Temblor Brewing Co. is going all out with its upcoming Festival El Cerrito II on March 30. Transforming into a temporary 18-and-over cantina for a day, the local brewery will serve up street tacos and $4 pints of the festival’s namesake, the Mexican-style lager El Cerrito, and feature live music and the obligatory mariachi group. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill mariachi group; it's El Mariachi Manchester, a mariachi tribute to 1980s music icons The Smiths and Morrissey.
You don’t have to dig deep to see they share the same merry melancholy that’s earned Morrissey the nickname, “The Pope of Mope,” even if one is morosely British and the other opulently Mexican. But El Mariachi Manchester’s most important component is that they’re equally effective as a tribute act as they are a mariachi band. When they bust out a classic Smiths’ song like “Girlfriend in a Coma,” or “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get,” you’re struck by just how well the songs and their sad subject matter work with mariachi. Lead singer “Moisessey” (Moises Baiquero) strikes the perfect balance between full commitment and tongue-in-cheek. They’re the real deal.
Also on the bill is Bakersfield native Andrés, aka Andres Aparicio, whose career has been gaining traction on the strength of his excellent album, “Heroes, Villains, And All That Jazz.”
With a burgeoning schedule, it’s tough for Aparicio to put together a proper hometown show, which makes his upcoming appearance all the more special.
“I'm super stoked to play my hometown again,” Aparicio said. “(I'm) excited to perform for some friends and family that haven't seen me in a while, as well as my Central Cali fans and supporters. Also, beer and tacos! Don't threaten me with a good time. Actually, please do.”
Aparicio recently released a fun video for his song “Spanish Mami,” which has the troubadour dressed up as Antonio Banderas’ deadly man-in-black from the 1995 film “Desperado.” There’s also a neat, minor thematic coincidence between both the acts: “Desperado” is the sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s micro-budget 1992 debut “El Mariachi.”
“Growing up,” Aparicio said, “doing school theater, wearing costumes and portraying characters in a satirical manner was always really fun and entertaining to me. When I approach a video, I brainstorm fun ideas that involve costumes and parodies, especially of comic book characters or fun movies and TV. I've done everything from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ to ‘That 70's Show’ to ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Desperado" in my music video catalog. Why make a music video if I'm not gonna wear a costume, right?”
“I love making silly videos that make people laugh, so the goal was to have that accompany a song I felt was very strong on my latest album.”
No one needs to wait until May to get in touch with their inner Cinco de Mayo at Temblor's all-day fiesta. Western Medicine and the stellar DJ JoseX, who are each making waves of their own, round out the bill. Also, the event is free to attend, so like Aparicio said: “Tacos and beers! Need I say more?”
Festival El Cerrito II, with El Mariachi Manchester, Andrés, Western Medicine and DJ JoseX, 6 to 11:45 p.m. March 30, Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. Suite 200. Free.
No trouble with these Troubadours
Speaking of troubadours, longtime local rockabilly mainstay Caleb O’Neal, better known as Loner, and his fellow Troubadour, drummer Alfredo “Freddie” Moreno, will be having a busy weekend.
On Saturday, the pair, who perform as Loner & His Troubadours, will celebrate Moreno’s birthday at the Rustic Rail, which just has the perfect aesthetic to catch a rockabilly show. Trains and long stretches of pavement? Just outside the hustle and bustle of the city? Rev your engines.
Also playing will be SoCal’s Calling Kings whose style of rockabilly has a bit of a twist. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had rockabilly, psychobilly, horrorbilly and even gothabilly. Now please welcome metalbilly. Don’t let the description fool you: Lead singer and guitarist CJ can wail like Chris Cornell and shred like Dimebag Darrell and it actually works. It’ll be cool to see them pull it off live. Bring earplugs.
Then on Sunday, Loner and Freddie will support Detroit’s hot-rod heathens the Koffin Kats, who will no doubt bring their high-energy high jinks to all-ages Jerry’s Pizza. (Audience discretion is advised.)
The Kats are dark, they’re energetic and their sound is pure psychobilly Michigan-nitro. Their 2017 album, “Party Time in the End Times,” is perfect listening for the pompadour and creeper set. Expect the basement at Jerry’s to rev hot and bleed sweat and motor oil. The admission? An appropriate lucky $13. You’ve been warned.
Koffin Kats with Loner & his Troubadours, 7 p.m. Sunday, Jerry’s Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave. $13.
Alfredo “Freddie” Moreno’s Birthday Bash with Calling Kings, Loner & his Troubadours and Hour 13, 8 p.m. Saturday, Rustic Rail, 147 E. Norris Road. Free admission.
J_Red Album Release Party for “Red Son,” with special guests Black John Jay, DJ Matt Holguin and Wet Robot, 9 p.m. Saturday, Sandrini’s Public House, 1918 Eye St. $5.
Local rapper J_Red’s latest album, “Red Son” (nice Superman riff), is a solid release, sonically and thematically; making no apologies in courting the geek culture fanworld that he so obviously populates. He’ll be hosting a release party for it this Saturday at Sandrini’s.
J_Red goes deep with his references including "The X-Files” (“Krycek The Ratboy”), “Tron” (Flynn’s Arcade”) and even one-time Thor Beta Ray Bill (“Beta Ray Bills”) without them ever truly feeling random. At times, he even uses them as analogies for his social conscience, which is unapologetically forward-thinking. When he says, “Love is what I know like my name is Han,” (“Alex Delarge Vs. The World,” my favorite track) that’s no punchline. That’s a declaration.
It’s not all empowerment and commentary, however. “Christmas Vacation” describes indulging in an entirely different type of powder than snow. Needless to say, audience discretion advised. Again.
Mariachi and The Smiths. Heavy metal and rockabilly. Fandom and hip-hop. It's a brave new world, indeed.