Sonicnet Music News
The lineup for the Watcha 2000 Tour, the rock en español extravaganza that includes Mexico's edgy Café Tacuba and hip-hop/rock hybrid Molotov, Colombia's pop/trip-hop duo Aterciopelados, veteran Argentina rockeros Enanitos Verdes, and East L.A.'s worldly Ozomatli, is so impressive that even the bands are excited.
"For us it is a very good thing to play in big venues with other great groups. We are very proud to be part of this tour," Enanitos Verdes (Green Dwarves) singer/bassist Marciano Cantero said from a rehearsal studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Darryl Eaton is equally proud to be associated with the second coming of the Watcha (Spanglish for "check it out") Tour, which debuts August 11 in Universal City, California.
Eaton, a Creative Artists Agency representative, started the Watcha Tour last year along with Kevin Lyman (with whom he had created the Vans Warped Tour) and Latin band manager Jorge Mondragón. Eaton,
who is Molotov's agent, recalled being invited by Mondragón to the "Vive Latino" concert, a two-day showcase for rock en español bands, in November 1998.
"I asked Kevin Lyman... 'What if we took out the U.S. bands and added in Latin bands? Just kept the same production, the same stages, and dropped all the Anglo bands in Miami?,'" he said. "It was a total experiment, but something we just decided to try to do."
Last year's Watcha Tour was remarkably successful for a new event, Eaton said. "The amazing thing is, the first-year Watcha actually did better numbers than the first-year Warped Tour. And the Warped Tour has now been around six years, and we're probably going to see 400,000-plus people this year [for Warped] in the U.S. alone."
Last year's Watcha lineup of "alter-Latino" bands included Café Tacuba (which returns to the latest edition after opening a tour for Beck earlier this year), Todos Tus Muertos, Argentina's Illya Kuryaki, and Puerto Rico's Puya.
"I think we were lucky in that we had great bands. It was just a great collection of very talented bands in the area of rock en español," Eaton said.
Eaton also is trying to entice the Warped Tour fans to attend this year's Watcha, which includes an August 14 showcase in New York in conjunction with the Latin Alternative Music Conference.
Last year, Molotov played on both bills. This summer, Argentine metal rock outfit A.N.I.M.A.L. is doing the same. (Warped wraps August 6 in El Paso, Texas.)
"That's what we're hoping. We try to put one of the rock en español bands on the Warped Tour every year," Eaton said.
Watcha 2000 is loaded with bands such as Argentina's Enanitos Verdes, who have a following in the United States but nothing compared to what they have in South America. In 1995 they played to 60,000 people on a beach in Lima, Peru. "We have pictures," singer/bassist Cantero said, as if he couldn't quite believe it himself.
will be emphasizing their latest album, 1999's "Nectar," which includes the anthem "Cordillera" (Mountain Range) and the ominous sax- and flute-spiked "Tequila." But "we will be playing songs from all our albums," Cantero said. He'll be joined by guitarist Felipe Staiti, drummer Daniel Piccolo, and guest guitarist Marcelo Lucero.
Twice nominated for Grammy Awards, Enanitos Verdes have 11 albums in all, including 1996's "Guerra Gaucha," which was produced by friend Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers). In fact, having been around since 1979 (with a brief separation at the start of the '90s), the trio is older than the Watcha Tour's target audience.
The musicians speak to the history of rock en español, especially in Argentina, where they don't even represent the first generation of rockeros.
"We have a little bit of Argentinean music, but not the traditional or the folk music. But we have a lot of years hearing Argentine rock, with musicians like
Luis Alberto Spinetta and Charly Garcia," Cantero said.
"When I was a kid, I hear Spinetta and Charly Garcia," he added. "So we have a lot of background in the rock of Argentina."
The current itinerary for Watcha 2000:
- 8/11 - Universal City, CA @ Universal Amphitheatre
- 8/12 - Chula Vista, CA @ Coors Amphitheatre
- 8/13 - San Jose, CA @ Santa Clara Fairgrounds
- 8/14 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza (Watcha Showcase)
- 8/16 - Denver, CO @ Fillmore
- 8/18 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon
- 8/19 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew's Hall
- 8/22 - Worchester, MA @ Palladium
- 8/23 - New York, NY @ Tunnel
- 8/25 - Santo Domingo, DR @ Quisqueya Stadium
- 8/26 - San Juan, PR @ Hiram Bithorn Amphitheatre
- 8/27 - Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park