Banda music is that polka country sound from Mexico emanating from restaurant kitchens and Queens curbside parking. It isn’t a genre that usually makes NYC’s summer song list. But this week is a chance to discover a delicious punk and banda hybrid of the highest quality. A member of one of our favorite border-fusing bands, Ozomatli, has a side project that is super, pero fuego caliente. Wil-dog Abers is “El Gavachillo” and he’s bringing his banda-loving, cowboy-hat-wearing alter-ego to Lincoln Out of Doors on Friday.
Expect trumpets and drums, a sousaphone, and general Mexicanismo all around. My favorite part of every song is Wil’s signature pelvic thrust that emphasizes what is happening musically, usually accompanying the clang of a symbol. Lyrics speak of love and loss, including a cover of the Buzzcocks, “Fallin In Love,” one of the only English language numbers from Wil, who may have learned Spanish via vocals.
Wil-dog is a gabacho, slang for “white guy,” from Los Angeles, raised on local bands like Jane’s Addiction and Fishbone. He grew up playing rock and reggae on guitar and in the early 90s, Wil-dog co-founded Ozomatli as bassist. His musical range expanded throughout his career and included a love for banda, the sound of LA.’s eastside neighborhoods. An Ozo show at the Hollywood Bowl included a banda group on the bill, Banda Juvenil. At the after party, Wil-dog joined the banda for a spontaneous show that spawned a serious side project.
El Gavachillo plays NYC with Banda Viento de Oro and opens for Colombian supergroup Los Irreales de Ondatrópica, a cumbia and salsa blend led by bassist Mario Galeano and DJ Quantic.