Chicano Batman at Santa Monica Pier

Every year, the Santa Monica Pier hosts their Twilight Concert series showcasing an array of musical artists from all types of genres. For this 31st year anniversary, the Twilight Concerts’ lineup includes musical artists such as Real Estate, Sister Nancy, and Ariel Pink. Chicano Batman performed and opened the stage on July 23rd with their retro ruffled suits and psychedelic funk before the headliners, Cubanismo.

The quartet, featuring Carlos Arevalo (guitar), Bardo Martinez (lead vocals, keyboard, guitar), Eduardo Arenas (bass, vocals), and Gabriel Villa (drums, percussion), put on an amazing show encompassing a broad collection of Latin sounds from past generations rejuvenated to fit the present. With their surf-rock Cumbia, romantica-style melodies, and Colombian rhythms, Chicano Batman pays homage to influential legendary Latin groups such as Los Lobos, Los Mirlos, and Los Angeles Negros. Their bilingual transitions during sets speak to the legacy of the Spanish language musical heritage of the United States which continues to diversify the dance floor and concert spaces with a bit of multiculturalism. Bossa Nova is also a major musical influence on the band’s fusion of Portuguese, samba, and jazz. But more than a tribute band, Chicano Batman is on “a mission to bring the overlooked to the forefront” as they state on their website.

In fact, Chicano Batman’s logo pieces together the United Farm Workers’ eagle designed by Caesar Chavez in the 1960s and the batman symbol. Together these symbols represent the band’s allegiance to the Latin community both through pop-culture and political cultural identity. Through their lyricism and rhythm, Chicano Batman expresses the daily experiences of modern day Latin Americans, presenting themselves as an example. Their music stems from their own living experiences and memories within the Los Angeles community. Thus, each track generates a sense of nostalgia, which is a common response to most postmodern art forms. Not only do they borrow from past traditions in both their music and style, but they seek to immortalize the experience of growing up to the sounds of their parents’ music. It is for this reason the band combines these styles for their live audience throughout local Los Angeles. A passerby might say they sound different and for others, psychedelic Chicano rock. Whichever genre they fit, Chicano Batman will not be mitigated to menial parts of the record store. They are a group of passionate Latinos from East Los Angeles who appreciate and validate a multicultural community through language and art.

Chicano Batman’s latest album is titled Cycles of Existential Rhyme and you can catch them at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on August 28th.

Chicano Batman at the Getty

It’s been a month and I can still hear Bardo’s Yamaha YC-30 humming inside my ears. I get chills as I reminisce about the electric set that had everyone dancing at the Museum Courtyard of the Getty Center on July 12th. Chicano Batman performed for free as part of the Saturdays of the 405 concert series, held every summer by the Getty Center.

Chicano Batman entered the stage with smiles and waves for the audience. “We are Chicano Batman,” uttered Brado Martínez as they began the performance, after a quick set up. They then began the set with the instrumental sounds of “La Tigresa.”

The spiritual, mysticism and charged energy flowed throughout the four members, all dressed in their signature, matching sky blue dress shirts. Throughout an instrumental piece in the middle of the set, Bardo took the time to be thankful for everything important and even swayed the crowd towards the ocean to thank it.

The sweet rhythms that flow from the rhythm guitar of Carlos Arévalo, the energetic underlining bass that jumped out from Eduardo Arena, and the unforgiving liveliness of rhythm from Gabriel Villa create the danceable atmosphere that infected everyone on the floor. Bardo Martinez’s enchanting, transcendent voice also shrouded the Courtyard throughout the deep, soulful journey.

My soul felt cleansed. The humming hasn’t stopped.

Get Cycles of Existential Rhyme. Out now! Chicano Batman will also be playing at FigAt7th in Downtown Los Angeles with Las Cafeteras, Friday August 1st. Free!