The Regent Theater in Los Angeles hosted the yearly underground metal festival known as Show Your Scars. This year’s lineup was no exception to the extreme lineup of bands ranging from local acts to the more popular bands. Some of the bands that played were death metal bands Exhumed and Repulsion which made their only appearance for the year at this festival. To no surprise, the event sold out ahead of time and so it was guaranteed to be a great and crazy time. For this review, I will focus on the tour that headlined the show which was Pinata Protest, The Casualties, and Brujeria.
At first glance, a band called Pinata Protest is hard to imagine exactly what they sound like. Once you see the band, you will see their singer comes out wearing a Mexican hat and plays an accordion. Luckily, the band is exactly what you think. They’re a heavy metal/punk band blended with accordion to sound like a traditional Mexican band with speed. A little strange for new listeners, but if you’re open minded, you’ll find yourself dancing, moshing, and headbanging to their music. The band members themselves would run around and jump on stage just so they could join fans in all the fun. Pinata Protest played songs like Vato Perron (“Cool Guy”), Life on the Border, La Cucaracha (“The Cockroach”, traditional Mexican song), and even a cover of Tragos Amargos (“Sour Drinks”) from famed Mexican accordion player, Ramon Ayala. All done very well with the band’s style of Tex-Mex punk. The band was very fun overall and is further proof that metal and punk doesn’t need to always be serious and you can have fun with it.
The Casualties are no strangers to the punk and even the metal scene. They are one of the longest-standing punk bands since their inception in 1990. Just about every fan of punk will tell you that they are a fan of The Casualties. It was very odd seeing a punk band at a metal festival, but plenty of punks could be seen amongst the crowd and plety of metalheads are also fans of The Casualties.
The Casualties took the stage and right away, the crowd went into a frenzy and a mosh pit formed in classic punk rock style. The band members have everything that makes a punk band, punk. Mohawks, fast music, ripped pants, and of course, alcohol on stage. Frontman Jorge Herrera would regularly speak to the audience and mess with them just for the laughs. The Casualties played plenty of old material to keep their fans happy. Tracks like Chaos Punx, Made in N.Y.C, For the Punx, and Ugly Bastards all kept the fans going with mosh pits and crowd surfers were also keeping security on guard. Even with 40 minutes on stage, The Casualties delivered a crushing set in true punk style that left plenty of empty beer cups on stage and on the floor. The fans already looked tired and beat up, but the best was yet to come.
Brujeria (Spanish for “Witchcraft”) is a death metal/deathgrind band from Los Angeles even tho they show a lot of Mexican heritage. The band was formed in 1989 and has since only released four albums with the newest album released on September 2016 titled Pocho Aztlan (“Wasted Promised Land”), their first new album in 16 years. Plenty of fans were seen in the audience sporting the band’s merch so you knew they were ready.
Brujeria came out and started the show with Brujerizmo (“Witchcraft”) from their 2000 album of the same name. Right away, you could make out the aggressiveness of the band’s music with death metal growls from singer Juan Brujo. One of the first things you’ll notice is how most of the band members wear bandannas across their face as if they were drug lords hiding from the FBI/police. The band also consists of band members from other well-known bands. Their drummer is Nicholas Barker formerly of British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth and Norwegian symphonic metal band, Dimmu Borgir. Their current bassist is Shane Embury from British grindcore legends, Napalm Death. Past members include Jeff Walker from British death metal/grindcore band Carcass, Dino Cazares from Fear Factory, and Billy Gould from Faith No More. Brujeria sings all their songs in Spanish, but even then fans were going absolutely crazy with a very aggressive mosh pit going on and crowd surfers happening non-stop. The band’s lyrics consist of Satanism, anti-Christianity, Sex, immigration, narcotics smuggling, and politics. Brujeria continued to deliver a brutal performance with tracks like El Desmadre (“The Excess”), Seis, Seis, Seis (“Six, Six, Six”), Viva Presidente Trump! (“Long Live President Trump”), and Marcha de Odio (“March of Hate”). Juan Brujo had no problem showing his hate for President Trump as a man dressed as him with a mask came on stage while one of Trump’s speeches about building a wall was played over the speakers. He was quickly silenced and chased off stage by members whom were wielding their signature machetes. The show was coming to an end and so Brujeria started playing their best songs. Matando Gueros (“Killing White People”) is the band’s most famous song and of course due to the nature of the title and lyrics, has caused controversy with the band. This song drove the audience absolutely insane and the mosh pit became even more violent and multiple crowd surfers were making their way to the front of the stage. People near the front were surely getting the pummeling of their life. Brujeria was enjoying themselves and would thrust and slice their machetes in the air and on the stage itself. To end the show, Brujeria played a very comical song called Marijuana which is actually a parody cover of the popular hit song, Macarena. The lyrics were changed to reflect the lifestyle of being a stoner and is actually a really fun song to sing along to. The band finished up the song and then left the stage. This festival as a whole was an incredible night and surely everyone went home satisfied, happy, and drunk.