SXSW 2013: Café Tacvba @ Stubb’s NPR Music Showcase 03.13

Posted March 14, 2013 in

Despite an annyoing crowd, Cafe Tacvba delivered an experience wholly unique to SXSW. Photo: Alexander Ortega

Was the show inside or outside? Was it day or night?
I made my way to the Stubb's stage, which was in an outside-concert-style scheme, much like the Twilight series. It was nighttime, and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to make it through the line in time to see Café Tacvba, as the Yeah Yeah Yeah's were booked to play next. I made it in with ease, though, and got up front with a packed crowd during their first song, which was a rock n' roll–ranchera hybrid played to easygoing spiritedness from the front of the audience. 

How did you hear about the band?
I heard about Café Tacvba from my friend, Miguel Nieto. Being from Chihuahua, Miguel knows all the ins and outs of rock en español, and so my interest was piqued when I learned that one of the flagship bands of México was playing SXSW.

How was their stage presence?
To be honest, this was my first real, intimate interaction with Cafe Tacvba, so I wasn't quite sure what expect. The band came out to cheers, and they got going on their first song with "professional" energy: They comported themselves like gentleman, which matched the pace and tone of their music. Frontman Rubén Isaac Albarrán Ortega's Spanish-accented English was endearing. He didn't talk too much, but when he did, he elicited cheers from around the large, outdoor stadium in the Stubb's area—he called upon the feminine energy that every person has within them, which leads to creativity; he called for consciousness for the people in the streets of México City and in Chile, the "civic population"; he thanked the mysterious presence of the dead for happiness.

Give a musical equation that describes the band’s sound.
Café Tacvba = (Boom Boom Kid vocals - hardcore) + The Cure + Toots and the Maytals * ESPAÑOL * Morrissey

What was the crowd's reaction?
Not a lot of people seemed to know Café Tacvba, but those who did were swooning for Rubén. Latina girls in the front screamed at him, and, at one point, he waived at them to astonished giggles. There was a Latino cop working the event, singing along to the lyrics that Rubén crooned. The response did not amass the whole crowd, but everyone seemed to appreciate their sound.

Despite an annyoing crowd, Cafe Tacvba delivered an experience wholly unique to SXSW. Photo: Alexander Ortega