Last night I took the DeLorean on a short trip and somehow I turned up in Downtown Oakland for my father’s prom. Or at least that’s how I felt. Or that’s how I imagine my dad’s prom would’ve been if he hadn’t dropped out of high school. Everything from the band (LA-based Chicano Batman wearing their trademark baby blue, ruffled dress shirts) to the DJ (the legendary Sonido Franko playing cumbia 45s from the ’70s) contributed to create the illusion that I was in a low-budget Mexican spoof of Back to the Future. Minus the awkward mother-son French kissing thing.
Chicano Batman made their Bay Area debut last night to promote the release of their self-titled album (available in a nicely-packaged vinyl LP). Sonido Franko, the brainchild behind Unicornio Records and author of mainstay music blog super sonido, hosted the night at his regular Carne Trémula party at The Layover, the coolest new bar in Brooklyn–I mean–Oakland.
If you dig old school, soulful Latin sounds, Sonido Franko is your go-to guy. He has a hefty display of Latin music vinyls, so when he puts his name and trust on a new up-and-coming artist, that’s someone worth paying attention to. Chicano Batman plays boleros, cumbias, and tropicalia-in-portuñol with a groovy psychedelic twist. Their compliance to Almodóvar-esque kitsch aesthetics are remarkable, too: they set up the Casio keyboard on an ironing board and wrapped the microphone with a sock. Nice.
Check out pics of Chicano Batman and the Layover crowd enjoying the nostalgic night.