I had always been a fan of Chicano Batman. Always admired how they mixed punk with classic Mexican banda and musical styles. I had never seen them live. Never experienced anything like I did at their sold at show on January 23, 2016.
The first thing I noticed? For once, I wasn’t the brownest person in line. As someone that goes to a lot to concerts and is from a primarily Latin part on the Bay Area, this felt very homey. A home I have never even seen, it was as though all the Latin high school weirdos and freaks found a band to call their own. I didn’t know what to expect and anything I expected was completely wrong. This wasn’t a concert, this was a gathering. This was almost like some sort of alt. chicano spiritual ritual.
Even during the first band,The Young Elders, everyone was united, the crowd moved as one, other than one guy that was already way too drunk and way off beat. Every time I went to the restroom, I was met by girls who were just complimenting each other and praising the floor Chicano Batman walked on. Some of them had bought tickets the day it was announced, some bought tickets through Craigslist hours before, but no one regretted their decision. At first I was standing on the balcony, keeping my distance, but the crowd was too enduring to get away from.
By the time Tijuana Panthers came on, I was in the crowd being offered everything from hugs, to beer, to other things, but I only accepted the hugs. They all wanted to know my story, my name, and what brought me to the show, Tijuana Panthers were the palest visible people there, but they made that crowd rowdy and overjoyed. There were some punches thrown in the mosh pit, but what else would you expect.
As soon as there were seconds before Chicano Batman to play, the crowd was already rooting them on. Screaming their names, screaming their songs, screaming their love for Mexico and the SF Giants. I was screaming right beside them. Nobody was silent, and when the band actually got to the stage it felt like the whole planet was screaming with us. I had never experienced anything like this. It was like some sort of tripped out quincenera, that everyone actually wanted to attend and weren’t forced to go by their parents. Everything only got better as they show went on, and all the energy just got more positive and wild. Any part of us that ever hated, felt embarrassed, ashamed of our culture was being stomped out on the floor by rebellious and swift dance moves.
Of course there was an encore because nobody in that crowd wanted it to end. Even when it ended, it was not over for anyone, we all left inspired and united that night.