Maybe the best sign that Ensenada’s music scene is starting to get active is that its world-famous strip joint just shifted gears.
Drummer Jehovah Boggeano says Anthony’s was around way before he moved to Ensenda at age one in 1978. The downtown cantina has been known for decades for its gorilla out front and its gregarious female staff inside.
“They’ve been known for having strippers forever,” says Boggeano. “Now, for the first time, they just started having rock bands.”
He says his Los Implacabless have been playing two-tone ska in Ensenada for five years.
"La Cola Song — Sentimental"
...performed live by Los Implacabless
“Everyone else in the band lives in Ensenada except me,” says Boggeano. “I couldn’t find work down there so I moved to Tijuana. I’m a bus driver for MTS.”
He says Ensenada bars now showcase rock as much as banda or cumbia.
“There’s about 25 bands down here now. There’s a gig or two every weekend. It was never like that in the past.”
Boggeano says the scene is popping, thanks to a few muy popular local bands.
“The Mutant Beans [rock/hip-hop] moved here from Sinaloa. Then there’s the punk band the Hipogrifos. Their name doesn’t translate but their logo is an eagle with a bong. Pokadiscos [Latin ska] always pack the house.”
Ensenada, says Boggeano, has flourished thanks to the El Euro Bar and Abel’s Bar, which tap into a DIY spirit.
“Basically, every band down here sets up their own shows with a bar owner. As long as you bring in people, you can come in and set up a show with other bands, and you keep the door.”
Boggeano grew up in Ensenada around cumbia and banda music. (“But I am a rocker. I was never interested in Latin music.”) He left Ensenada at 21 to attend the Musicians Institute in L.A. for a year. (“I had to drop out to repay the student loan.”) After gigging in L.A. with indie-rock band Pastilla, he returned to Ensenada.
After a stint in rock/hip-hop group Cuatro Diablo, he joined Los Implacabless. “I had never played ska before.”
Los Implacabless, which plans to release their third album next year, have toured throughout Mexico and opened for headliners Wisecracker (Germany), Percance (Costa Rica), Rabanes (Panama), and Molotov (Mexico).
“Ska comes and goes but it’s pretty big right now. You can go to a ska show in Mexico City and there’ll be 5000 or 6000 kids.”
Los Implacabless appears Sunday at Abel’s Bar with fellow Ensenada ska band Pazabrozo. “It’s a free show, but they are collecting a blanket or clothes for people in need at the door.”