Ken Leighton 6:48 a.m., Aug. 27
RIYL: Joy Division, the Jesus and Mary Chain
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- Cover Feature: "Zonkey Rock: Party People Take Back Tijuana" · May 11, 2011
Influences: Joy Division, the Jesus and Mary Chain
The 2011 album by synth-and-bass duo Dancing Strangers recalls Joy Division and the Jesus and Mary Chain with dark, moody vocals, overdriven bass, and reverb-y drums. Frequently seen playing south of the border, singer/keyboardist Astronauta Jackson reflects on the Tijuana’s revitalization over the past couple of years since bars such as La Mezcalera pioneered the way for the now-bustling nexus of Sexta y Rev.
“The Tijuana nightlife has not only changed,” says Jackson, “but it has grown with the locals and the tourists. We fought the drug war by partying, meaning we stopped being afraid of what was happening. We wanted to stop being our own hostages, so we started going out. People started creating their own events or bringing them from San Diego, in the case of Club Purple, which is open to the 18-and-up crowd and goes late. Several influential and artistic Americans living south of the border have helped kill the stereotype of drugs and gunshots, which has opened up more American minds to stepping foot into this amazing, vibrant city that in the past has only been a myth and a bad reputation.”
In October 2012, the band releasedavideo for their song “The Politician,” first heard on their 2011 EP Power.Sex.Corruption. Directed by César Ortiz, the video was inspired by the BBC television show Top of the Pops, which featured live performances of each week's top selling bands. Although the show ran for decades, Dancing Strangers zeroed in on the 1980s incarnation filmed at La Mi-Ja de la Mezcalera, one of the most popular bars in Tijuana (with a light-up dance floor and an array of Mezcal drinks).
“We like to think of the song as some type of a rebellious anthem,” says Jackson. “We wanted to show that we had a sense of humor and to show the audience that our live set was fun, and not dark and boring.”
In late 2012, the band released their Lost in Lust EP, with a video (directed by Eric Wendt)for the song “Nightwalker” taking a noir trip through Tijuana's red light district. “It's a song that was inspired by adolescent memories walking through Zona Norte and seeing these women of the night and wondering what was going through their minds,” say Jackson of the vid, which climaxes with a steamy death-by-high-heel scene. “The video brings out a lot more of those obscurities that can possibly go through a prostitutes head in a noir, classy kinda way.”