The Majestic Ventura Theater Presents
Chicano Batman - SOLD OUT!!
Hanni El Khatib, Thee Commons
26 S. Chestnut St.
Ventura, CA, 93001
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM (event ends at 11:45 PM)
This event is all ages
Hanni El Khatib
On his 2011 debut 'Will The Guns Come Out,' Hanni El Khatib tried something he'd never tried before -- making a bedroom-style recording of his then stripped-to-the-skeleton guitar-and-drums rock 'n' roll mostly for the sheer joy of making it. For his ferocious 2013 follow-up 'Head In The Dirt,' he tried something new again, showing up at producer Dan Auerbach's analog-dreamland Nashville studio with nothing but the clothes on his back and an open mind.
But after 'Head In The Dirt''s release and almost a year of relentless touring, Hanni knew he needed to go past 'unpredictable' all the way to 'unprecedented.' He needed isolation, time and the chance to experiment. So after 30 days locked in hand-picked L.A. studio The Lair, the result is the album 'Moonlight' -- the rarest and most welcome kind of album, made at that perfect point in life where confidence, experience, and technique unite to help an artist do anything they want.
That's why it starts with a song that sounds like a Mobb Deep beat under a Suicide-style synth drone and ends with an ESG-meets-LCD Soundsystem gone italo-disco song about life and death. That's why it collides crushing crate-digger drumbeats that'd be right at home on a Can LP or an Eddie Bo 45 with bleeding distorto guitar, bent and broken barroom piano and hallucinatory analog flourishes. (In fact, some smart producer is going to sample the drums from this album and complete the circle of life.) And that's also why 'Moonlight' feels like the album he's always wanted to make: "What would it sound like if RZA got in the studio with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits?" he asks. "I don't know! That was my approach on everything."
It's a personal album in the most primal sense, put together in any way that worked. Iggy Pop and David Bowie did this kind of thing on 'The Idiot,' the Wu-Tang Clan did it on '36 Chambers' and the Clash did it three times over on 'Sandinista.' And now it's Hanni's turn, across 11 new lightning-struck songs, each written and recorded in its own flash of inspiration. It sounds like an album made by an endless list of collaborators, but really 'Moonlight' was more like the first do-it-almost-all-yourself music Hanni ever made, except after six years recording and touring, he'd learned to do so much more.
Since banding together in 2012, psychedelic cumbia-punk quartet Thee Commons have made waves in and around their hometown of East LA. Featuring los hermanos Pacheco and one of several lively session bassists and recently added saxophonist, these romp ‘n’ rollers have managed not only to marry two unlikely genres -- world’s apart -- in perfect pastiche harmony but also are planning to spread this East L.A. sound all throughout the USA this summer. Altogether, Thee Commons have played well over a hundred shows, gaining in the process hundreds more in fans -- those eager for something new to call their own. They have performed at several of Southern California’s prestigious venues, including The Echoplex of Echo Park, The Teragram Ballroom – both of which they’ve headlined -- The Regent Theatre of Downtown Los Angeles, and the Observatory of Santa Ana; have been hosted for a residency by pocho wine bar Eastside Luv of Boyle Heights -- which consisted of a weekly burlesque-dancer-entangled-affair dubbed the “Cumbia Psicodelica Cabaret”; and have opened up for such acts as Chicano Batman, Bomba Estereo, Bombino and even unofficially -- by way of an impromptu guerilla-style street show -- for The Pixies.
Discographically, Thee Commons’ “DIT” (do it together) hard work ethic has yielded them a debut 7-inch vinyl EP paradoxically titled Sunburn at Midnight -- self-released spring 2013 -- and a fragmented compilation entitled Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors, which is to say an 8-volume limited edition EP series, the volumes of which they released successively throughout 2014 -- and which have since sold out. (Fun fact: the first volume cover was illustrated by drummer René Pacheco, and the remaining seven were designed by frontman David Pacheco.) As of 2015, however, Rock is Dead is available, via their bandcamp, as a full-feature 20-song CD, as a specialty, limited edition cassette originally released by the independent O.C. label Burger Records, and as a limited edition 10-inch -- 10-song -- vinyl. Apart from these endeavors, they have also created musical scores to two film productions, one to underground 1920’s silent film _ and the other to a children’s animated video book entitled Forest Friends, a Producciones con Sal collaborative effort which can be found on YouTube.
Looking forward, 2016 has seen a second run of their 10-inch vinyl -- released by Burger -- a new 7-inch vinyl that includes their refreshing cover of Los Saico’s “Demolicion,” as well as a new full-length album "Loteria Tribal" --released by Burger as well-- featuring a repertoire of songs that further bridge the gap between a Latino and non-Latino demographic. Needless to say, the future looks auspicious for these young and determined “chunsters” who doggedly strive to take their music throughout the U.S.A. this summer and perfect their hypnotic yet invigorating act -- which includes an intertextual take on Nirvana's “Love Buzz” and a grungy cover of Selena’s “Baila Esta Cumbia”-- and disseminate the perfect pastiche that is psychedelic cumbia punk. -Martin Cossio