Chicano Batman: Not Another Band From East L.A.
On an ordinary Tuesday night the crowd at club Harvard and Stone came together to hear a new Latino sound from L.A. With a simple "We are Chicano Batman," the band took to the brick-backed stage under a soft glowing red light and kicked off the evening by playing two new tunes. "Cool Blessing" is an instrumental track with a funk-meets-psychedelic feel that sounds like a song waiting for a Tarantino film cool enough to showcase it. Next, the band moved into track "Existential Rhymes" which unlike many Chicano Batman songs featured English lyrics in lead singer Bardo Martínez's trademark legato croon.
The overall set proceeded to explore a range of grooves with their appropriate responses from the multicultural audience, from grab-the-one-you-love slow jams to allegro samba interludes and cumbia breakdowns. They played that feel-good music we all want to hear at a good party.
Stand out songs of the evening were "A Hundred Dead and Loving Souls" a track off the 2010 self-titled debut album that has a 1950s "Sleepwalk" feel in Bardo's wah infused guitar soloing. The crowd belted the songs chorus at full volume like a classic oldie: "in the sea of a hundred dead and loving souls." Without missing a beat the band and audience shifted with cumbia interlude "Lizandro" reorienting both to the next set of grooves.
Flowing through their set Carlos Arevalo's demure rhythm guitar, Gabriel Villa's summoning of Bambuco and Sonongo rhythms on drums and Eduardo Arena's bouncy bass lay down the textured canvas to Bardo Martínez's virtuoso paint strokes on the keyboard, guitar and vocals. The grain of Bardo's voice carries longing and a subtle vulnerability. His wah propelled guitar and keyboard riffs musical daggers to the soul that kept the dance going all night. When the party ended, their music remained in our memories. And that name: Chicano Batman. It's unforgettable.