Once upon a time in Mexico, Los Angeles musical gunslingers Surf Curse, The Paranoyds and SadGirl crossed with no plans of international espionage, coming for El Mariachi or seeking a Desperado. But they did plan to meet at Moustache Bar to bring the rock to Tijuana.
San Diego/Tijuana based Some Kind Of Lizard opened the show. The fairly new band was given a warm reception as they belted out their sparse song collection that included the dreamy prog-rock of “Black Rain” and the lo-fi distorted barrage of “Endless Dream.”
Second to play were the The Paranoyds. Co-vocalist/bassist Staz Lindes, who models for brands like Saint Laurent when she isn’t fronting a punk band, oozed a je ne sais quoi somewhere between bubblegum chewing hedonist and staunch fashionista as she stomped around in heels and a pantsuit when exchanging vocal duties with more casually-dressed guitarist Lexi Funston. The Paranoyds make scrappy in-your-face pop-punk that lyrically covers conventional “punk” archetypes with titles like “Bad Idea” and “Rat Boy.”
Genre-bending crooners SadGirl were up next. Featuring Staz Lindes’ older brother Misha fronting the trio of cousins, it was apparent they already had a Tijuana fanbase–a handful of giddy attendees surrounded the band. SadGirl fuse a myriad of genres including 1950s/1960s oldies, garage punk and instrumental surf. The heartthrobs got the room moving with punk number “Born Dumb,” followed midway through their set by rowdy surf ripper “Motorbreath,” and ending with everyone swooning to love ballad “Take Me Home.” Singer/guitarist Misha had an undeniable fluidity to his body movements, and for one song even jettisoned himself directly into the crowd, reinvigorating the pit.
Surf Curse ended the night. A guitar and drums duo comprised of best friends Nick Rattigan and Jacob Rubeck, the boys were clearly the band everybody awaited. The twosome switched off vocals, with drummer Nick having the more arduous and rarely seen task of singing entire songs while simultaneously slamming his drum set. Their set included crowd pleasers “Chloe Kelly,” “Freaks” and “Goth Babe,” and even had a couple songs off their upcoming album. They had the liveliest audience of the night, which says a lot considering Jacob doesn’t use guitar pedals and they’re only two musicians.
The bands brought a bravado to Moustache Bar, and were in no way guilty of bringing a knife to a gunfight (last one I swear!). Being one of the final shows to be played by the bands and for me to see in 2016, they definitely ended my year with a bang (bang).