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Just follow the music, the door crowd and the cloud of sweet-smelling smoke

Sometimes I  just like to just go a bar or club blasting loud rock .  It doesn’t matter who is playing, or what kind of music it is, it will always be fun.

Sometimes I  just like to just go a bar or club blasting loud rock through a crowd of people hanging around outside, talking and smoking dope.  It doesn’t matter who is playing, or what kind of music it is, it will always be fun.

Which is why I found myself at the El Camaleón, Friday night.

It wasn’t hard, since El Camaleón is three doors down from my studio  in downtown Ajijic.  As far as I know it has been there for at least a quarter century, sporting various  exterior paint jobs but always remaining one of the most colorful buildings in a town of colorful buildings.

It was late Friday night, I was downtown putting some equipment away in my studio when I walked out and heard really good retro blues rock pouring out of the El Camaleón,  saw a noisy crowd outside the door, and sniffed a cloud of sweet smelling smoke wafting my way.

Since El Camaleón and I  had been neighbors for three years, I knew the woman who owns it and I had spent enough time in it to know she programmed music to please crowds.  I had covered her celebration of the Woodstock 50th and loved the bands.  They may have been cover bands but they were very good covers bands – and besides, what else would you  want for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

So I elbowed my way in past retired gyrating Expat women who could have been at the original Woodstock, Mexican 20-somethings bopping to the 4/4 beat like they had been raised on it (probably were), and some of my music fan buddies who were just hanging out.

I got the last seat at the bar  – about 2 feet from the lead singer who looked like  a thin version of Jim Morrison, which came in handy in the third set which was The  Doors.  I ordered a reposado and a coke on the side, and  kicked back for some fun.

I was not disappointed.  The band that night was the Tekila Blues and Roll Band, out of Guadalajara.  I had seen posters for them around Lakeside but this was the first time I experienced them, and “experienced” is the right word.  They rocked!… and in a very tight space, with almost no light, and lots of happy dancing, drinking people, Tekila Blues and Roll filled out my senses. I only wish I had brought  video lights.

A five piece mostly cover rock band – Joseluis Lomelimacias  on  guitar, Enrique Gonzalez  on  guitar, Voltta Corleone on  vocals, Ricardo Rueda on drums and Waldo Haro on  guitar – played  Expat  dance favorites like “Black Magic Woman”, Blue Suede Shoes”, and “All Shook Up”, but they put an energy into it that blew me away, and I listen to about 200 songs a week.

A drum solo that lasted almost 10 minutes during “Black Magic Woman” was amazing (and you know how I hate to use that word);   electric guitar solos  that were off the chart; and vocals that gave 150%, showed that clearly this band has a lot more in the tank than covers from our happy past.

Corleone told me during the break that an album of original music is in the works, and I can hardly wait.  In the meantime, next time they play El Camaleón in Ajijic, or The Hard Rock in Guadalajara, I will be there. I will just follow the music, the door crowd and the cloud of sweet smoke.

Patrick O’Heffernan



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (442 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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