Our good friend Amylulita of Nacotheque filled me on a good show going on at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn last week featuring Puerto Rican indie “punkish” band Davila 666. Thanks to Amylulita’s efforts I was able to interview the guys before the show and hope to have a video segment feature on them up soon.
This is the 3rd Puerto Rican band I’ve interviewed in the last two months, having interviewed La Virgen del Pozo and Tropienzo in August after their show in Medellin, so I’m starting to get somewhat of a picture of the Puerto Rican punk and indie music scene without even visiting the island (I did visit a few years ago, but well before working on the documentary “Punktology”).
Despite Davila having “666” in their name, they are a pretty innocent looking and friendly bunch of chaps (or maybe they were just drunk?), so I’m assuming the inclusion of the number 6 has something to do with they have 6 members in their band rather than some sort of ironical tribute to the darker side of life.
Indeed, when these guys took the stage it was full of energy and bodies. Lets see 3 guitarists, a drummer, a lead singer and a back up vocalists alternating between a tambourine and maracas. At any given time there were 5 vocalists singing along. And Carlos, one of the founding members and the lead singer, sang with plenty of reverb so the sound was rich and full.
They’ve self described their sound as Menudo on lots of drugs and you know what that is pretty damned accurate. And while I don’t see any potential Ricky Martins in the bunch (not necessarily a bad thing), there could be another cool mo fo artist like “Robi Draco Rosa” in the bunch.
As I said, the sound is rich and full and extremely melodic. The guys are good and, at the risk of sounding stereotypical (i.e. all Puerto Ricans are musical, etc.), very natural musicians. They are very comfortable being on stage and why shouldn’t they be? They’ve already toured extensively having opened for major acts like “Coheed & Cambria”, toured North America including Mexico extensively and they were headed on a 8 or 10 country European tour the next day. Ironically, they’ve never toured South America yet, despite their songs being almost 100% in Spanish.
Now I wouldn’t exactly call “Davila 666” a punk band BUT they do have punk music influences listing folks like “Iggy Pop & the Stooges”, “The Velvet Underground” and “New York Dolls” as their influences. They also mention a legendary Peruvian rock pioneers from the 1960s, “Los Saicos” as a major early influence. Also in the mix is some “Ronnie Spector” and I believe it as their sound had a definite “wall of sound” influence to it.
Listening to their music takes you back in time and maybe to another place (maybe Britain ala 1960’s or 70’s), but alas it’s 2010 and we were in Brooklyn, NYC and hipsters of all stripes, Latin, Black, Asian, White and everything in between were shimmying to Davila. It was fairly equally balanced between males and females and Vice TV was there taping the band, so I guess these guys have definitely gone big time when you consider they are an indie band from a tiny island better known for Reggaeton music, Vieques protest and romantic vacations.
With the savvy these guys exhibited both on stage and in our interview, I wouldn’t be too surprised if these guys end up on national TV soon on the Today Show, David Letterman or that ilk. If you think that statement is inconsistent for a punk band remember that artists like “Mike Ness”, “Rancid” and “Against Me” have all played late night, network TV but more importantly as I said before, these guys are not exactly a hardcore punk band but somehow I think that suits them just fine. They seemed really comfortable in their own skin and not really hell bent on definitions and comparisons.
Opening for Davila was “Vermillion Sands” from Italy which threw in a little rockabilly and Johnny Cash influence, from a guitar strumming, sultry female lead singer. We’ve had insight into the psychobilly scene with our interview last summer with “Evil Devil” so I thought it was pretty cool to take in some good, old fashioned rockabilly from Italy as well.
And first on tap for the night was a very cool New Jersey punk band band, a quartet named “Liquor Store” who quite frankly played my kind of simple, hard driving punk rock that more appeals to my taste. The more I listened to Liquor Store the more I liked them and I checked their myspace page and really got into some of these songs there, Check em out too and see what you think. I’m not going to try and describe their music here today as I hope to have a little flipcam video up for you later in the week, so check back for more on this band.
Speaking of Flipcam below is a flipcam video from Davila 666 at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn in case you haven’t had a chance to sample the guys yet.
Also, if that doesn’t give you enough HERE IS A LINK to an article from “Remezcla Music” magazine as well.