Wednesday, March 31, 2010


"So, how was Mexico?"

That question has been coming up alot lately, often enough that I figured it was time I stopped putting off publishing this post. Given much of the negative and frankly uninformed press immediately following the festival, it's been important to me that I get this right.


In retrospect, the main failing of many of the articles about MtyMX was simply a lack of perspective, particularly in that they were writing in accepted press style and employing more traditional press methods.

And here is where I say that if you're reading this, odds are I'm not talking about your personal blog or local online publication. Put down that rope, please.

You can hardly fault them for that. After all, they're press, right? Nice people. I made friends with alot of them. I mean, I was there as press too, and accumulating and analyzing "unbiased facts" and stats (think # of buses that were 10+ hours late, # of bands that dropped out, # people dead [0!!!], # of tents broken into [1!]) is a good chunk of what press is usually supposed to do. And yeah, some of the most obvious numbers naturally don't look so hot on paper. After all, it's hard to calculate smiles per capita at an after party.

Once those numbers and impressions are gathered, they have to be put in some context if anything is going to make sense to the reporter, much less the reader. The natural context for MtyMx in most people's mind is "music festival," meaning some large, overblown showcase of really big bands of today and yesteryear that lasts several days, charges criminal prices for bottled water, and has corporate sponsorship out the hey ho. Well guys, the fact is that MtyMx was never meant to be Coachella: Monterrey Edition. It wasn't even meant to be NRML, which I sadly had to miss. MtyMx was a different animal from its inception: utterly DIY, corporate subsidy free, and boldly inclusive.

And realize this: most of the people sent down there by more popular news outlets are not the most seasoned reporters (not that I am) and are by no means used to the difficulties that pop up traveling internationally (I guess I am). Smaller problems that were realistically simple inconveniences were overblown into "organizational failures" and "disasters."


One of the greatest things about the festival was the lack of barriers. Ok, a language barrier was definitely there, but you can thank our underfunded education system and cultural narcissism for that. What I'm talking about though is how bands, organizers, press, "normal people," local kids, and smatterings of other internationals were all hanging out and meshing with few discernible divisions. Example: Dan Deacon was so all over the place eating tacos, talking to people, and giving high fives that he became what one attendee described as "the event's spirit animal." Ok, that attendee was me, but that doesn't make it untrue. Point being, the connections people were making felt palpable. Spending 12+ hours on a bus with 40 other people will do that.


This brings us to what I consider the primary source of the festival's woes: the buses. The delays and no shows and psychotic breaks among the drivers and breaches of contract regarding the state of the buses, etc. (the list goes on) created the scheduling woes that forced most of the attendees and bands that did not attend to decide to do so. Evidence? Nobody that took a Greyhound down had any problems. Thee Oh Sees and a few others had legitimate logistical issues that kept them from coming. I don't blame bands for not wanting to jeopardize the 1st leg of a tour they've been anticipating for months. On the other hand, the bands that were getting flown in that canceled, well that's just stupid. No sympathy for them. Andrew WK managed to show up:
Andrew WK
So why couldn't they? He's at least ten times busier than their lazy asses. Waiting around at borders is a regular part of international travel, so that's not really an excuse either. Expect it next time, guys. Most bands that canceled can now say "Oh, being scared wasn't why we didn't come," but sadly that was a factor for a few.


All press and bands? No, not quite. The fact you could get a press pass by asking nicely might have had something to do with so many people being "press," too. Not that a press pass got you many boons. The one press perk was being able to get onstage, which was cool at first. Once I started to realize all my pictures were of band members' backs, the magic disappeared pretty quickly. After the drinks tickets were gone, everyone was pretty much in the same spot.

The Mexican kids who came out were all sweet, awesome, spoke better English than me, and were totally attached to their respective significant others at the hip. Some of them were saying the 3 day pass was probably priced a bit heavy. That's too bad. Would have liked to have met more of them.

  1. Two people that wandered into the hills surrounding the festival got their stuff stolen. Lesson: oops, don't do that.
  2. Two people had their tent slashed, losing a camera and some clothes. Locals brought back their passports. Lesson: some people suck, but some people don't.
  3. Some guy wandered into the slum with his camera and was told to leave by a man with a shotgun. Lesson: oops, don't do that.
Overall, the people involved in these incidents had great attitudes and were generally poster children for how to not lose your cool in a crisis. As I said before, nobody died.

Best Fwends

So many bands backing out meant that the acts from Mexico got a larger share of the limelight. At the end of the day, that turned out to be good thing. Sure, the Yo Garage scene is a little incestuous and everyone is in everyone else's bands. You can say that about most successful scenes though *COUGH* BK *COUGH* ATX *COUGH*. It's really great there's such a thing as Yo Garage in Monterrey. If every town had a DIY venue or two like that, the world would be a better place. The sense of community was really great and shockingly not cliquey. That blew me away.

Musical highlights are up now. Click for on photos for larger sizes:

Mentira Mentira
Mentira Mentira: if punk is dead, then here is its seriously bad ass ghost.

Jovenes y Sexys
Jovenes y Sexys make really cute, adorable music and are nice people.

Alexico needs to teach the world how to not make a heavily electronics dependent live show a dull, soul stealing experience. New favorite.

Best Fwends
Best Fwends absolutely stole the show on Monday. After seeing them at AWTHUMFETHT V, I can't say I was too surprised.

Das Racist
And hey guys, live rap can actually be really fun! If you don't believe me, then allow me to invite you to Das Racist's next show.

I would have been way more excited about seeing Liars a few years ago, but that's just because I'm a jerk. Their show lived up to all my expectations.

I hear XYX is hanging out in Austin for a bit, so be sure and check them out.

Ringo Deathstarr
Not only did the members of Ringo Deathstarr help me keep my sanity on that long long bus ride, they managed to sound amazing playing at 7 or so in the morning when we finally got to the after party. After setting up their tents in the predawn light, they woke up to play another great set that afternoon. That deserves some sort of medal.

Dan Deacon
I have yet to see a headliner show up Dan Deacon. Two words: mass hypnosis. There were some weird Jungian dynamics happening.

Neon Indian
But that didn't keep Neon Indian from trying. They're pretty good. You may have heard them on the Internet or something.

As one of the coolest things going on in Brooklyn right now, Telepathe did not disappoint, keeping things dark, even in the daylight. On that note, Indian Jewelry was really mind blowing, too. No pic though. My camera does not get along with strobe lights.

banjo or freakout
I'd managed to avoid listening to Banjo or Freakout before I saw them that groggy Sunday afternoon, but I'm glad I did.

Coasting was good, as per every time. Troopers all the way.

Did you know that your favorite summertime beverage shares a name with a really great band? Lemonade are champion human beings.

Ratas del Vaticano
Remember when you were really into hardcore? Was your life an endless series of hooks and breakdowns getting stuck in your head? Ratas del Vaticano might make that happen for you again.

If you want more photos of MtyMx, I made a Flickr set for just that purpose. There's also a Flickr group for MtyMx that features many photographs taken by people who are better at it than me and/or own much nicer cameras.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line/comment. This now concludes ZinBin's coverage/hype of MtyMx.



  1. Maybe the best review I've read! Thanks for the love. I think we met at the festival, right? I think we did, but I didn't ask you your name, or maybe I'm making this up.

    -Cheky (Jóvenes y Sexys)

  2. I'm pretty sure we did. I think we talked about Twitter or something. Anyway, you do great stuff. Let me know if you guys are ever in New York!

  3. I knew it! Haha, I even tweeted about it a couple of days ago:

    Thanks a lot! If things go well, we might go up there later this year.