It was a late night last Saturday in the original city of sin. Bostich+Fussible, two members of Tijuana’s Nortec Collective, played a launching show for their new disc, Tijuana Sound Machine. For the uninitiated, “nortec” (a style born in late 1990s Tijuana) is a collision of techno/electronic and norteño music –an acquired taste of irony, horns, turntables, tongue-in-cheek loops, and postmodern accordion solos laced with bass-heavy, oompa-oompa polka beats.
The duo spun at La Planeta Tijuana, a former theater downtown and our local haven of urban grit chic. Tijuana’s “warehouse district” is currently occupied by profit-raking multinational corporations –think Sony and Motorola, not starving artists –so after the roof caved in at La Planeta years ago, local musicians found their starry-ceilinged Eden.
A homecoming of sorts, the show was muy nice. Following two opening acts (including a DJ dressed as a disco ball gorilla), Bostich, Fussible, and their brass crew took the stage to rock the crowd. They grinned and launched into some older goldies like “Tengo La Voz” and “Narcoteque,” as well as new favorites like “The Clap,” “Mama Loves Nortec,” and “Tijuana Sound Machine.”
Large screens flashed iconic Tijuana landmarks: la Bola (CECUT), the twin torres of Grand Hotel, the landlocked lighthouse off Agua Caliente, low-riders, bullrings, bars, donkeys, farmácias. Folks cage-danced, pole-danced, partner-danced. A studly hombre in black leather pants trilled the accordion until my knees buckled with desire. After all, not much beats a few hundred Mexicans singing “Tijuana makes me happy” at full volume. Bang, bang, indeed.