Tijuana Cartel - Friday October 28, The Corner Hotel
Being a support act is not the easiest gig in music, so to speak. Openers often play to a limited crowd and battle chatter from an audience who just want them to hurry up and finish. Occasionally though, you see a warm up act who defies all those elements and makes you glad you showed up early. Tin Can Radio, support for Tijuana Cartel’s album launch at the Corner Hotel on Friday night, is one of those bands.
The hairy five-piece took their responsibility of warming up the Corner hotel quite literally, garnering a sizeable, sweaty crowd who could not resist their indie-inspired art rock. Generating some of the most enthusiastic jiving I’ve seen for a support act, Tin Can Radio had bodies flailing about the dance floor with abandon (including those of the band members who ditched instruments and the stage to get in on the revelry). Ending with the killer Skeletons, Tin Can Radio set the standard for the night.
Lead singer Paul George introduced his band Tijuana Cartel as “one of only three bands from the Gold Coast” before dedicating a song to fellow Queenslanders Operator Please and The Bleeding Knees Club. Their unique blend of groove, slide, flamenco guitar, trumpet, Afro-Cuban percussion and electronica was certainly unexpected, given their home state.
Tijuana Cartel’s sound doesn’t commit to any particular genre and a range of styles feature in almost every song. The difficulty of this approach is that it doesn’t necessarily translate to an easily digestible live show. The tempo changed so often on Friday night that the audience never really had a chance to settle into a groove.
Trumpet solos courtesy of Joshua Sinclair had people moving, even if it wasn’t for long. Sinclair was the standout performer of the show, every track to which he contributed was better for it and the audience thanked him at every chance with enthusiastic applause.
The familiarity of single Letting It Go provided enough security for the crowd to let loose- and let loose they did. To the frustration of some fans, there was a significant amount of older Tijuana Cartel material played on Friday night. The band received a shout of “Thank God!” from one punter when announcing that the encore would feature two new songs. Considering it was an album launch, he probably wasn’t the only one surprised at the lack of new stuff in the hour and a half long set.
A solid performance from both Tin Can Radio and Tijuana Cartel provided a festive start to the long weekend.
LOVED: Watching the plethora of couples pashing after George dedicated a song to “anyone who picks up tonight”.
HATED: The awkward first track in which MC Regan Hoskins fell victim to a faulty microphone, rendering his rapping inaudible.
DRANK: Coronas. Although I did end up wearing a fellow patron’s Bourbon and Coke after he had a bit too much fun dancing to Persian.