Recently, one of the most active and open spaces for independent bands to present their music has been Mayagüez’s Off the Wall and last Friday, September 28th, the bar/restaurant served as the host for a presentation which featured the indie rock band Cologne and the punk group Topo Negro.
(promo for the event by Derick Joel)
Kicking off the show was the Moca-based band Cologne who, with their blend of indie, dance and prog rock, had the audience in attendance dancing, head banging and shaking their hips to songs like “El Último Baile” and eventually ended with what seemed like a heavy guitar driven version of their closing track “Ted Bundy Tuvo un Sueño de Justicia.”
(picture of Cologne by Fernando E. E. Correa González)
After Cologne’s performance, Topo Negro entered the stage led by their vocalist Ismael “Topo” Santiago to deliver what was an explosive display of punk rock which had the crowd in attendance moshing to songs like “Brujas en Sk8” and “Unleashed: Llamado.”
(picture of Topo Negro by Fernando E. E. Correa González)
In short, last Friday, September 28th, served as a great night for the independent music scene in Puerto Rico as two of the most active bands of the west took center stage of Mayagüez’s Off the Wall to deliver an escape for the community.
"Una Tacita de Arte": TEATRUM & El Loveshack Come Together to Provide an Open Space for Art to Fluorish
Now that the semester is slowly kicking in, starting a few “hell weeks” in the process, college students all over the west side of Puerto Rico are looking for ways to release stress and express themselves. Last night, September 12th, 2018, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaüez’s TEATRUM and local coffee shop El Loveshack came together to provide an open mic where the community at large could come and share their art, thoughts and ideas.
(promo for the event as found on social media)
In the midst of coffee and food, an audience close to thirty people came together last night to witness and participate in a space that would provide poetry, music, jokes and passionate life stories and when the clock hit 7:00pm that is exactly what happened. The event started with members of TEATRUM breaking the ice by sharing some of their music and literature, though others like poets Ketsia Ramos and Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez read some of their work too. However, after a while the public, which had many newcomers to this type of event, eventually took a step forward and started participating by reciting some of their poetry, anecdotes, singing and even performing some of their music.
(all of the pictures above were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez)
In short, last night’s TEATRUM-hosted open mic night in El Loveshack, “Una Tacita de Arte,” served as a great and very necessary space for the college community and those at large to express themselves and leave their built up stress out there while having a little bit of fun with a side dish of good food and coffee.
"Semilla de Fuego": Omar Iloy, Lxs de Abajo and Producciones Tabaquero Collaborate on Another Spoken Word Visual
If you are one to follow the the independent poetry and film movements in Puerto Rico, you might have been noticing the most recent collaborations between the west-based artists Omar Iloy, Lxs de Abajo and Producciones Tabaquero such as “Finca Soleda” and “Puñeta en Inglés.” In addition, you might have seen how their project "La Madre de Juracan" won prizes such as “Mejor Actor Masculino” and “Mejor Fotografia” at the Premios Latino de Iberoamerica 2018. Recently, in mid-August, the group got together once again to release their latest project, “Semilla de Fuego,” a spoken word visual that sees Omar Iloy presenting his blend of thought provoking poetry and music while touching on subject matter such as his life, politics, social issues and the current state of Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the presentation is enhanced by the simple yet poetic visuals by Producciones Tabaquero’s crew. Take a look at the video below.
With the release of Dan Siego’s debut full-length project, Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits, it was inevitable for them as one of the most active bands of the Puerto Rican indie scene to have two nights celebrating their production. Thus, last night at Mayagüez’s Off the Wall served as the first party for Dan Siego’s weekend-long party, which they did alongside the San Juan-based indie rock band Capitán Simón.
(promo for the show by Derick Joel)
Kicking off the night was Capitán Simón, a young psychedelic and space rock influenced indie band, which had audiences dancing and swinging from side to side with some of their danceable songs and other more melodic tunes. In short, the group’s space and ethereal sounds served as a good starter for the chaos that was to come with Dan Siego’s performance.
After Capitán Simón’s presentation, Dan Siego came in with a full display of power. Starting with two new songs that showed more noise and hardcore influences, the duo perfectly transmitted just enough energy for the rest of the adrenaline fueled, danceable and mosh pit driven night. In order to properly celebrate their debut project, Dan Siego performed each and every single track in the album along with their trademark jams and particular choice in samples that interconnect each song during their live performances. As usual, the group’s last few minutes had the band interacting with the crowd by having them play some of their instruments creating a fantastic environment between the musicians and the crowd.
In short, the celebration of Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits alongside Capitán Simón at Mayagüez’s Off the Wall last night was one to release every form of stress possible for the audience in attendance. It was a night full of melodies, danceable vibes and power driven tracks that had people moving their bodies in every way possible. In addition, the night was another example of what Dan Siego means to the community in the west of Puerto Rico and how they continue to encourage bands from the west to connect with those of the metro area. Moreover, the duo demonstrated that if one is really passionate about their work, one should continue to pursue and celebrate it when it is complete.
Find Dan Siego’s Bloodpuncher’s Greatest Hits on Spotify
Find Capitán Simón on Bandcamp
All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez
While the independent arts movement in Puerto Rico continues to grow, especially in the fields of literature, visuals and music, other art forms like performance and theater are also coming out to provide entertainment and social commentary on the island’s current political and socioeconomic status. Among the many presentations to balance these elements is CiRcO dE La pLaZa, which has been celebrated mainly in Mayagüez for the past four years. Mainly organized by members of the Vueltabajo Sitio collective, CiRcO dE La pLaZa has been known to be a series of events that bring together the community while providing entertainment, education and political commentary, and this year’s closure was no stranger to that.
Starting the event by walking from Taller Libertá towards the public plaza in Mayagüez, this year’s closure consisted of all sorts of puppets, dancers, musicians and performers. Among the many activities presented in the event were songs that inspired audience members to participate, storytelling for both pure entertainment and political commentary, music, spoken word poetry, acrobatics and theater performances which encouraged all sorts of participation and thinking.
Like in the previous seasons, CiRcO dE La pLaZa’s commitment to their community continues to stay alive and well. The group of performers still manage to entertain and inform their audiences with a variety of presentations that feature a wide variety of art forms from literature and visuals to performance and music making it a great place for people to gather around and connect while being entertained, informed and, probably, inspired
All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa Gonzalez
Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit, The Occulum and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.