Puta Madre Brothers
January 19th 2013 @ Northcote Social Club
What a crying shame it is that the Puta Madre Brothers have decided to call it quits.
After seven years of mariachi splendour and a show that puts their loyal fans into a frenzy so strong that two otherwise well-behaved women in the crowd will have a bitch fight over them, it really is sad to see them go.
Then again, Melbourne’s favourite ‘three-piece one man band,’ carry on with such randomness that you’re never too sure if they’re pulling your leg.
Commencing the night of adieus (or one should say ‘adios’) was Snappy Yabby & The Snag Party, who too were playing for the last time.
With singer Gemma Falconer dressed head to toe in outlandish Mexican costume, the two-piece reeled off quirky novelty tunes. Only a voice as pristine, timeless and velvety as that of Falconer could make the lyrics “put a snag in my bread” sound so sweet and inviting.
All the way from Munich, Germany, came the kooky Dos Hermanos. Their eclectic makeshift style included the use of tin kitchen equipment, a vintage radio microphone, and what the two brothers called “positive power!”
Mid-way through the set, the two brothers embarked on a communal sing-along, creating a contagious energy that was felt by every member of the sell-out crowd.
After much anticipation, the Puta Madre Brothers were finally revealed from behind the red curtain, smoke wafting behind them.
Dressed in military suits, with dirt-stained faces and cowlicks to rival that of There’s Something About Mary, the crazy boys jammed with their characteristic sound. Fast guitar strums, quick even beats, and vocal serenading fit for your local bullfighting ring, cowboy flick, or Mexican house party – tacos, tequila, and all.
But cheesiness aside, the Puta Madre Brothers’ final set was both skilful and entertaining. As is their custom, the three sat for the duration of the show in an arrangement mimicking that of a one-man band with the big bass drum in the middle.
They had a great sense of togetherness and energy that was present from start to end. A particular highlight was when they seamlessly blended one of their lesser-known tunes into the popular “Putananny Twist,” creating a sense of build and excitement. Things became more chaotic as a Tupperware tub filled with Mescal worms was passed around the crowd.
In their typically comic fashion, the Brothers switched to the more subdued “Para su madre” (“For your mother”) in order to restore peace in the front row, a tune filled with sweet rippling guitar, slowly building into an atmospheric climax complete with the throwing of confetti.
This was followed by a dramatic closing of the curtain, with apocalyptic lightning storm and gunshot sounds in the background. This, it seemed, was the end of Act One.
A short while later, the Brothers returned, or as they insisted “came back to life,” and dressed as cardboard horses. Performing “The Young Horse,” with a whistling sound perfect for any Spaghetti Western soundtrack. Their nasal, twangy guitar sounds continued along with rhythmic notions that set the crowd fast-clapping.
The Brothers did their ‘thank you’s’, slowly peeling off the stage, the crowd maintaining their gracious applause and waiting for an inevitable encore.
One of the members appeared, and after a little confusion stated, “we’re supposed to be playing an encore,” the whole group returned to play “Mi perro es tan feo” (“My dog is so ugly”).
Dos Hermanos were invited back to the stage for their final two songs, the larger group finishing on the joyous “Grandes Pelotas del fuego” (“Great balls of fire”). It was met with much enjoyment from the crowd, and judging by the smiles on their faces, the guys were enjoying it too.
The show had finished strongly, but with little fanfare of it being their ‘Last Show Ever.’ Nonetheless, it had been an incredibly entertaining and infectiously happy evening.
If the Puta Madre Brothers are to be believed, and it really is the end of an era, memory of such enjoyment can live on through our speakers and on the internet. But despite these small consolations, nothing will ever quite compare to seeing their full live show.
Shot by Carl Dziunka on 19th January 2013, Published 10 months ago