When Metal Blasts, Mariachi Responds

Metalachi perfected the blend of metal and mariachi music


Metalachi vocalist Vega De La Rockha sings at the House of Blues with violinist Queen Kyla Vera in the background on May 17. Photo credit: Lorena Alvarez/SAC.Media

Although Metalachi’s music started as a mesh of metal and mariachi, it has grown to be so much more. It has included more genres of music and united people of different cultures and ages. It was a pleasant surprise to see an ethnically diverse fan base at the House of Blues in Anaheim. In the melting pot of an audience, I stood behind an 8-year-old Latinx girl and danced next to a group of older white people. Metalachi’s concert felt like a big party where people were dancing, laughing and having a great time.

The members of Metalachi are half siblings who have been performing mariachi music since they were little kids. Band trumpeter, who goes by the stage name El Cucuy, said that their secret to working with family is just embracing how much they annoy each other. They jokingly said they beat each other up to solve their problems. Metalachi does not take themselves too seriously, which reflected on the vibe they send out. Throughout their show, they made fun of themselves and their Mexican culture, which engaged their audience in loads of belly laughter.

According to Metalachi, the cross over from being a mariachi band into Metalachi resulted from a quinceañera in East Los Angeles. The mother at the quinceañera was a metal head, and the father a mariachi fan. That’s when they decided to play their mix of the songs “Jarabe Tapatio,” known as the Mexican hat dance, and “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. When they saw the partygoers’ reactions, they were inspired to create more of this new sound. The band members said that the process of transforming metal or mariachi songs into a mixture of the two has been a process that now feels like second nature. It didn’t start off easy for them, as they found it challenging to change the patterns of the guitar and add the violin sounds. Now, they have found their groove after doing it for so long and by adding some electric components to their sound. They have also added some other types of sounds such as cumbia music, a folkloric genre and dance from Colombia and Panama. In fact, the vocalist, known as Vega de la Rockha, claims that “Holy Diver” is his favorite song to perform at a show because of the cumbia sound they incorporated. As far as song choices, the band said they turn to their fans to help them decide what songs to add to their music. The band was quick to admit that they receive criticism from both mariachi and metal fans. El Cucuy said that they have experienced mariachi traditionalists who consider mariachi music to be sacred and claim that what Metalachi is doing is a sin. Metal fans have come to their performances to flip them off and condemn what they are doing. None of that negativity has affected their inspiration to continue with their music because those experiences wither in comparison to the love and support that they have received. Vega de la Rockha advises aspiring artists to not limit themselves musically, but to explore and not let anyone tell them to be someone that they are not.

The violinist, Kyla, touched on how it felt to be the only female surrounded by brothers in the group. She teasingly said that her brothers complain about her, when in fact, they are the ones who PMS worse than her. Vega de la Rockha playfully responded by saying that their PMS symptoms are caused by the infamous sympathy PMS pains. Off stage, Kyla seemed to be one of the quieter members of the group, but on stage, gave off the vibes of a Mexican rock queen. She had purple hair and wore a black leather outfit with a serape, a traditional Mexican shawl, wrapped around her waist with a bandana wrapped around her head. Guys and girls alike cheered her on as she took center stage to rock out her violin solos.

I appreciated how they chose songs to showcase each member of the band’s great talents. Vega de la Rockha stole the show most of time with his amazing vocals, but he also stood back several times to share the spotlight with the other band members. A great moment in the show was when he stood back as their guitarist, Paco Halen, was placed front and center as they performed “Under the Bridge.” Other songs they performed included classic rock songs such as “Sweet Child of Mine,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Santeria.” The genres varied as they also gave their renditions on the cumbia song “La Negra Tomasa,” metal songs “One” and “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, and classic mariachi songs including “Cielito Lindo.” Aside from the hundreds of pelvic thrusts from his four-dimensional skull crotch, El Cucuy had great solos as the trumpeter, which usually ended the songs with a bang. In between songs, they added hilarious and risqué commentary such as their VIP area, meaning that you are very likely to get pregnant if you were in that area. They gave a moment of silence for the death of Grumpy Cat, which they said was the grumpiest pussy they had ever met.

The show started with an introduction from social media sensation, Creeper, known for his “cholo fit” skits. He came to “warm up” the audience with a workout by carrying a six pack of Corona beers hung around his neck. He had the audience laughing and pumped up ready for more laughs and great times. With all of the different genres of music, I felt like I was reliving all of the parties in my life, from family parties when I was a little girl that joined our family together to celebrate major events, to house parties in high school full of friends and drinking and dancing, and now as an adult getting together with loved ones singing along to the songs we love. Just like any great party, you do not want it to end. Luckily, Metalachi is on tour and will be performing back in California in the month of July to continue the party.