This past weekend was an extraordinary one for lovers of independent music, especially those who love Rock en Español. We had the privilege of hosting the great and talented Elis Paprika and The Black Pilgrims (Guadalajara, MX) as they wrapped up their U.S/ Canada tour. We performed two nights together, first in Phoenix and the next day in Tucson. As fun as these shows were, they had their ups and downs. The venues we played were nice enough to help us host this event and Rockeros VIP (online radio with over a million followers) helped us promote it. Unfortunately, the general public isn’t really used to seeing independent Latin bands in Arizona anymore. A lot of people who frequent these Latin venues want to listen to the same boring 90’s Mana covers which we strive to break away from. There are new generations of Rock en Español bands that are not getting the acknowledgment and support that the bands in the 80’s and 90’s did (at least here in the states). Elis Paprika was very wise in pointing this out to me while we had a carne asada at my house before the show. She said, “It’s not the people’s fault they don’t know about new bands; the media has forced our genre of music to go underground again.” Elis used to be on a record label back when she started her career in music fourteen years ago. But in recent years, she has been fighting to keep touring, recording and doing what she does as an independent artist (she does very well for herself).
The first night, we made the mistake of having her headline. We opened up the show and by the time she and her band went up onstage, a lot of people began to leave. Which proved my point that the general public doesn’t have the patience to enjoy something they’ve never seen or heard before. This is really hurtful to our scene because it discourages venues from wanting to hire independent bands. It stops touring bands from wanting to play in Arizona. This also discourages younger artists from wanting to start a band and make music. But when you do what you love and love what you do, you have to fight to make sure you can keep doing it.
The next day in Tucson we did things a little differently. We had our friends from Nogales, AZ, Mono Sound, open up the event. Then Elis Paprika played and we headlined. This seemed to work out better for everyone. A lot of the people who came out to the show were there to see us and Mono Sound. Having Elis play second was just the cherry on top for everyone. The venue was pretty full and a lot of people I talked to really enjoyed Elis Paprika’s set.
So for those of you who did stick around for her set, we are eternally grateful and thank you for supporting independent artists! Hosting Elis Paprika was a blast and we will definitely be bringing her back over the summer. So, if you missed her set this time around, make sure to catch her later this year.