiance for an Icehouse dance party. Prior to the show beginning, friendly conversations and amazing outfits scattered amongst the room in a warm, gentle hum, preparing for Bathtub Cig to take the stage.

Bathtub Cig, a relatively new band from Minneapolis, consists of four members, each amazingly in tune with one another to create a perfectly layered cake of dreamlike electronic pop. Each transition from song to song throughout their set was concise and purposeful. The ebb and flow of hard hitting notes to melancholy lyrics, as well as the chemistry of each member to one another put the entire crowd in a trance; a perfect preparation for the rest of the night. (It was also mentioned that their first single should be released today - I would definitely recommend checking them out.)

Gully Boys, a trio of ladies also heiling from Minneapolis, brought a whole new energy to the crowd. Hard hitting and punk rock, Gully Boys put on a performance that is raw and fun - not only for the crowd, but seemingly for themselves as well. Intricate drum fills and tight harmonizations (which I felt was perfectly executed on their performance of the song “Greasy”) really showcased their passion for their music. Lyrics and instrumentals alike, seeing Gully Boys is a very emotional, powerful, and intense experience.

At the end of this (now rainy) Tuesday night, Y La Bamba climbed onto the stage to play their first show of a month long tour. A loop of ethereal reverb seeped over the room, and the anticipation from the crowd was thick in the air. Luz Elena Mendoza, Y La Bamba frontwoman, grew up in San Fransisco by her parents, who were raised in Mexico. Her identity shines through the music not only in the literal sense via the marriage she creates lyrically with the English and Spanish language, but also through the unifying elements of community, celebration, and history that the artist and crowd can experience together. Throughout the set the pace would quicken, (beginning with “Libra”, when the shakers would appear in hand) and the entire crowd would join into their own rendition of salsa-esque dance moves, perfectly synced with the sounds of the numerous forms of percussion, guitar, and keys occurring on stage. Following the encore, Mendoza would play independently her song “Ojos Del Sol”, closing the set on a note of intimacy, before heading off stage.

Each person battles emotions revolving around the self, community, and fragility seemingly independently, but Y La Bamba expels these emotions plainly through harmonies and song. It was an incredible experience to witness and to feel a part of such an moving performance overall.

Next time they’re in town, I’ll see you there.

Mary Radford