Monday, April 21, 2008

Where to Begin, 2

One consequence of this generally junky winter has been a near utter lack of nights out. Finally, the other weekend, we hired a sitter, determined to do something--anything.

Now, a sitter is a luxury, but the knowledge that we’re in New York and any given night has a multitude of fun things on offer is a luxury, too. After a courtship in Boston, we spent six years in rural Indiana where we were pretty dependent on the occasional traveling act. If some troupe came through town, you went or you waited till what came by next month.

So, anyway, we got a sitter. Now, what to do? I passed the buck to my spouse and he found a write up of Pistolera, a New York-based band combining mariachi with rock and left wing politics. The write-up was great:
The local group Pistolera, which is led by the guitarist and singer Sandra Lilia Velásquez, includes a propulsive accordionist named Maria Elena, a drummer named Ani Cordero (who is Velásquez’s cousin, and was once in the colorful rock band Man or Astro-man?), and one guy, the bassist Inca B. Satz. The foot-stomping band favors the fashions of the Mexican Revolution and has a winning sound that’s equal parts ranchera and indie pop.

They were playing at the Knitting Factory, where we’d never been. At $15 a pop, the price was right, too. We were in.

We went to Walker’s for a burger beforehand. It’s an ancient Tribeca Tavern, a lot like the White Horse (the Dylan Thomas bar in the West Village), and the evening was off to a promising start. The burgers were delicious and the beer hit the spot.

We found the Knitting Factory, got past the velvet ropes without any guff, picked up our tickets, and went in. The club is in a big iron building with multiple stages on different floors (nothing, even a big thing, is all that wide in New York), wide hallways, and not merely as messy as most clubs. Very Tribeca. So far, we felt pretty o.k.--we’d even arrived a full 45 minutes after the night’s start time. But then--cue the sound of a needle scratching across a record--we learned from the bartender that Pistoler was not slated to go on stage till 11:30.


The requests for Dora screenings start up around here at 6:30 on Sunday morning. An 11:30 start time just doesn’t cut it.

Fortunately, the opening act, Rana Santacruz, was great--incredible. I’ve downloaded all his songs from his website and they are in heavy rotation. (Perhaps equally fortunate, the second act, Uli and the Gringos was abysmal. So we went home by 11, got home around midnight, and were prepared to pop Dora in the DVD player the next morning). I got the Pistolera album on iTunes, too. It’s good, but I must say, the Rana Santacruz combo of punk rock (he’s a Pogues fan) and ranchero music is catchy and amazing and his voice is so very sweet. We love “El Ranchero Punk” but “No Puedo Mas” is in very heavy rotation.

A lucky catch and my tip to you: Rana Santacruz. Amazing.


amcorrea said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Anne! I like Pistolera (and Cordero a little more), so it sounds like this guy is right up my alley.

The Cuban Cowboys are another fun band--"Cuban Surf Rock"!

Unknown said...

Great--I love new bands. And do download the Rana Santacruz songs--he's giving away 10 or so and I think they are AMAZING--a great accordion (I'm a sucker for it--Edith Piaf etc) and a sweet, sweet voice w/powerful, propulsive beats. Very cool.

Thanks for the tips, Ana Maria!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you missed us (pistolera) at the Knitting Factory. It was a great homecoming show after being on tour in the southwest. We have a couple great shows coming up this summer. There's a free one at Barbes in Brooklyn that will be live on the radio (May 17). We're also doing Central Park SummerStage on Aug 9th.
Hope you'll try again. - PISTOLERA