Molotov @ The Rainbow Ballroom, Fresno CA 12/06/14
Molotov are in a nutshell, the Mexican version of Rage Against the Machine. Rap-rock with socio-politically inspired lyrics. Add risqué subject matter, twisted humor, vulgarity and satire, and you have an aggressive yet very entertaining hard rock band. So to be more accurate, this group is like RATM with a somewhat perverse and playful smattering of Primus and Frank Zappa added to the mix. A good example of their unique brand of humor is the title of the group’s debut album, “Donde Jugaran Las Ninas?,” (Where will the little girls play?) which is a pun on Mana’s breakthrough album, Donde Jugaran Los Ninos. Molotov added to the racy title by including even racier cover art, which depicts a young female, dressed in a school uniform, sitting in car with her underwear pulled below her knees. Yikes. More seriously, the group tackles sobering subjects like Immigration and social inequality. I’m by no means a fan, but they actually booked a Fresno date and I just had to experience this group live.
The audience was just as entertaining as the group, if not more so. The crowd was young, student aged, with fans up to their 30s as well. And they were animated as hell. It was a sweaty show, full of movement, jumping and moshing. There were mostly dudes in the audience and a sprinkling of chicas in the mix, most of which could have used some fashion advice from the wifey, but oh well, it’s a Molotov show, not a Pitbull show. This was an impressive turnout, it was cool to see such support for a group that’s mostly underground, even for the Rock En Espanol movement. Molotov have churned out gold records in Mexico and Spain, but the North American market outside of Los Angeles can be tricky to gauge. Fortunately there’s an audience here and a strong market for Spanish language rock.
The gig began around 10pm and there was no opener. Sound quality was very good. However I couldn’t understand what the hell Tito Fuentes was saying! To be clear, the vocals were understandable. But whenever Fuentes addressed the crowd, which was frequent, it was a muffled, warbled mess. All I could get was “bwahbwahbwahbwahchingasumadrebwahbwahbwah.” The band members blew me away with their ability to change instruments and take over lead vocal duties. Randy “El Gringo Loco” would step out from his drum kit to play guitar AND he does lead vocals on a few numbers. The other guys, Tito, Paco and Miky, would also switch it up, trading lead vocals, guitars, basses and even filling in on the drums while Randy played guitar. Very talented bunch of guys. I’m not the most familiar with Molotov’s materials. The group performed for close to two hours. Songs they performed included Frijolero, Gimme Tha Power, Noko, La Raza Pura es la Pura Raza, No Existe, Parasito, Crazy Chola Loca, Chinga Tu Madre (love that title), Mas Vale Cholo, and closing with Matate Tete and Puto.