It’s been eight years since Doña Pancha Fest held their first fringe showcase at a brothel in Tecate, featuring the zebra-costumed Anal Core and Los Nuevos Maevans, whose air-guitar old-school punk jams have become a staple of the event.
“The idea was to create a platform for music projects that no one else would consider inviting,” Guadalajara-via-Tecate visual artist Cristian Franco Martin said in La Catedral del Underground, a music documentary series produced by festival co-organizer Guillermo Estrada. “Who else was going to invite Anal Core to play? That project was one night only. These were more art projects than music projects.”
Over the years, the fest has hopped between venues and, last year, brought Baja to Guadalajara. But while lineups have begun to embrace more musically minded acts, including Trillones, Sonidero Travesura, and Late Nite Howl, a provocative prankster ethos still permeates the gathering.
For instance, Doña Pancha has produced enough fan-made, tongue-in-cheek flyers to fill a coffee-table book. The past few installments have featured awards ceremonies that bestowed a golden record upon Los Nuevos Maevans (which comprises fest founders Martin, Estrada, and Julián González) for “80 million copies NOT sold” and a trophy to Tijuana garage-rockers San Pedro el Cortez for “least listens on the radio.” The Abominable Snowman has even been known to make an appearance on the dance floor.
- Friday, January 9, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
9143 Campo Road,
On January 9, Doña Pancha Fest debuts stateside at the Bancroft with cholo-goth duo Prayers, Batwings, Los Nuevos Maevans, and a rare set from RRV Sound, an experimental noise collaboration of Mexicali movers Rodo Ibarra (Maniqui Lazer), Ruben Alonso (FAX), and Valentín Torres (Vampire Slayer).
“We already have various friends on this side, among them Carlos Quintero of Batwings and Rafael Reyes of Prayers,” says Estrada, now an El Cajon resident. “Because the border is so close, we can take part in the art and music exchange that is happening between California and Baja.”
Keeping with tradition, the Doña Pancha Fest Music Awards will exalt “the best and most bizarre of the underground.”
“It’s going to be heavy,” says Estrada, who can be found performing around town as Kumeyaay shape-shifter Rancho Shampoo, “and the Yeti will come down from the Cerro Sangrado to greet us.”