Off the heels of their 16-date “No Wall” North America Tour, Mexican ska-rock band Panteón Rococó returns to Orange County on Nov. 25 to play the La Tocada Fest at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Lead vocalist Luis Román Ibarra, better known as Dr. Shenka, said the return to the O.C. is “very special” to the 10-member band.
“Every year we play in Orange County, and it’s a very special place for us,” said Dr. Shenka of the group that started in Mexico 22 years ago and first began touring the United States in 2000. “There are a lot of Mexican people there, so every time we play in Anaheim, it’s a big party and concert. At the same time, it’s a reunion point for all the people that are working every day. For one day and one night, they have the opportunity to come to our concert, have fun and rediscover their roots.”
La Tocada Fest, which begins at 6 p.m. with doors at 5 p.m., will also include performances by Molotov, Mago de Oz, El Tri and more.
Dr. Shenka said Panteón Rococó first played the festival three years ago and the group enjoys its vibe.
“We’re happy to return to the festival,” he said. “We have a lot of expectations for it because we love the Orange County crowds. We’re excited to be on the stage with a lot of Mexican rock ‘n’ roll bands. We all play different types of music, but at the same time, I think we enjoy playing together and showing the crowd these values of unity and rock ‘n’ roll.”
In September 2016, a year before Mexico was devastated by a large magnitude earthquake, Panteón Rococó played at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City. They invited their most loyal fans to vote among the band’s entire repertoire and create a set list.
Although Panteón Rococó started off during the Mexican ska movement of the 1990s, their songs have since expanded to include elements of other genres, inspired by the band’s travels around the world.
“We want to spread a message that no matter what we play — ska, reggae, hip-hop, pop or rock — we enjoy it and we try to teach to our audience the value of the music,” he said. “Music has the power to unite people.”
The La Tocada performance wraps up Panteón Rococó’s “No Wall” tour, one of the group’s largest tours to date. Following the tour, the band plans to work on a new album to be released next year.
The band recently toured under the same “No Wall” name in Germany, aiming at the Berlin Wall decades ago, with more than 10 shows in cities like Hamburg, Nyon, Berlin and Munich. Now, in North America, the tour name describes the situation between the United States and Mexico, with President Donald Trump’s proposed wall.
“We were thinking about the situation that this is happening again right now between the U.S. and Mexico,” Dr. Shenka said. “These kinds of things make us feel so sad. It’s so sad to go back on the past, and this kind of wall is like we’re living in Berlin in the 1950s and ’60s. A lot of people died and were separated from their families.”
While Panteón Rococó is often referred to as a political band, Dr. Shenka insists the group is more of a social group.
“We don’t only have to sing about the politics,” he said. “We sing about social environments. We talk about situations that we are living or seeing.”
He said the songs have connected the countries the band has played in because they’re all about situations people can relate to, no matter where they are.
Dr. Shenka wants listeners of the music to understand that “Mother Earth is really falling down.”
“These kinds of things, like the recent earthquake in Mexico or the hurricane in Houston, deserve special attention,” he said.
Panteón Rococó plays La Tocada Fest, presented by Cerveza Modelo, with bands like Molotov, Mago de Oz, El Tri and more on Nov. 25 at the Anaheim Concention Center, 800 West Katella Avenue. Tickets are $85 and the event is open to all ages. For tickets and more information, visit www.latocadafestival.com.