The music of La Mancha Negra walks a fine line between dead sexy and very threatening. Whether you’re murdering someone or seducing them, theirs is the kind of stuff you want to have playing in the background. They put on a decent live show too, and last night’s performance at Club 77 was a stunner. The venue was decked out in candy skulls and various other mexigoth paraphernalia, face painting was on offer – I unfortunately had to decline due to an infection in my nose ring (gross, I know) – and the crowd were the kind of crowd you want to have at a show like this. Friendly, considerate, upbeat, enjoying the music. Drunk, but not that drunk.
And the band? The band was brilliant. Belting out their unique brand of bluesy rockabilly punk, Simon Trick and co. held the audience tightly in thrall and didn’t let go until their noisy demonstration was brought to its conclusion. They powered faultlessly through favourites like ‘Dig All Night’, ‘Death Roll’ and ‘Diamond Swamp Romp’, terrifying and turning on the crowd before lead singer Akira endearingly called out to his “lovely wife” to please get him another drink.
One thing I always appreciate about La Mancha Negra’s live performances is that they manage to sound more or less the same as they do in recordings, except louder. A lot of people point to this like it’s something negative, that it shows a lack of imagination or musicianship, but I think it’s what makes their shows so accessible and enjoyable. And, as evidenced by last night’s punters, extremely danceable.
The only negative point about the show I can really think of is that LMN were quite static on stage, not really moving around very much. But having said that, the Club 77 stage ain’t that big and what they lacked in physical movement they made up for in dynamism. Their next show will be at the Oxford Arts Factory’s third birthday on August 20, so be sure to head over and check them out.