Tropicalia Festival is carving out a magnified space for the eclectic musical palettes that run rampant in Los Angeles Latinx indie scene by boldly curating powerhouse acts ranging from Cumbia to Alternative Rock to Hip Hop and everything in between. We’ve decided to highlight some of the most talented non-headlining artists to catch this weekend that like LAtindie culture, are never stagnant, always changing and forever ranging. These rising acts and the festival alike are proving that music has no borders. This new generation of artists are taking the confines of genres and redefining them to fit their rules, not the other way around.
Performing fresh off the hype of the release of their latest album Tumbalo (which is being celebrated the night before at Zebulon) Buyepongo is sure to provide a set to remember. The band is a party in itself, containing a numerous amount of talented members bringing their individual flavors to their heavily instrumental group. Don’t let the size of the band fool you; their sound is one where cohesiveness meets adaptability and fluidity; taking listeners on a worldly journey through their lively beats. You’ll want to catch this set at the Modelo stage at 2:10-2:40pm if you’ve come prepared with your dancing shoes for the day.
10. Weapons of Mass Creation
Composed of 5 siblings and one family friend, this band is in every aspect of the phrase a family affair. The OC band is composed of a group of young emcee’s that have found a way to reinvigorate hip-hop with relevant takes on social justice. With sounds carrying the influence of the smoothest beats and rythyms of the past, lyricism reflective of modern day issues and a resulting vision foretelling the future of new age hip hop; WOMC have all the big shoes to fill with no desire to fill them. They lead their own paths, ensuring their sound and mission stay rooted to their own truth the whole way through. Catch the family function at the Modelo stage from 11:30-12:00 pm.
9. Yellow Days
Following the likes of soulful shoegaze crooners such as fellow Tropicalia performers like King Krule; Yellow Days is another UK act providing a new take on lo-fi indie music. Fitting to the overall theme of the festival; the musician doesn’t square into the confines of bordered genres. The 17 year olds melancholic music brings a humanistic realness that works to create a sense of shared togetherness in todays emotion ridden, millenial world. Catch his set for a mesmerizing, and relaxing break from the days rowdier sets at Dia de Los Puercos stage from 4:00-4:30 pm.
8. Las Cafeteras
You may have heard of cult classic tune La Bamba, but guaranteed you have not heard it performed like this. From the backyard of East LA Las Cafeteras have found the niche for fusing the traditional sounds of Mexico’s Son Jarocho, traditional African beats and Hip Hop’s lyricism to create a sound uniquely their own without losing their vision of remaining distinctly reflective of the community they hail from and embrace. Self proclaimed Chicanos, the musicians are no strangers to utilizing their music and art as a platform to bring light to prominent issues in their communities. For a dose of upbeat music affixed with activism; catch their lively set at the Tropicalia stage from 12:00-12:30 pm.
7. Jessie Reyez
Jessie Reyez has joined the ranks as one of the most treasured musical acts hailing from our neighbor above- Toronto, Canada. The soulful songstress burst onto the scene with her EP Figures and recently released Kiddo, which are as emotionally vulnerable as it is sonically. The Colombian-Canadian singer has been a strong proponent for feminine figures in the music industry. With her stand alone attitude and sultry music, Reyez has made a name for herself without compromising her space for anyone. You’ll want to catch one of the most promising acts of the year at Dia de Los Puercos stage from 2:05-2:35 pm.
A Los Angeles favorite; Sadgirl provides the lineup with the perfect mixture of rockabilly, surf-punk and a signature DIY alternative sound that LA has a reputation of breeding. I have yet to see a show that hasn’t been filled to the brim with fans consistently dancing, moshing and/or swooning for the trio (regardless of their gender). Their natural chemistry on stage always breeds a feel good time for those watching off stage . If you want to catch an act with just the right amount of 50’s sound and LA attitude; Sadgirl’s set at the Mota stage from 5:30-6:00pm is the one for you.
5. Chulita Vinyl Club
If you’re over outdated boys only DJ clubs playing reruns of top 40s hits on laptops; Chulita Vinyl Club is here to spin your worries away. An all woman collective embracing a love for woman supporting woman, great music and skilled vinyl DJ’ing; CVC has quickly made itself a branded name within the rising LAtindie culture. Spinning the best jams both old and new; the all female DJs magically cater a fun filled experience for any audience. The ladies are easily some of the most sought after spinners for LA’s most cherished happenings from local shows to national festivals. Catch their set and craft on the 1’s and 2’s as they spin in between sets on the Tropicalia stage from 2:00-4:00 pm.
4. Thee Commons
Pioneers of (their own self label) “psychedelic cumbia punk” Thee Commons are coming fresh off a national tour parading around almost every town with their last LP release Paleta Sonora. An eclectic sound fusing traditional cumbia dance sounds with funkier grooves of experimentalism; Thee Commons have become just that; a common name within the Southern California and now national music scene, even playing Coachella this past year. Made up of brothers David and Rene Pacheco and their good friend Jose Rojas; the trippy trio is known for wild rousing shows bound to keep you dancing and singing along the whole way through. Their sets are also known to include crowd favorite covers of classics like Selena‘s “Carcacha” and Los Saicos’ “Demolicion.” Catch them at the Mota stage from 12:40-1:10 pm.
3. Jorja Smith
If you haven’t heard the name Jorja Smith; theres a high chance you’ve definitely heard her powerhouse vocals. At age 20; shes lent her talent to the tracking likes of top charting artists including Drake and Miguel. However, the R&B soulstress has made a deep impression on the music world in her own light. Utilizing a blending of stylized genres; Smith’s voice, and overall sound, is distinctly her own. With lyricism that revels everywhere from political commentary to transparent takes on love; the British songwriters music is one that is both concurrently stimulating as it is comforting. Catch this set to be soothed away at the Dia de los Puercos stage from 2:05-2;35 pm.
2. The Buttertones
A little rock n roll, surf, doo wop and quite nearly a pinch of every other genre in between, The Buttertones provide a show, in large thanks to their crazed fanbase, that can only be described as: quite the experience. The last show we’ve seen them play sold out in minutes with a line around the corner that didn’t die down all night all for the chance a space would clear in the venue. A set promised to be filled with dancing, lung projected lyrics to and from the stage and trust us, TONS of opportunities to live out fantasies of crowdsurfing; the twenty-something musicians churn out nothing short of a good time. For a taste of some of the best music the LAtindie scene has to offer; catch The Buttertones at the Dia de los Puercos stage from 12:10-12:40pm.
The last time we had seen Cuco live was a $5 show at The Smell; and now he’s headlining one of the most anticipated festivals to hit Southern California. Thanks to a loyal fanbase, MITU’s viral media and a rebellion to the mainstream machismo culture that surrounds frontmen in the music industry; Cuco has quickly become a refreshing staple to a coming of age culture in Southern California. Now coming off a west coast tour and on the verge of taking the music world at large on at quite the rapid pace; the 19 year old singer has become a voice of a new culture that has allowed emotions to be cool again. You can catch the LA heartthrobs set at the Tropicalia stage from 2:40-3:10 pm.
// Honorable Re-Rising Mention: Os Mutantes
Not so rising; but a definite must for any “must-see” list; especially one for a festival named after a very genre of music they played a large role in procreating, Brazil’s Os Mutantes are a recommended watch. Tropicalia pioneers, a music genre that thrived in the face of Brazil’s political dictatorship in the 1960’s, found music as a powerful revolutionary tool in the face of oppression. Easily said, the bands reemergence and presence in a US setting in 2017 seem nothing short of fitting. A few years off their official reunion; and just a few days from a new track release directed towards the drumpf regime and his first lady; the band is proving their reemergence is just as much a re-rising sight to see as any of the new aged rising acts on the bill. Catch them at the Dia de los Puercos stage from 8:00-8:30pm.
These are some of our picks; but be sure to catch as many as you can if youre heading to Tropicalia Festival this weekend! Make sure to plan accordingly and schedule some time for the all you can tacos as well!