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Historic Mexico Metropolis rock and counterculture hub closes

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A line of individuals wearing black, flannels and piercings wound in entrance of a two-story constructing on certainly one of Mexico Metropolis’s fundamental avenues. Graffiti studying “Alicia” was painted above their heads. Inside, a younger man frantically scrolled over an inventory of names and ready the entry hand stamp. It might have been any nightclub on a Friday night time within the bustling metropolis, however the entire line knew it was their final likelihood to set foot in what had change into an iconic music venue and counterculture hub within the Mexican capital.

After 27 years, Multiforo Cultural Alicia closed its doorways eternally on March 12. For a lot of, it marked the tip of an period and signaled gentrification’s toll on the town lately. “No one got here initially. It was a tiny place, uncomfortable, very punk,” recalled Ignacio Pineda, 60, the founding father of the Alicia. “However I didn’t need a stylish bar. I wished a spot for the individuals.”

For many years, Mexico’s music scene was suffocated by its long-ruling Revolutionary Institutional Social gathering, or PRI.

Following the brutal military repression of the 1968 scholar protests — an unknown variety of protesters have been killed — Mexican authorities harassed long-haired youths. After lurid stories circulated a few 1971 live performance within the city of Avandaro, no giant public rock concert events have been allowed for a few decade, and rock retreated into tiny venues generally known as “hoyos funky,” or “funky holes.”

The Mexican political system was shaken in 1994 when the Zapatista Indigenous rebels from Chiapas, in southeast Mexico, led a quick armed rebellion to demand higher rights. The Zapatista motion ignited younger Mexicans’ political participation. A brand new era emerged, on the lookout for retailers to specific themselves. Music and cultural areas just like the Alicia turned that outlet for a lot of.

In 1995, Pineda based the venue with a bunch of associates, who shortly dropped out. Initially, Pineda – or “Nacho”, as he’s identified – even thought of shutting down the place. However the rising Mexican music scene pulled him by.

He began inviting hardcore punk, surf, rock, ska, hip-hop and storage bands, and the viewers adopted. On the identical time, Pineda organized talks and conferences to sort out social and political points.

“We all the time thought of ourselves a political area, somewhat than a music venue,” he informed the AP. “We did one thing that no one was doing.”

Quickly, the Alicia turned one of many only a few libertarian, anarchist, self-managed areas in Mexico Metropolis. Abraham “Muñeko” Torres, the frontman of Nana Pancha, probably the most outstanding ska bands in Mexico, first performed on the Alicia when he was 16 years previous.

Now 43, he remembers fondly being booed off the stage by punks after his drum equipment pedal broke mid-concert. However he by no means stopped enjoying. His manner of claiming goodbye to the venue that allowed him to develop into the musician he’s as we speak was to play on that very same stage one final time.

For him, it was like going again to his very first live performance.

A mixture of blue, purple and pink lights flashed over his hair, dyed a superb yellow, and over a crush of younger Mexicans in a mosh pit.

They shouted one of many band’s most well-known songs, one devoted to 43 Mexican college students who have been kidnapped and disappeared in 2014.

“Due to the Alicia, loads of music bands like us realized to prepare concert events and construct our personal areas,” Torres mentioned. “For us (the Alicia) is a protected place, our studying place. It taught us we might dwell off music.”

The late Nineties to mid-2000s noticed a development of self-managed concert events in Mexico Metropolis to keep away from relying on business occasion producers. Every part from pamphlets, ticketing, safety and manufacturing was organized by the bands themselves, supported by political collectives.

It was the golden period of Mexican ska. The Alicia’s punk affect was a predecessor of this motion.

The slender live performance corridor sheltered outstanding Mexican bands resembling Pantheon Rococo, Sekta Core, Bottle of Sherry, Misplaced Acapulco and Tijuana No! and hosted worldwide artists resembling Manu Chao, Ska-P and Banda Bassotti.

Fernando Rodríguez, 32, was 15 when he first walked by the Alicia’s doorways. He mentioned he couldn’t miss one of many final concert events of the Mexican punk-rock band Seguimos Perdiendo on the venue.

“The Alicia is without doubt one of the finest areas to get to take pleasure in a band from up shut,” Rodríguez mentioned. “This place has meant quite a bit for Mexican rock.”

The venue’s title comes from an Italian counterculture radio station from the Seventies, Radio Alice, and Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. The area was impressed by the leftist self-managed occupied social facilities in Italy within the Nineteen Eighties and comparable areas known as gaztetxes within the Basque Nation, an autonomous area in Spain.

“It’s unhappy to suppose that there will probably be generations that gained’t get to know the Alicia and that their first live performance won’t ever be right here,” Torres mentioned.

Pineda mentioned one of many fundamental causes he selected to shut is as a result of he doesn’t like how the neighborhood across the venue has modified. A current wave of digital nomads principally from the USA has elevated gentrification; long-time residents and companies have been changed with AirBnBs and hipster espresso outlets.

La Roma, a traditionally middle-class neighborhood in Mexico Metropolis, is just not what it was anymore, Pineda mentioned.

On certainly one of Alicia’s closing nights, Pineda walked out and in of the venue sporting a beret and a pair of worn-out Dr. Martens. He climbed the steps and plunged as soon as once more right into a sea of ska followers and dyed hair. He peeked from the sound sales space, trying upon what he crafted over virtually three a long time.

The identical neighbors who as soon as appeared down on the area, now wander by and inform Pineda they are going to miss him and the Alicia.

In 27 years, he missed solely 10 days of labor. It was his life venture.

“I feel there will probably be different locations. This gained’t cease right here, it’s an unbiased motion, it’s tradition,” Pineda mentioned. “However I would come again in some unspecified time in the future and sit on the bench in entrance of the Alicia, have a mezcal and cry.”


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