With a wink and a nod, the members of Mexico City's Polka Madre declare on their webpage that they sound like nothing you've ever heard before -- but whether this is a dare or a promise, they're not saying.
The name is a play on words that translates literally as "little mother," but the common expression ¡que poca madre! signifies something more like "to have no shame." After all, far from being polka's mother, the band -- whose members hail from the Pacific Northwest, the frigid throes of Finland, and the cradle of the Aztec empire -- sounds more like her clever, rebellious, multilingual progeny. Think Klezmer-playing Zapatista punks, Tom Waits by way of Aztlán, or what happens when the Good Old World invites El Mundo Nuevo over for drinks and they stay up all night dancing furiously to accordions, clarinets, keyboards, and guitars. Polka Madre has performed at bars and colleges and for convicts in prison, and has spent months touring the European Union in a world-worn VW minivan called Baby Blue. After their back-to-back shows in the city, judge for yourself whether or not they live up to that claim.
Sat., March 22, 9 p.m., 2008