My head was bleeding after running into a metal gate as I raced to catch the bus. I could hear my mom’s worried voice on the phone, pressed against my ear, telling me to put some alcohol on it, then rest some ice on it. “I don’t have time for that,” I told her. “I need to be somewhere. Now.” I had to get to Zoé.
There was a line around the block when I got to Antone’s, the Texas sun excruciating even at 8 PM. The line moved quickly, but if you didn’t have a ticket already, there were men at the door waiting to tell you it was too late. The famous Mexican band sold out their Austin show, just like they sold out the first 20-something shows they played the past month for their U.S. tour. The tour was scheduled for their latest project, Música de Fondo/MTV Unplugged and promised lots of surprises for long-time fans, including bringing back songs they hadn’t played in years.
It wasn’t surprising that Antone’s was packed with Mexicans, latinos, hispanics, whatever you wanna call them (us). Ages 18 to mid-30s. All of them drinking imported beer, dancing around to DJ Manolo Black’s playlist that made me feel like I was in México more than when I am in México. Sounds of Molotov and Café Tacvba boomed through the dark venue as women dressed in tight gold dresses passed around free shots of Jack Daniels.
The crowd had to wait for over two hours for Zoé, so when the band finally took the stage, everyone had a nice buzz on. Now I don’t know if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but when lead singer León took the stage, he just looked so exhausted. The whole band looked washed out and absentminded as the show began. It was a good set, the crowd energetic and appreciative as the beloved band went through iconic songs like “No Me Destruyas” and “Vía Láctea.” The girliest screams took over as “Corazón Atómico” played, the fans pressing against the stage as the musicians swayed along to the music they, quite frankly, looked tired of playing.
The show was good, every song well-played, León suddenly singing through a megaphone, much to the crowd’s excitement. The drums were tight and energetic, and as “Nada” began, I thought the guy next to me was going to orgasm. But it was obvious that this particular show was near the end of their tour. There was no communication with the eager audience, not that many seemed to mind. But when the band stepped off the stage after a quick “Thank you and good night” there were murmurs of shock. It had been a surprisingly short set, and suddenly shouts and complaints filled the place, some simply yelling and others swearing (in Spanish, of course) and whining in disbelief. There were, after all, some major gaps in their set list—and even over the loud buzz of Spanish, you could hear song titles being mentioned, as in, “Dude, they didn’t even play—insert favorite Zoé song here–!”
After a few nerve-racking minutes, Zoé came back and the fans went crazy with their last songs. Suddenly their world made sense again, dancing along to “Reptilectric,” “Miel” and “Soñé,” which were played, in all honesty, with a lot more energy—as if after a quick little pick-me-up. It wasn’t the most satisfying show, I could tell, for a lot of audience members. Many complained, and others were happy and grateful just to have seen such an important band live. Zoé has been around for over 16 years and is respected and loved well throughout their country and beyond. So naturally, there were those who were dissatisfied and others who would have been content with anything. Me? I had fun. I danced around. I enjoyed the music. But I don’t know if it was worth risking a concussion over.
Live photos by Mari Hernandez.