Whenever I travel, I always try and line up some sporting event or a concert to check out. Before leaving it looked like the only thing that might have lined up with our dates was a Lucha Libre wrestling match (which unfortunately we missed). While we were in Playa Del Carmen my wife and I stopped in front of a restaurant with a sandwich board that showed the entertainment was Electric Funeral. We asked the lady at the front what type of music did they play (please be Sabbath). She told us it was fun pop music (booo). I was almost giving up hope to find some entertainment on this trip.
One of the days was a relaxing day we spent by the pool, so I went online and started searching for things to to. I will be honest, my Spanish is pretty basic. Not bad for a tourist from Canada, but most of the words sail over my head. I wasn’t having much luck until I found a band name that really stood out to me. Genitallica. Cool. I love tribute bands. This one had a great name too. This would be a night were we know what was coming. We could just rock out to all the hits from Metallica.
We got to the venue at around 8pm and the place was packed. I noticed early on that there were no gringos inside. Playa del Carmen is loaded with tourists like myself who were non-Hispanic (gringo), and it was an Irish pub on a Saturday night, so I wrongly assumed this place would be packed with tourists. I saw a small stage setup at the back, but just to be sure I asked the bouncer if there was a band tonight. He said it was a Mexican band. Ok, so myself and my wife, being Canadians, were going to an Irish bar (I was the only half-Irish lad in there, so I sort of belonged) filled with Mexicans, in Mexico, to see a Mexican band. Got it. The bouncer told me it was $500 to get in. Luckily it was 500 pesos (about $36 CAD) for the 2 of us. We paid him the cash and went in. We grabbed some beers (about 2 bucks each) and made our way to the stage. If you’ve ever tried getting to the front of a concert in a packed venue, you know the deal. During covid I got even more adverse to my fellow humans being close to me. This place was on a whole other level though. There wasn’t one square inch of real estate not filled with one of my Mexican friends.
We chose a spot right up near the front/side, stage right, and close to the bathrooms (because I’m old). I can attest to the fact that capacity laws have no meaning in this place. Fire Marshall Bill would not be showing up to speak to management with his catch phrase “LET ME TELL YA SOMETHIN”.
The bar played some Spanish rock songs that the enthusiastic crowd sang along to. My wife and I didn’t know the songs, or the words for that matter, but no mind. The night was starting off on a fun note. The young lads in front of us were really giddy about being there. My wife has this thing about her that people radiate towards. Probably because she’s always smiling and friendly. Complete strangers will end up pouring their souls out to her. She could have easily become a counsellor or therapist. Anyway, the young lad in front of us started chatting with her. It turns out he is 23 (he looked 15 to me) and he and his cousin were in a band. He played bass (he pronounced it bose), guitar and keys. His cousin played drums. They asked me if I had seen some of their favourite bands (which I had), and they thought was so cool. They had that youthful energy about them, and barely stopped moving. They would often lead the chant “GENITALLICA!!! GENITALLICA!!!…” and the crowd would join in. The band was doing it’s best Axl Rose impersonation though. One Spanish song after another and more “GENITALLICA” chanting.
Then the band hit the stage and the place went completely nucking futs. The band were on fire and I could tell right away this was not a Metallica tribute band. They played original tunes all in Spanish. If I had to compare them to music I know, I would say a bit of Faith No More, some Red Hot Chili Peppers, maybe a bit of Green Day/Blink 182, some 90’s alternative, and the best of the early 2000’s Nu Metal bands thrown in for good measure. No matter the comparisons, the crowd ate them up. They resonated on every word and note played. They sang along, they jumped for joy and everyone had a good time.
As I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of being too close to others, but that couldn’t be helped here. I shielded my wife from the young guys I mentioned earlier in front of us. They were just so overcome by being able to see a huge band in their country, that usually plays large festivals in a small venue such as this. They were bouncing around so much it was almost like a slam dance. I put up with it because even though it was intense, it was fun. It reminded this old dude what it was like seeing a band I love right up at the front of the stage. Memories of seeing Van Halen, Green Day, Tragically Hip etc. back in the 80’s/90’s just made me smile. My wife and I really got into the groove. If there is no such thing as a magic potion to make you feel young again, then going to a show like this is the way to go.
I can’t give you a setlist as I knew none of the song titles, or even most of the words for that matter. Again, no matter. A great band is a great band. A great live show is a great live show. No matter the language or the location.
I am glad they weren’t a Metallica cover band. The place might have been full of drunk, loud, obnoxious tourists and the night may have ended in a bar brawl. Discovering a new band and reliving some memories of youth were worth the odd elbow and foot stomp. We left the bar as the band was doing their last song, and after getting through the Playa del Carmen Irish bar version of a zombie apocalypse, we stepped outside to see the line up of people hoping to get in stretching as far as the eye can see. Luckily we got there when we did or we would have missed out. Hopefully 2 happy people got to take our place inside.