Photos by Adrian Jusue
Frontman Rubén Albarrán
Here’s what you should know about a Café Tacvba concert: No matter how many times you have seen them live, every single show is like seeing them for the first time. The legendary Mexican rock band is always reinventing itself. This versatility has allowed them to maintain their popularity and longevity, even when several years go by in between releasing albums.
Their eighth studio album, Jei Beibi
(pronounced “Hey baby”), was released in early May, and the Mexican quartet –- composed of Rubén Albarrán, Joselo Rangel, Quique Rangel, and Emmanuel del Real –- is currently on tour promoting the album.
The NiuGüeis Tour made its way to Oakland’s Fox Theater last night, and it was a sight to be seen. Concert-goers began congregating outside of the venue early in the afternoon, although the show didn't start until 9 p.m. By that time, the lines to get into the Fox Theater wrapped around the building and spilled over onto side streets.
Once inside the venue, a group of friends chatted excitedly: “What if this is their last tour? What if this is the last album?” one friend told another. The Mexican rock band has been going strong since 1989, and in the ‘90s, during the golden era of rock en español, Café Tacvba reigned supreme. Their 1994 album, Re
, was labeled one of the ten greatest Latin rock albums of all time by Rolling Stone
It has been five years since Café Tacvba has released an album, and three since they last came to the Bay Area. (The band played a sold-out show at the Masonic in San Francisco in 2014.)
The band rammed through an extensive setlist, opening the show with the second single off the album, the track called "
Futuro," written by Joselo Rangel and sung by frontman Rubén Albarrán and Rangel. Classics like "El Aparato" and "Como Te Extraño Mi Amor" were also part of the repertoire.
There were two particularly magical moments of the night. The first was when Emmanuel del Real performed fan favorite "Eres," as every single person inside the Fox sang along.
The other was when Café Tacvba performed "Chilanga Banda," a song whose lyrics represent the vernacular of Mexico City’s working-class.
Before leaving the stage, Rubén Albarrán addressed the crowd, emphasizing that no one should be afraid to speak their mind, that women should be respected and not risk getting attacked. He also spoke of the need to take care of the planet, to respect all living organisms, and to stop the violence that plagues the world.
They closed the show with "
El baile y el salón," another classic off the Re
The NiuGüeis Tour will continue throughout the United States until October, and will culminate on December 1 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Correction: Our review stated that the band had not toured the Bay Area since 2014. The band played the Fox Theater and the Independent in 2015, and the Greek Theatre with Thievery Corporation in 2016.