SXSW Music Festival

Café Tacvba, Live In Concert: SXSW 2013

A playful, electronics-infused Mexican rock band, Café Tacvba found itself in an unusual spot on the Stubb's stage at SXSW on March 13: namely, bookended by Nick Cave and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, both of whom roll around seductively in far seedier corners of rock 'n' roll. Singing in Spanish to a largely English-language crowd, singer Rubén Albarrán had to get his points across through giddiness-induced goodwill, not to mention the live-wire showmanship of a rock star with a 20-year pedigree.

Which isn't to say Café Tacvba is strictly lighthearted; these guys understand their role as cultural ambassadors, and deftly mix serious politics into songs that just happen to bounce and surge with chant-along, jump-up-and-down urgency. El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco, the Tacvbos' first album in five years, finds them polishing that mix of heavy and light, of introspection and extroversion, until it shines.

Of course, it never hurts that Albarrán — one of Mexico's greatest and most beloved frontmen — still addresses crowds with the breathless excitement of a particularly fun-loving motivational speaker, whether he's renouncing corporatism or reveling in the transportive power of pleasure and dancing. It's a band with plenty of room for social consciousness, but also, late in this concert, an unapologetically choreographed dance routine worthy of the Backstreet Boys. As Albarrán himself says late in this disarming performance, "Let's dance! Free yourself!"

Set List
  • "El Baile Y El Salon"*
  • "Las Flores"
  • "Ingrata"
  • "Olita De Altamar"
  • "Volver A Comenzar"
  • "Chilanga Banda"
  • "Dejate Caer"
  • "Chica Banda"

* This track is not included in the video presentation.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Latin

Tiny Desk Concert with Mariachi Flor De Toloache Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Mariachi Flor De Toloache

While on tour with The Arcs, the powerhouse mariachi band performs live in the NPR Music offices.

Tiny Desk Concert with Gina Chavez Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Gina Chavez

The Austin singer-songwriter performs with intense openness, directness and warmth.

Carlos Waters/NPR

Tiny Desk

Rosa Díaz

The singer's lyrics reflect deeply felt emotions in this performance with cellist Daniel de Jesus.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor