In a very short time, The Garden Amp has become one of my favorite venues to see live music. With its intimate open-air seating and 650 capacity, there’s not a bad seat in the house, and the vibe there is always chill and conductive for a good time. The only downside might be the early start time of 6 p.m. due to a 10 p.m. curfew, so get there early to find a close parking spot.
Opening the show was a band called Los Bolos, who are actually comprised of various members of the bands FIDLAR and Together Pangea. Los Bolos was never meant to be a real band; they are all friends who got together because of their “collective love of Country Music.” They played a number of laid-back country covers from the likes of Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn, to cow-punk versions of “The Last Caress” by The Misfits and “Suburban Home” by Descendents. As the venue continued to fill, they had a number of the younger attendees dancing and bopping along in the pit.
When The Aquabats came out to take the stage, one could tell that something was indeed different from their usual show. While the band was wearing their trademark superhero costumes underneath, on top, they had on unruly black wigs, eye shadow, and dark goth clothing.
The MC Bat Commander, Christian Jacobs, stepped to the mic looking every bit like Robert Smith with a little smear of red lipstick. He said a soft “thank you” and they busted into “A Forest” from The Cure’s “Seventeen Seconds.”
The “Bats” had described the show as, “The most fun you’ll ever have being sad.” With an obvious love and admiration for The Cure, they played a straight-ahead tribute and sounded great doing so. They made it very hard not to sing every word to tunes such as “In Between Days,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Love Song.” Before closing their set with a rousing rendition of “Just Like Heaven,” The Bat Commander announced, “We love The Bronx.”
By the time Mariachi El Bronx came on stage, the crowd was ready to party. Looking quite dapper in their black and white mariachi outfits with bright red ties, someone yelled out “Ay ay ya yay” and they kicked it off with “48 Roses,” much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd.
Living in Southern California your whole life, one can’t help but develop a love and appreciation for mariachi music and it was evident The Bronx did as well. Trumpets and a violin never sounded sweeter. The music sounds as genuine and authentic as any I’ve heard. Since this was the 10-year anniversary celebration, they continued by playing the entire 2011 self-titled album, including classics like “Revolution Girl” and “Norteno Lights.” They finished the show with songs from their first album including “Cell Mates,” “Litigation,” and closed with “Clown Powder.”
All in all, a great night of music, with three bands stepping out of the box and doing something different
for all the right reasons; a love of the music which inspired these musicians in the first place.