La Mezcalaria is a combination pizza joint (best in town!), mescal bar and mostly DJ-driven music venue in downtown Ajijic. It is known for a young to old crowd, both expat and Mexican (the expats tend to be the older ones). The interior features 60-style psychedelic murals, graffiti in English and Spanish, flashing lights, and a very futuristic sound system. Of course, it was closed by the pandemic, as were all music venues in the Lakeside area and Guadalajara.
Bu, the rules have been relaxed in Lakeside by the government in Chapala and restaurants that serve food and socially distance can offer music. La Mezcalaria ramped up its pizza bar, pulled back its moveable ceiling to make it an outdoor space, and put out a disinfectant mat and dispenser at the door, so it can now have music. The scene inside was not quite all Covid protocol perfect (few places are) when I was there last night, but I had no problem being socially distanced from the other fans who turned out for Yanin Saavedra’s going away concert.
Last night was the third going away concert/party for Yanin. Unquestionably the top singer/songwriter in the region, and the most famous with a critically acclaimed album out that has generated fans in the US as well as Mexico, when she announced she was moving to Tulum in southern Mexico “for a while”, her local fans were devastated. But things change in music, she and her bandmates decided to go in a different direction, her wanderlust got the best of her (she lived in France for a while and added French songs to her repertoire), tourism was coming back to the resorts in the Yucatán and it was time for a change.
However, a force like Yanin does not leave quietly, or at least her fans will not let her. There was the party last Thursday at a private home, which involved a lot people attesting to their love for her and her music, there was a concert at a country club last weekend where she and her former bass player Gilberto Ros and singer/guitarists game a rousing concert to around fifty (the limit for Covid social-distancing in the clubhouse) fans, and then the Yanin lovefest concert at La Mezcaleria.
The concert started at 9:30pm, early for Mexico but since it was a week night, La Mezcalaria had an 11 pm closing time (I am not sure they actually closed, maybe just ended the music). The crowd began gathering early and Yanin kicked things off right on time with songs from her album, Búsqueda. I got there just as she was launching into the first song, notice that social distance was starting to get a little rare so I grabbed a seat on the concrete bench adjacent to the stage, six feet from the nearest audience member and 5 feet from Gilberto Rio’s standup bass and music stand
Yanin rocked the place, taking advantage of Miguel Soto’s drum skills and Rios’s ability play virtually any genre on the electric upright bass, backed by the hot guitar licks of Alvaro Medeles she shifted into reggae to the delight of the crowd. The mescal flowed, the music jumped, and people had a great time. We will miss her a lot.
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