Los Skarnales' 20-Year Bash a Show for the Ages

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Los Skarnales Fitzgerald's June 20, 2014

It was hot, crowded, loud, and borderline dangerous. And it was damn near perfect. Friday night at Fitzgerald's, Los Skarnales showcased every ounce of heart and love their bodies and souls could disseminate, giving Houston a performance that will go down as one of the best the city has ever experienced.

The night began with the most player move of all, a mariachi band. It was only fitting as Mexican tradition dictates that most celebrations should include a mariachi band. And this...this was a celebration of 20 years, from a punk/ska trio called Desorden to the powerhouse band that fascinates crowds at music festivals. There was indeed much to be thankful for.

Over the last few weeks, I've spent hours interviewing the members of the band. I asked each one if he had a favorite song, and the tracks mentioned would almost always include "Bomba 48," "Una Y Otra Vez," "Rajita (De Canela)" and "No Way Out." So it was also fitting that the night would begin with those tracks. The crowd began a circle mosh pit almost immediately, somewhat to the horror of a few ladies up front, but nothing out of the ordinary for the hardcore Skarnales fans. The opening set ended with a new song named "Hay La Vez."

John Garcia then took the stage and the mike. "I haven't been feeling very punk rock lately, so if you guys could tell me to 'GO FUCK MYSELF' I would really appreciate it!", he said. The original Desorden trio, which also included Felipe Galvan and Jose Rodriguez, proceeded to tear the stage a new asshole with "MASACRE!!!", "JALATELA!!!" and "WACAMOLE!!!" Those exclamation points served as a reminder on the set list to play as loud as technologically possible, as if Desorden was ever anything but loud as hell.

The night continued through the lineup changes that shifted with each album, from Vatos Rudos to Dalé Shine, and everything and (almost) everyone in between. Only missing were Nick Gaitan and Roberto Rodriguez, who are currently on tour in Canada, and Joshua Mares, who was either not invited or declined to attend.

Review continues on the next page.

As awesome as the night began, it ended with a perfect encore. After all the moshing and crowd-surfing and stage-diving was complete, a combination of friends and family took over the stage. The last song of the night was a Spanglish cover of "Pressure Drop" by Toots & The Maytals.

"Eres tuuuuuuu! Oh yeaaaah, yeah, yeah!"

It was absolutely beautiful. Thank you, Skarnales, for being there for me all those years ago when I was in high school, initiating the love I hold in my heart for ska and music in general. Thank you for inviting me into your home and practice space and answering the thousands of questions I threw your way.

And most of all, thank you for 20 years of the most raucous, bad-ass music this city has ever witnessed. ¡Salud, salud, salud!

Personal Bias: I've been attending Los Skarnales for 15 of their 20-year run, and I'm ready for another 20!

The Crowd: Puros vatos rudos fans fueled by Lone Star beer.

Overheard In the Crowd: I caught myself saying this out loud: "THIS IS THE BEST FUCKING SHOW HOUSTON HAS EVER SEEN!!!!!"

Random Notebook Dump: I am so glad I had my ear plugs in that night.


More photos on the next page.


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