Last month, on a cold, Monday morning I was driving to work and heard a catchy tune on 90.5 WYEP. The song “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” by Chicano Batman has been stuck in my head and even earned a spot on my everyday Spotify playlist. WYEP featured this song as part of new music Monday, timely as Chicano Batman released a new album, Freedom isn’t Free, at the beginning of March. The Los Angeles based band is now on tour with a stop in Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at James Street Gastropub.
The song “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” is the kind of catchy tune that you want to hear on a Monday morning or an afternoon of running errands. Both the name of the song and the word Batman stuck with me. I think I associate Batman with Pittsburgh and thanks to @WYEPplayed it was easy for me to find the name of the song later that afternoon.
The quartet have been getting a lot of press since the release of their new album:
- LA Weekly – Chicano Batman Bring the Sounds of Latino L.A. to the Rest of America
- LA Times – Chicano Batman takes on the 800-pound gorilla with ‘Freedom Is Free’
- NPR: All Things Considered – Chicano Batman: A Sound And Vision That Could Only Come From Los Angeles
While I do love Pittsburgh, I will admit that I have quite a crush on the city of Los Angeles. I’ve had the good fortune of making a few visits there of the past decade or so and I am always eager to go back. Los Angeles has a bit of reputation from its Hollywood side, but if you look past the movie stars facade, the city has a grit and authenticity that reminds me a little bit of Pittsburgh.
Not only am I a fan of the Chicano Batman sound, I am also a huge fan of the style. Who doesn’t love a ruffled tuxedo shirt? The band commented on this fashion choice last week in Rolling Stone (Chicano Batman is on the RS list of “10 Artists You Need to Know” for March 2017):
They Say: What about those tuxes? “The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Los Freddy’s and all these bands from Venezuela and Latin America were rocking them on the covers of their records in the Sixties and Seventies, so that’s definitely an inspiration,” says frontman Bardo Martinez. “Our bassist, Eduardo [Arenas], was the one who actually suggested, ‘Hey, let’s get suited and booted!’ He threw it down. We’re all aesthetically on that boat, but he’s the one who actually stepped into the vintage shop – and it was a stroke of luck that what he bought fit everybody in the band. Off the rack, man! It’s been 10 years, brother, and we’ve gone through a few of them. We try to keep it classic, man; we try to keep it polyester.”
On April 2, for the very affordable Pittsburgh price of $15 you can listen to Chicano Batman live at the James Street Gastropub.