Los Pacaminos at Buxton Arts Centre- The Magnificent Seven!
23rd September 2017
I had absolutely no idea what to expect with Los Pacaminos. They describe their music as 'tequila-fuelled tex mex', although as I know next to nothing about Tequila (or alcohol in general really...), Texan music or Mexican music, in relation to understanding more about the music before I saw the gig, that description wasn't really a lot of help! For those who are beginning to wonder what I was actually doing at this gig at all if I didn't know anything about the music the band claim to be playing, let me explain. The main attraction of the Pacs for myself was the fact that one of their members is Paul Young- yes, THAT Paul Young (by which I mean the Paul Young who was a hugely popular singer in the 80s and 90s, known for songs like 'Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)', and 'Come Back and Stay', as well as albums like 1983's 'No Parlez' which was number one in the U.K. charts for five weeks and sold in excess of 900,000 copies).
However, it turns out that Los Pacaminos's Tex Mex music is actually a kind of rock and roll crossed with South American country; its almost mockingly-raw sound could not be further from those slick, soul-infused '80s Paul Young records. Not that that's a bad thing. The music itself was in fact closer to that of one of Paul's pre-solo career groups, The Streetband (best remembered for their 1978 novelty track 'Toast') in that it was all very light-hearted and jovial. In fact, it was almost as if the whole band were acting out some sort of childhood fantasy- gracing the stage dressed as cowboys, playing the biggest and sparkliest guitars they can lay their hands on and being applauded merrily by a more-than-enthusiastic audience for it all too, all whilst downing shots of tequila faster than you can say 'No Parlez!' Talking of the audience, a lot of them had obviously seen the Pacs before; clapping during the songs often begun even before a prompt from one of the members of the band, and delighted whoops and cheers echoed around the auditorium every time Mr Young (or indeed any other members of the band, including the other two lead singers and guitarists Jamie Moses and Drew Barfield) stepped up to the mic or gave an apparently-characteristic hip wiggle.
Hilarity and mucking around aside, however, it was the little flourishes within the performance that really made The Pacs's gig so good. The vocal harmonies that seemed to come out of nowhere, their zany interactions with the audience, and even the occasional 'authentic' Spanish phrase thrown in for good measure all added to the wonderfully good-natured atmosphere. Yes, it was a bit chaotic at times- but it was beautifully chaotic. The fact that the band messed up once or twice only seemed to add to the rugged charm of their performance, and more importantly, make the audience cheer even more enthusiastically.
After the gig there was a bit of a meet and greet thing going on in the foyer too, with posters, CDs, t-shirts and tote bags all flying around for the band to sign, until eventually even the 'hardcore' fans (cowboy hats and all) reluctantly set off home, ears presumably ringing with the rousing sound of four (sometimes five?) guitars all being played at once by some great musicians.
For me though, what really summed the whole thing up was a few lines of the lyrics to one of the songs that I had stuck in my head all the way home. The song in question was about a man who was trying to lay off alcohol, and shows not only just how relaxed the whole gig was, but also the Pacs's brilliant sense of humour. It goes... "When I get sober I'll drag myself over And pick up a six pack and drink it with you...!"
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