Sasquatch! Music Festival, Day 3: Chicano Batman

all photos by Matthew B. Thompson

Few bands worked Sasquatch‘s main stage better than Chicano Batman. The L.A. four-piece played a lively set on Sunday afternoon, infusing latin rock with elements of psychedelia, funk, and soul in an hour-long performance.

Frontman Bardo Martinez was quite the showman, testing the limits of his microphone cable as he strutted across the stage. One of his favorite moves was to leap feet into the air from behind his keyboard to the lip of the stage, as if he couldn’t bear to be too far from the enthusiastic crowd. During set-closing, nine-minute soul odyssey “Itotiani,” Martinez slid his right hand down the keys, jumped, spinning 360° to face his instrument again, and immediately slid his other hand up again, all in the space of about a second. Martinez was airborne so often, in fact, that I’d almost suggest he consider becoming a pilot.

Not that he or any of the band needs a back-up plan. Eduardo Arenas positively vibrated, holding down fast-paced, groovy bass lines from the back of the stage. Guitarist Carlos Arévalo stood in contrast at the front of the stage, ripping off lick after lick with the calm of a seasoned veteran. Altogether, Chicano Batman sounded as tight as ever, nailing every song transition and sudden tempo change. Dressed in their trademark matching navy blue jackets, they looked like an old-school soul revue, and performed just as well. It’s clearly for good reason that the band has gained increased exposure in the last few years, opening for Jack White and becoming a major draw on the summer festival circuit. It has been nearly ten years coming since the band’s formation, but now that they’ve gotten to the main stage, Chicano Batman are here to stay. We wouldn’t have it another way.

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