Live review: Molotov Burns

It’s been a long time since the

word “alternative” meant anything in the music industry. But “alternative Latin” — the phrase used to describe the Latin American rap, rock and metal bands who played King West’s dilapidated Lamport Stadium Sunday night — is completely accurate.These bands have been breaking into the mainstream thanks to festivals like the Watcha Tour, a slate strictly for Spanish-speaking groups who have pushed past the pop-singer, Caribbean-salsa-techno dance and banda styles that dominate Latin music.

While the bands on this, Toronto’s first-ever festival lineup — including La Ley, Juanes and Los Enanitos Verdes — were solid performers, the best were Mexican rap-metal band Molotov.

Known as Mexico’s answer to the Beastie Boys, Molotov played a 35-minute set that gave the crowd a taste of the angst-ridden, socially conscious rock-rap proliferating over North America these days.

Starting with a version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, singer/guitarist Tito Fuentes stirred up the flag-waving, foot-shuffling crowd singing half in English, half in Spanish. Then the stocky Fuentes dropped his guitar and traded places with drummer Randy Ebright for a well-timed, neatly executed gangster-style call-out.

Bassist Mickey Huidobro took the mike for the Deftones-inspired nihilism of Parasito before handing it back to Fuentes, who wrapped up the show with an amusing song about sleazy men who sleep around. The tune’s sardonic wit and incisive guitar brought to mind the classic skate-punk of early Suicidal Tendencies.

Despite the late start, the threat of rain and a stadium whose walls acted like sound trampolines, Molotov proved a most compelling reason for any gringo to learn some Spanish.

Originally published in NOW on August 23-30, 2001