By Elmer Martinez
Upon arriving at the Auxiliary Art Center for DEMOLICION, Dumpster Tapes’ Latinx artist showcase, I was immediately excited about the amount of brown people in the small gallery-turned-diy-venue. Being a recent transplant from a small town in Northern California I was never a part of a young music loving community of Latinx people and allies. As soon as I approached one of the members of psych rock outfit Bruised outside of the gallery, I was drawn into the inner circle of close friends that were either performing or supporting all of the bands that night.
After exchanging stories of how horrible it can be to get around LA and the current gentrification going on in Chicago neighborhoods, I wandered over to the front of the small, dimly lit stage and watched as Mia Joy opened up the night. Breaking the ice with an intense blend of shoegaze, the young quartet captivated the room with masterful reverb drenched vocals and a wall of sound.
After the set I looked back and saw a packed house at 8:30pm on a Friday night, a not so easy feat that deserves recognition. As I talked excitedly to Alex Fryer, one half of the Dumpster Tapes, I could see why the night was already a success. Fryer is passionate about her work and understands that giving this group of Latinx performers a literal stage will bring a diverse group of people together. This cross-pollination of ethnically and culturally dissimilar crowds serves as a way to strengthen the DIY community as a whole.
The night progressed and many $1 PBR’s and Hamm’s were consumed, the stage glowed a deep red as Bruised began their aural assault. Bodies excitedly moved and the energy in the room was palpable. By the third act, there was barely any room to navigate in the small space as Divino Nino had everyone in the room falling in love with their dreamy brand of Latin American pop.
Spirits were high as RAI played a set almost completely in Spanish. Someone next to me was even asking them to cover Cafe Tacvba (which didn’t happen much to my disappointment. Friends and admirers moved close to the stage as the empowered and unabashedly feminist Cabrona firmly poised themselves for a powerful performance. Cabrona’s (trans: “Bitches”) set encompassed the energy of punk with a definite nod to the stylings of traditional Latin American music by way of Fatima “Fatale” Gomez’ masterful violin lines.
It was a real honor to be a small part of DEMOLICIÓN . Growing up in rural Northern California I never had the privilege of being part of such a strong community of Latinx artists and supporters. I truly felt like I was at an intimate gathering with mis primos and I am eternally grateful to the people at Dumpster Tapes and all of the performers for creating such a special experience.