Chicano Batman packed Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) for their second night in New York City. The fall tour supports their album Freedom Is Free, released in March. The album is among Billboard’s Best Albums of 2017 So Far and was recorded at Diamond Mine Recordings in nearby Long Island City. The tour kicked off in their hometown of Los Angeles late September, with three sold-out shows at The Fonda Theatre.
Openers Khruangbin & The Shacks started off the evening with mellow vibes and some instrumental tracks that felt almost improvised. The tempo eventually revved up a bit to pump-up the audience in preparation for the energetic headliners. Chicano Batman blends the sounds of soul, Brazilian Tropicalía and a bit of old school R&B. Like the well-dressed performers of their 1970’s predecessors, these are show men. You can see a display of that showmanship in their debut Conan performance filmed earlier this year.
Die-hard fans filled pushed closer to the stage for the best views and interaction with the band. Many sang along in both the English and Spanish songs. One fan from L.A. yelled “Órale!” after the band played “Friendship (is a Small Boat in a Storm)” which is is Mexican/Chicano term with lots of meanings, but in this case translates to “hell yeah!”. New York band Mariachi Flor de Toloache are guest vocalists on the recorded track and have surely added to their local fan base.
The band’s latest music video “Freedom is Free” released just last month, explores the heavy subject of oppression in its many forms. The upbeat tempo, funky bassline, smooth vocals and the fact you can’t help but smile when singing along may have you shocked that the video is so graphic, but the band pushes through the positive message to also show what it’s like to have your freedom threatened. “Freedom is a word that describes one of our best states of being,” says the band. “It’s a birthright, subject only to the infinite flow of the elements. When we fight abusive governing bodies or oppressive forces that try to control our freedom, we are actually fighting them to accept something which is universal in nature.”
The band continues their tour across the states through November, and most of those dates they’ll be playing with Khruangbin & The Shacks.
Warsaw | 261 Driggs Ave