Taking place in Orange County, La Tocada Fest puts on a one day festival packed with some of the best Latin musicians. From Natalia LaFourcade’s effortlessly beautiful performance to Cafe Tacvba’s highly anticipated set, the festival was vibrant and colorful with the sound of Latin jams. With people speaking Spanish everywhere you looked, I couldn’t help but feel like I was back in Mexico. The energetic and engaging crowds, as well the overall fun attitude of everyone made it an incredibly enjoyable and refreshing experience. Girl Underground Music had the privilege of covering the fest over the weekend and we highlighted some of our favorite performances.
Jenny and the Mexicats
As the hot sun descended upon the fest, Jenny and the Mexicats started things off to open up the main stage. Accompanied by the Mexicats, consisting of a bass player, multiple guitar players and a drummer, Jenny was on the trumpet as she opened with a swaying Latin jam. “Verde Mas Alla” was the perfect number to dance to carelessly in the sun. The band was energetic and pronounced with every note they played. As they wrapped up their set, they proclaimed “Today we die in California.” Jenny and the Mexicats also proved that the party doesn’t end for them, as they proceeded to play another high spirited set later that night.
As Leon’s set arrived the sun was scorching over the festival at an all time high. However, this did not discourage us from seeing the former frontman of Zoé share his solo work. Clad in matching suits, Leon’s band came out and got things warmed up. Leon then ascended on the stage hiding behind sunglasses as he proceeded to play the bongos into an infectious rhythm. Leon was calm and collected on stage as he played the slow ballads of “Souvenir” to the more upbeat “Tiraste A Matar”. His visuals also had fun psychedelic inspired colors and images, paired with his mellow rock music, creating a perfect atmosphere in the festival.
After spending several hours outside, we moved into the Observatory’s main room to check out Siddhartha. The lights brought a wonderful ambience as the crowd lazily swayed to songs such as “Loco” and “Extraños”. Siddhartha brought a warm and spirited set to the festival, with the guitarist always taking the opportunity to shred for a photo op.
As soon as Natalia hit the mainstage I was overcome with her presence. Elegantly dressed and articulate in her voice, Natalia delivered a stellar performance. She did not fail to say thank you after every song she played. As the sun descended on her set, she closed with personal favorite “Mi Lugar Favorito”. As the song came to a close she threw herself to the ground savoring the moment and softly whispered her favorite place to the floor.
An electric energy was building among the photo pit and crowd alike as the most anticipated performance of the night, Cafe Tacvba was to take the stage. I couldn’t help but develop a sense of urgency as I had been waiting for this set all day. The group is easily one of the most influential Mexican rock bands of the 90s. I had grown up listening to their music since I can remember, with the playbacks of their 15 year anniversary show constantly on loop at my house.
As the familiar echoes of “El Baile y El Salon” ascended on the festival, I was overwhelmed with a surreal feeling, after so many years, the opportunity to witness a band that had such an impact on my childhood left me speechless. Dressed in matching silver outfits the members of the celebrated group arrived to the stage and proceeded to bring the song to its full sonic sound. Frontman Ruben’s charisma fueled the set as he proclaimed to the crowd, “Are you all tired, because it’s time to dance!” The band then dove into the colorful anthem “Las Flores”, where I proceeded to frolic and jump along with all the photographers in the pit, a true bonding moment with strangers. Cafe Tacvba did not disappoint their longtime fans, as they played all time favorites “La ingrata”, “Chilanga Banda”, and “La Chica Banda”.
Ruben also took some moments to deliver enthusiastic monologues, encouraging the crowd to get loose and have fun. Their latest single, “Un Par De Lugares” was also incredibly well received, as the live version with layered guitars proved to have a fuller sound than the original record. With several outfit changes, and choreographed moves for the crowd to enjoy, it’s clear Cafe Tacvba truly wanted to deliver a first-rate performance. I have never seen a band take such a personal approach to set, putting all their efforts into making this a vibrant and energetic hour for all who attended the festival. Ultimately, this was the most unforgettable performance of the night and will go down as one of my favorite shows ever.
It is evident after so many outstanding performances from big names and small bands alike, La Tocada holds something truly special in the quality of the acts they put on and the crowds they draw. The festival’s ability to bring so many people of different backgrounds to enjoy some of the greatest Latin musicians makes me greatly appreciate my culture, and the vivacious community of La Tocada.
Want to see more pictures from the festival? Check out the gallery below.
All photos by Cesar Martinez: http://www.cmphoto84.com/