Concert Reviews

As I’m walking through downtown Los Angeles on a Tuesday night, all I see are Mexican tamborazos and bandas playing live music in the street with hundreds of people lining up waiting at the Peacock Theater’s front doors with the smell of hot dogs grilling filling the air. When a regional Mexican super star such as Gabito Ballesteros prepares to perform at the Peacock Theatre infront of thousands of Los Angelenos, these are all the elements that come together in the same place. On such a big night, opening up for him is no one other than one of the fastest growing regional Mexican artists Chino Pacas, a 16 year old regional Mexican prodigy who recently gained trending media attention after being Drake’s first ever Mexican Co-Signe.

The opening act, Chino Pacas, starts the night with his most popular song – a viral hit on social media – “El Gordo Trae El Mando.” I hear the entire venue yell the lyrics at the top of their lungs, immediately setting the mood for the night. The song’s popularity demonstrates Spanish music’s meteoric rise  in the music industry; now, not only Latinos are listening to Spanish music, but the entire world is. This is how artists like Chino Pacas and Gabito Ballesteros have risen to their success. There is some humor behind all of this in the fact that the Spanish language has an interesting direct translation that does not always make sense. The song’s title directly translates to, “Chubby brings the control” in regional Mexican slang. The hit song tells a story about Gabito as a Latino living in a low income neighborhood with his best friend who appears to be bigger than him, both trying to hustle for a better life. The song’s powerful message gave me goosebumps as the entire crowd sang their hearts out to a song that is not only loved for its music, but for its message of struggle that many share this is a song of motivation that keeps us, as we say, “Chambeando”, which means “working hard” in Spanish.

As Chino Pacas ends his opening set with one of his most popular songs, “Que Onda” we see the lights go off as he walks off stage and thanks Los Angeles. There are a few minutes of pitch black and silence from the crowd. Then we begin to hear guitar strings ripping louder and louder around the venue and the speed begins to pick up every strike. The rhythm of the guitar strings are so recognizable by everyone that we instantly hear the increase of volume of the screams. As the screens on stage light up, they begin to display video game footage of Grand Theft Auto, known to be Gabito’s favorite video game. In big letters in the middle of the video footage, the name, “Gabito Ballesteros” fades in. Quickly we see the man himself enter the stage, sprinting out from the side as he jumps and starts to yell, “Dom Perignon Lady gaga, Lentes en la cara, tusi lavada.” The lyrics to Gabito’s most successful song yet, LADY GAGA. This song by Gabito landed him a #1 spot on billboard and cemented him as one of the biggest Regional Mexican artists.

As the night continues, so does the concert, and it begins feeling more like a party than a concert. As Gabito encourages the crowd to get out of their seats and grab someone to dance, the entire venue quickly turns into a huge dance floor as fans all over come together to dance the night away, with Gabito and his banda beginning to play louder and more energetic. Then immediately after, Gabito tells the crowd to grab a shot of a tequila and join him as the party begins. As he takes a shot straight from the bottle of tequila, the pyrotechnics are perfectly timed and go off into a huge explosion as the trumpets begin to blast loud around all the venue. Gabito Grabs his mic and shouts, “De todo ya pasé, claro que le batallé Lo saben dos o tres, no soy el mismo que era ayer.” As the entire crowd yells the lyrics, recognizing the song instantly, you can truly recognize the type of music Gabito Ballesteros makes. He makes music for all the hard working people who go through their struggles, go through their setbacks and persevere, knowing that in the end it will all pay off. The English lyrics translate to, “I already went through it all, of course I worked hard, two or three people know, I am not the same as yesterday.” This concert truly felt like a night out with Gabito Ballesteros and his opener Chino Pacas, the latter of whom was on the side, partying just as much as the crowd. 

This night felt like a large part of the Los Angeles Latino community had come together to celebrate their love for their culture. Gabito is a staple for the regional Mexican genre and he will be here to stay forever. Not only is he such a talented singer with amazing vocals but he is also a true professional at what he does on stage, making everyone’s travels more than worthwhile. What more can us as fans and concert attendees ask for from artists today? As the concert wrapped up, Gabito Ballesteros thanked the crowd in Spanish yelling, “Viva Mexico Cabrones!” This concert not only made many feel proud to be Latino but also showed Los Angeles that the music industry is truly going through a huge transition in all parts of the world. No matter what language one speaks, music is for all and Corridos Tumbados are here to stay.