Waaaay back in the early ’90s, the airwaves were alive with the big and bouncy brass-lovin’ sounds of ska — until mass marketing led to overkill, and the major labels sucked the life out of it. While its popularity in the U.S. waned, the two-tone beat has never been more popular in the Spanish-singing world. Among those leading the charge today is Mexico City’s Panteón Rococó, a hard-driving, politically charged 11-piece outfit with blazing trumpets, a playful attitude, and a knack for love songs. Iconic single “La Dosis Perfecta (The Perfect Dose),” with its electrifying, tangy guitar hook and amor-as-addiction metaphor, catapulted the group to fame. Ska-punk fusion laced with rock and reggae blends well with cumbias, rancheras, and popular Mexican rhythms; it can also, on a moment’s notice, break into a sweaty salsa or a Carnaval-worthy samba. And, much like local faves La Plebe and Fuga!, Panteón Rococó proudly proclaims its support for leftist causes, going so far as to include a 10-minute spoken-word story from Subcomandante Marcos, the voice of the Zapatistas, at the end of one album — proving that political awareness and damn fine danceable music are not mutually exclusive.
Los Valenberg opens.
Sat., May 2, 9 p.m., 2009