If there’s one good thing that’s come out of Donald Trump’s run for president, it’s that his campaign finally gave me the opportunity to see Brujeria in concert. (And yes, I even bought the t-shirt!) Spurred by Trump’s “Make America Hate Again” rhetoric, the Mexican-American death-metal band has come out of hibernation for their first new album and U.S. tour in 15 or 16 years.
Incidentally, Cleveland was the city that hosted Trump’s coronation at the Republican National Convention back in July. I suppose that’s probably why it was included on this tour, since it’s pretty far from the Mexican border and does not have a significant Latino population. In fact, there wasn’t much of a turnout at the Agora on a Thursday night–no more than 75 or 80 people, and a decent chunk of them left after Cattle Decapitation.
Things started pretty early, with the first of two local openers going on at 6:30. I got there in time for Pinata Protest, the first touring band. Like the headliners, these guys sang in Spanish, but they sounded more like a hispanohablante version of the Dropkick Murphys. They even did a sped-up version of “La Cucaracha,” and taught the local crowd how to say “Fuck your mother” en español.
Now, I don’t really listen to a lotta death metal these days (although I think Gruesome is a pretty sweet band), so I wasn’t all that familiar with Cattle Decapitation coming in. Well, I knew that they were pro-weed vegan dudes from Denver, but I still couldn’t name any of their tunes. They had a few riffs that reminded me of vintage Cannibal Corpse, but for the most part, I wasn’t really feeling it. Aaaaand that’s why you won’t see me reviewing any death metal albums on here…unless the band’s name is Gruesome. 😉
Although Brujeria began as a side project of the two Mexican-Americans from Fear Factory, none of the musicians in the current lineup are Mexican or American, for that matter. The backing band moves Shane Embury from guitar (which he played on the studio albums) to bass, with Nick Barker on drums, and on this tour includes Anton Reisenegger from Chile’s Pentagram on guitar and backing vocals. (From what I can tell, they haven’t even bothered to give him a stagename.)
Their set drew heavily from Raza odiada, a personal favourite, with a few tracks offa Brujerizmo and their latest, Pocho Aztlan. There weren’t even enough people in the crowd to catch the stagedivers, but when a guy took the stage in a Donald Trump mask, he got hit with at least a dozen beers. Hey, I still enjoyed seeing ’em live for the first (and likely the only) time. And I didn’t even hafta deal with la migra!