Cover bands come a dime a dozen in Las Vegas, but chances are you’ve never seen anything like Metalachi, which plays tonight at Boulder Station on its way to South by Southwest. These five brothers from Hollywood (by way of Juarez, Mexico) play heavy metal classics by the likes of Judas Priest, Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne—translated into authentic, elaborate mariachi orchestration. Their high-energy live shows come complete with costumes, face paint, comedy and a lot of sweat. Still not convinced? A few more reasons to check out the gig …
Because Billy Idol loves Metalachi. The ’80s rocker recently gave the band a shout-out when it performed for him, Dave Navarro, Owen Wilson and others at street artist Shepard Fairey’s gallery opening in LA last spring.
Because Metalchi doesn’t take itself too seriously. They’re all classically trained musicians with virtuosic skill, but the boys of Metalachi wanna have fun. They perform under alter-egos like El Cucuy, Maximilan “Dirty” Sanchez and Vega de la Rockha, each with his own hilarious, largely-fictional backstory (which are NSFW but can be read at metalachi.com/about/bios). The show itself features sombreros and studded leather—think Gwar and KISS on holiday in Tijuana. “I consider myself to be the Mexican Slash,” Sanchez says.
Because they might get naked. Metalachi’s shows are known for a certain unpredictability, but as trumpet player El Cucuy puts it, “It’s Vegas, so we can’t just go halfway.” That’s why Sanchez says he just might get naked onstage. “But not completely. I don’t want to scare nobody.”
Because you don’t have to like metal or mariachi. Metalachi isn’t an acquired taste. It’s surprising how smoothly the two styles fit together, and the combination takes the polarizing edge off of each genre. The result: songs that are recognizable, melodic—and unique (ever wonder what Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” would sound like with Cumbia-style hand percussion?). The members of Metalachi do take their music seriously, and their performances are tight and impressive.
“It’ll be something different you’ve never seen or heard before. We hope there will be a lot of people laughing and crying and getting drunk,” Sanchez says. “But there really is something for everybody. We have people of all ages at our shows. We see kids jamming to our music; we see old people rocking out.”