By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
PRIMER JARIPEO DEL AÑO
ARROWHEAD POND, ANAHEIM
SUNDAY, FEB. 16
Now that the stench has somewhat dissipated from the bull plop that was this year's Primer Jaripeo del Año, here are some recommendations for the organizers if they want to make it smell like roses next February:
•Don't make the cheapest tickets $40 if the audience is overwhelmingly made up of working-class Mexicans and the economy is tanking.Years past saw the Pond filled to capacity for the many top-name Mexican regional acts the annual Jaripeo brings. But years past also saw a robust financial landscape—and Bush II took care of that quick. End result: an almost-half-empty arena ready to booze it up.
•Rodeos deserve lively bulls, not doggies ready for the glue factory.Dirt and shit covered the Pond floor, remnants of a Friday/Saturday bull-riding tour. Concert organizers borrowed a few steers from the troupe to take advantage of the conditions and fulfill the name of the damn event (jaripeo signifies an all-day rodeo in Mexican Spanish). The poor animals were lethargic, barely reacting to the stirrup stabs of the pseudo-cowboys. What was supposed to be a crowd-pleaser instead made the audience drink; if they wanted to see lazy cows, they'd mosey on over to Wal-Mart.
•Mexicans like to dance. Let them dance.It doesn't matter if the beats blare from a banda, conjunto norteño or even a mariachi—Mexican regional music is designed to gracefully move asses. But Pond personnel quickly reprimanded anyone who tried to dance in the aisles or narrow seat rows. The already-out-of-it crowd took deeper gulps of their spilling beer to numb their restless feet.
•Nepotism and concerts should never mix.Juan Rivera was the event's first major act. His claim to fame is that he's the older brother of ranchera titan/annual Jaripeo headliner Lupillo Rivera. Juan's performance proved he should stick to stuffing press packets for his younger bro; he did little more than promote his new CD between half-versions of songs while his troops patrolled the Pond brandishing said waste of recording. Juan finished with an off-key usurpation of the Mexican classic "El Abandonado." The crowd consumed more hooch.
•DJs never make great recording artists. Ask Rick Dees.Following Juan was former KBUE-FM 105.5 La Que Buena morning DJ Rocio "La Peligrosa" Sandoval. But the only danger Sandoval posed was to concertgoers' eardrums. She unleashed a harpy-esque "Woo!" between every song, trying vainly to rouse the crowd. It didn't work. "Fuck, it's Valentine's Day! Be happy!" she exasperatedly commented at one point. Sandoval devoted the rest of her sucky set to finishing as fast as possible. The audience belched yelps of gratitude between beers.
•Allot more time for the truly stellar acts.Nearly saving the Jaripeo was Adolfo Urías and his Monterrey-style sax-heavy conjunto norteño. The crowd awoke from its drunken stupor, tapping their feet to Urías' pleasing polka. But he was inexplicably whisked off the stage after half an hour. The same fate befell Julio Preciado and his Banda Perla del Pacífico. The roly-poly Preciado sang all of his whiny hits—"Acábame de Matar" and "Dos Hojas sin Rumbo" being the best—backed by his unique norteño/banda ensemble. The Flaming Flames-tight Perla del Pacífico was at its salmon-suit best, their shrill clarinets waltzing around a stern tuba with a trilling accordion serving as a soothing counterpoint to all the brass. Many in the audience put down their $5 beers, defied Pond orders and stomped to La Perla's booming version of the zapateada standard "El Sinaloense." Then Preciado left. The crowd resumed imbibing.
•Headliners should headline.Headliner Lupillo Rivera followed Preciado, but why? So he could go back to pleasing his filing-for-divorce wife? The Long Beach native walked around the Pond's filthy floor throughout his hour-long set surrounded by Staff Pro gorillas. There was a reason for the Hessians: people kept rushing up to Rivera, stumbling over numerous fences in the hopes of shaking his hand. It's hard to explain this hero worship: sure, Rivera possesses a strong voice that improves every year, but he still has the annoying habit of ripping off every great ranchera singer since Jorge Negrete. Tonight, Lupillo decided to belt many Vicente Fernández songs, but the chump Chente wasn't worthy of trimming Fernández's mustache.
•No, really. Headliners should headline.Los Tucanes de Tijuana took the stage after Rivera finished. They would have been the perfect closer—about six years ago. But Los Tucanes long ago decided to trade in their hilarious narcocorridos for ultrawussy love songs, which helped the half-empty Pond empty out another half. Those leaving made sure to take their liquor with them; those remaining bought more. (Gustavo Arellano)