The Influential Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Make Dallas Their Sole Texas Stop

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs picked up two awards at the Latin Grammys for their rock opera, La Salvación de Solo y Juan.EXPAND
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs picked up two awards at the Latin Grammys for their rock opera, La Salvación de Solo y Juan.
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
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Los Fabulosos Cadillacs play the Bomb Factory on Tuesday, March 28

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs hail from Buenos Aires, a land of explosive political turmoil and choice beef. The rock/ska band has become as intrinsic to the South American musical fabric as the tango. Next week, they'll bring a taste of Latin America to the Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum, their only tour stop in Texas.

Unlike other contemporary Argentine rock bands like Soda Stereo, Los Cadillacs reflect a number of Afro-Latin influences, including salsa, reggae, cumbia and murga. The latter, a gritty, carnival big-band style that emerged from the streets of Argentina and Uruguay, is best demonstrated in "Matador," their whistle-marked 1994 hit with haunting war-like drums that make it seem both politically charged and festive. It was four years after the single's release that the band earned their first Latin Grammy for the album Fabulosos Calavera.

This past November, the Cadillacs performed at the 2016 Latin Grammy ceremony, picking up two more awards for their new release, a concept album called La Salvación de Solo y Juan. It was their first studio album in nearly two decades. The rock opera, which is presented in three acts, marks a departure from the upbeat sound the band has been known for, into demure psych rock akin to Pink Floyd. It tells a fictional story about two brothers with a surprising elegance and sonic maturity.

The scope of the band's influence is certainly felt among Dallas' popular Latin bands. Renato Rimach, the frontman for Mayta, says that he still remembers the first time he heard "Matador."

"Their lyrics were political, raw, romantic and very South American, and after that it was their energy and rhythm section," he says. "The older I get the more I understand their music."

His brother and bandmember Victor Rimach, a promoter who's brought in Latin American acts for the past five years for the Indie Rock Latin America showcase, recalls discovering the band through the same song, although his memory is more pensive. "It did create a bit of fear and anxiety because of the lyrics and music. Later on they became more dancey," he says, pointing to the group's fusion of jazz, metal, son cubano, reggae and merengue.

Dallas rock band Supersonic Lips' drummer Jawdat Anguiano says that the Cadillacs have influenced him and his band. Anguiano grew up hearing their hit songs on the beaches of Mexico. But it was after he'd moved to the United States that he discovered a track called "El Muerto," which is the one that really blew him away. "It's such a funky song with lots of Latin percussion which suddenly switched to death metal," Anguiano says. "It was great, it allowed me to see a world in music without boundaries."

Since their first album release in 1986, the Cadillacs' career has included a collaboration on Vasos Vacíos with legendary salsa singer Celia Cruz, and a campy Spanglish cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever" with Debbie Harry. The band has gone through some changes in lineup, most notably after the sudden death of percussionist Gerardo Rotblat in 2008. The band went on a six-year hiatus, and members including lead singer Vicentico worked on their solo projects.

The current tour is their first with new members. Vicentico's son, Florian Capello, is playing guitar, and Astor Ciancarullo is joining on drums. Astor's father Flavio is the bass player and one of the band's primary songwriters. Re-joining the band is saxophonist Sergio Rotman of Cienfuegos.

The U.S. leg of the band's world tour started in Los Angeles and will end with a date at Madison Square Garden. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs will be performing in Dallas on Tuesday, March 28, with opener Los Skarnales from Houston and Dallas' Skarmas.

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., $75 to $250, thebombfactory.com.

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