Flooded with graffiti-like artwork, the small music venue “La Casa de Auxilio”, or the House of Help, was the location for our Friday night entertainment this past weekend. It was located above a bar in what seemed to me like a sketchy part of Lima. We arrived pretty early but we ended up meeting Cecilia Noel, the wife of the lead singer of “Men At Work”, an 80s group who do the song “Do you come from a land down under…” She dabbles in vocals herself, and they flew her in to sing with the headlining band. We talked with her for about ten minutes and she was very nice and loved talking to us…I don’t blame her!
Anyway, we arrived too early so we went downstairs to grab a couple of cervesas. And I am glad we did because I am not sure I could have survived the first band we saw without them. Julio, Sophie, and I missed the first band of three, but Justin went up to scope it out and told us the band was pretty talented but had a lack of vocal ability. For the rest of us, the show kicked off with a punk rock band called “La Ira de Dios”, or The Wrath of God. Personally, I was going to the show to see more Spanish-influenced rock which is what the headliner was advertised as, and punk rock is not a part of my personal music scene. But Justin has played in numerous death metal bands so I think it was more up his alley so I gave it a shot. The drummer was pretty good, and I am not quite sure the skill level of the bassist, but I was not impressed by the guitarist. A lot of this type of music uses very simple chords known as “power chords”, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but all the songs sounded the same to me – like repetitive noise. I do believe you can make great music from the simplest of chords or melodies, but this group was just not cutting it for me. However, I’m pretty sure Sophie really liked the guitarist’s voluptuous, untrimmed sideburns covering most of his face so that helped ease the situation.
The vocals. Ohhhh the vocals. I think the microphone might have done something to upset the group because all I could hear was deep and intense screaming at the poor thing. I’m not entirely sure they even had lyrics because it all sounded piercing to the ear. There were hardly any melodies and certainly no hooks to the songs. There was some improvisation I suppose, but it was hard to make any of it out through the angry screams. Up to this point we had heard nothing but passionate Latin music during our trip, and I suppose there was some type of passion up there, but let’s just say the merengue wouldn’t mesh with this type of music. But I stayed put, mainly for Justin, and also because the headliner was highly anticipated. It was supposed to be a different type of music and obviously who we really came for. I just could not get into the style at all so clearly I am bias against it. And Sophie was a trooper, so props to her for staying! Must have been those muttonchops.
As it turned out, the headliner was indeed a completely different type of music. So different that I don’t have a clue as to why these two groups were paired together. The headliner was a group called the “Chapillacs”. I know it sounds dangerous from the title, but it was a mixture of a Latin style of music known as “cumbia” mixed with surf and rock. It was a very cool combination, and I definitely got my fix of the Latin sound I was looking for. I am into many types of rock n’ roll, so this definitely hit the spot with a blend of styles I had not heard before.
Cecilia did end up going up on stage, and there was a lot of “call and response” between her, the other lead singer, and the crowd which added a great dynamic to the whole show. Whenever the audience is able to feel a part of the act itself, it brings the experience to a whole new level, even if the venue only allows around 100 people. Even with my Spanish skills being subpar, I didn’t have to know the words she was singing to realize how great it sounded and how well the audience was actually into the concert. Plus I was able to get my dance on.
PS- Special credit to Justin who has been diligently researching and seeking out different concert venues and shows. We would have missed a good one if he didn’t give us the heads up.