Friday, June 27, 2008

Maneja Beto at Stubbs

Tonight I went to Stubbs (indoor) for local Latino indie rock band, "Maneja Beto". Translated literally, it means "Beto Drives" in case you were wondering. Maneja Beto is a rare blend between traditional Mexican cumbia and indie rock. I know that sounds weird. Those aren't really two genres that merge often. In fact, I have yet to find a marriage of Mexican cumbia and indie rock that is better than Maneja Beto

Maneja Beto is not anything new to me personally. I have seen them twice before and know that their music is amazing. However, I made a special trip out to Stubbs tonight because Maneja Beto will soon be on hiatus. That's right. They will not be playing many shows after tonight for a long while. That being said, I made it a point to come out to Stubbs to see them tonight to review the show and help spread the word about Maneja Beto.

For those not familiar with Maneja Beto, let me break it down for you. Their sound is unique. When I mentioned cumbia and indie rock coming together through them earlier, I was merely scratching the surface. They sing in Spanish but sound nothing like any other band you've heard, local or mainstream. They blend the keyboards and feedback with guitars. They merge two voices, Bobby Garza and Alex Chavez, with musical harmonies not yet touched by most Latin Alternative bands. Melodic is another word that comes to mind when I listen to their music. You really do have to listen for yourself.

Are they energetic and exciting live? Honestly, no. Are they fantastic musicians? Yes. Are they original and creative? Yes. When you go to a Maneja concert, you won't find the large crowds (yet) or a mosh pit. You'll see an older mid to late twenty's and up crowd dancing to the cumbias and nodding their heads to the indie songs, like my personal favorite of theirs, "Apertura". I know this because it has been the same crowd at all three shows of theirs I have been to.

Tonight was no different. The crowd was small but enthusiastically into their music. Truthfully I have seen bigger crowds for worse bands at other local Red River joints such as Red Eyed Fly and Headhunters. They don't deserve such mediocrity and low turn outs. Maneja Beto is too good of band. They recently entered a Myspace Latino sponsorship contest and lost to a bunch of gimmicky Pussycat Doll clones. It just goes to show that smut and boobies are still valued by the general Latino public over creativity.

With the recent release of their most recent EP, "Maneja Beto", they should be gaining popularity. All five tracks are worthy of being a single and make for a good listen. Again, the tracks won't pump you up, but they won't put you to sleep. Their music, I figured out, is for the music snobs of the world to appreciate. The idiots who like the spoon fed, over saturated garbage of Mun2 and MTV Tres won't like it. Those who look for something different, creative, unique and Latino will love Maneja Beto.

Maneja's music can currently be heard on M.E. Telvision's "Sonido Boombox" and new internet radio program "Rock y Roll Radio". If by some miracle you read this blog on Friday the 27th of June, Make plans to see them open for Alejandro Escovedo at The Continental Club on South Congress. They are cool guys, great musicians, and offer a unique product. You will not be disappointed. Check out this video from Pachanga Fest put out by


Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I'd have known, I'd have come along. Must jibe Nelson about not promoting it...

I agree, they can be fantastic...

Manuel H. said...

I've seen Maneja Beto live several times and every time I am in awe. Their musicianship is incredible, their creativity is ingenious and their sound is so hard to describe. It's like that saying, "If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand." You just have to hear them! Pleas do.
I hate to see them take a break because I won't be able to get my Maneja Beto fix. Sure I have their new EP and their earlier work but you can't beat their live sets.
I also was introduced to Maneja on Sonido Boombox on METV. Sonido Boombox plays their videos and uses "Ciudadano" as their theme song. I've also heard Maneja Beto's interview on "Rock y Roll Radio", I've met Nelson and Patrick and these guys are down to earth and guys you would have as friends. I will wait for Maneja Beto to re-emerge, patiently I hope.