Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

Mexican Blood Manchester Heart  

"Today we are so proud to be Mexican" is the defiant statement from Mexrrissey's main man. 

Top-hatted poet Camilo Lara has a tremendous command of Mancunian and world affairs. 

"It feels great to be on the mothership again," Lara enthuses to a packed Manchester Ritz before adding: “We are Mex-unians”.

As Trump plots to shut out his neighbours with a border wall, a few thousand music lovers gather in Manchester to celebrate everything Mexico. 

Mexrrissey are more than a covers band.

Yes, they lavish Latino love on Morrissey songs with joyous abandon, but also breathe life into lost songs.

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It’s been exactly 30-years since The Smiths split and a generation of fans born post-mid-1970s never saw them live.

While there are other fantastic Smiths tribute bands out there, there is something remarkable about listening to band sing those songs in a different language.

Mexrrissey don’t try to recreate the Morrissey and Marr of Rough Trade vinyl; they shower the songs in sun, trumpets and el amor.

If Mexico is a vibrant country of warmth and colour, then Mexrrissey bring that ethos to songs often mistakenly quoted as being ‘miserable’.

They arrive on stage at 8.50pm and launch into "Primero of The Gang to Die", and the festival of Moz music begins.

The party atmosphere is something to behold.

Even Morrissey concerts struggle to reach these levels of wild fun.

Mexrrissey wonderfully set out their stall in the place where it all started. 

I'm not sure too many people clock that Mexrrissey are playing on the same stage that 35 years ago debuted The Smiths. 

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At times, with the language barrier, you initially struggle to comprehend what excellent song we are listening to.

"Is this The Boy With The Thorn In His Side?" I enquire to some nice people from Salford Lads Club.

It is. And it sounds so perfect with trumpets and poetic South American accents.

Girlfriend in a Coma bounces along like the original - until a few ‘Cha-cha-cha’ injections have us laughing our heads off.

All this while a big screen behind the band has images of Morrissey in different Mexican poses and masks.

Moz is depicted with facepaint a-la Day of The Dead, and later, gladioli leap from his skull and whack a cartoon of DJ Trump.

This gig coming just 24 hours after ghastly plans for walls and barriers were issued from the president to the people of Mexico.

Panic - with its Hang the DJ line, takes on new significance tonight.

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Camilo seems to do most of the talking from the stage. His eloquence and dramatic delivery leads Manchester to open its arms.

“Do you think he’s just from Solihull?” jokes Beth, a fellow Smiths-nut stood next to me.

It’s clear Mexrrissey adore Morrissey and love Manchester.

Other backdops on stage feature northern working class streets contrasted with images of Mayan ruins.

And twinning British terraced houses with imagery of Mexico's architectural treasures works.

I don’t know how. But it does.

How Soon is Now gloriously glows for five minutes before featuring Hey Macarena.

Hilarious. And more than just a touch of genius.

 

Mexrrissey play Birmingham Town Hall tonight (Sunday 29 January).

Their album of Morrissey covers - No Manchester - is out now.

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