Mexrrissey, music review: Mexican band 'jolts Morrissey’s songs into a vibrant new light'

Electric Ballroom, London 

Alison King
Tuesday 19 April 2016 11:50
Mexrissey perform at Electric Ballroom, London
Mexrissey perform at Electric Ballroom, London

Mexico’s infatuation with Morrissey is an extraordinary cultural phenomenon. Across Mexico City and the vast Latin groups across California, bequiffed fans flock to see tribute acts, club nights, conventions and karaoke (Morrissey-oke), dedicated to the former Smiths singer.

Taking tonight's crowd on a melodramatic trip of a distinctly Mexican flavour, the band deliver ranchera, mariachi, bolero, cumbia, and danzón from their new album No Manchester capturing the essence of classic Morrissey and The Smiths songs.

The seven members of Mexrrissey-led by Camilo Lara deliver bold Latin arrangements from the get go. "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side" is infused with a cumbia feel and intense emotional sentiments are calls to arms delivered without Morrissey's ease and detachment. "Panic" gets a dose of oompa norteño sounds, while "International Playboy" - rebranded "International Playgirl" and sung by Ceci Bastida - has a Herb Alpert feel to it.

The musicians play with a joyous enthusiasm and vibrant mariachi rhythms replace Johnny Marr’s guitar to amplify The Smiths’ mordant humour on "El Primero del Gang" (First of The Gang To Die) while Sergio Mendoza inserts witty “cha-cha-chas” into "Girlfriend in a Coma”.

"Every Day is Like Sunday” and “Ask” are cleverly reworked too and this surprising cultural connection to Morrissey’s poetry brings with it a fresh style. The bold combination of acoustic and electronic instruments jolts Morrissey’s songs into a vibrant new light.

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