Chicano Batman and Lido Pimienta bring music and a message to Union Transfer - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Chicano Batman took the Union Transfer stage this week, oozing cool. They had a confidence about them that only comes with being in the industry for nearly fifteen years. The Los Angeles band is made up of five incredible instrumentalists, who are stellar performers as well. Their set was mostly smooth and very fun, highlighted by a few key moments.

Bassist Eduardo Arenas wore his sunglasses all night and took the mic throughout the set, looking stoic and mysterious. But as soon as he got up for the 14-year-old track “La Manzanita” – he whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Arenas began the song with a “viva Palestina” chant, using it to set the rhythm for the song. When the chant was over, the crowd just kept going. During instrumental breaks, the audience was clapping and chanting as if it were a collaborative song.

Chicano Batman | photo by Danielle Ciampaglia for WXPN

Singer Bardo seemed to be having a rough night vocally. On the records, his voice seems to have a Julian Casablancas quality to it. A little restrained, but nothing he sings sounds like it would be painful. In a live performance, Bardo’s voice seemed to lack the power he has in the recordings. A potential sore throat wasn’t stopping him from having as much fun as possible. He worked the stage and the crowd in every song, and played an impressive amount of instruments throughout the show.

Lido Pimienta | photo by Danielle Ciampaglia for WXPN

Opener Lido Pimienta almost stole the entire show. The Colombian-Canadian artist is funny, charismatic, and unbelievably talented. She is also a mother, and the show happened to fall on Mother’s Day. She had this to say:

“Today is Mother’s Day, and I just can’t feel excited about it…when there’s so many mothers right now that are finding their babies under rubble…” As a mother of three, she said, it’s difficult to celebrate a day like this when “all of the things that can be alleviated and helped by what we call our government, but the government doesn’t take care of me, the government doesn’t take care of us.”  Nevertheless, she says she’s optimistic for a bright future and has faith in the cultural shift she’s seeing.

Lido Pimienta | photo by Danielle Ciampaglia for WXPN

Lido Pimienta’s set was filled with haunting vocals and incredibly complex percussion alongside messages of peace and liberation. In one unreleased song, she sings “The po-po, the pigs, they don’t take care of me. But the students do.” This lyric seemed to resonate with the crowd, with this show happening amid student unrest around the country and world. “Peace,” she said, “should not be a bad word.”

This show, while fun and energetic, was also somber. It was a reminder of how lucky we are to feel safe in a concert hall, and a testament to how we can find community through music and art.

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