Divine Skin in Tijuana
Ambient dreamgazers PL DVNA and craft grapefruit IPA at Nony House
A few weeks ago, my old friend Kyle and I headed down to Tijuana to see what we could get into.
Kyle, visiting from San Francisco, hadn’t been to Tijuana in years, and even then he admittedly stuck to the classic gringo in Zona Norte/Revolucion thing.
I, too, hadn’t strayed far from La Sexta and Revolucion, so we were both thrilled to hop a taxi across town to Nony House – a craft beer bar and café lodged between a university and the airport.
After a lot of fumbled directions in Spanish and a good amount of grunts and gestures, we landed at Nony House off of Calzada Tecnologico across from the CaliMax (which turns out to be a better reference point than actually knowing the intersection.)
Tijuana post-rock dreamgaze band PL DVNA was just setting up when we arrived, so we grabbed a 15 peso (just over a dollar) mug of the Nony’s homemade brew – a grapefruit IPA, mild on the hops with a yeasty, sour finish.
PL DVNA, fronted by two veterans of Tijuana’s underground scene, kicked off with largely improvised flights of fancy - sweeping synth waves oozed over chugging krautrock bass phrases, shimmering chimes lilted on top of reverb-laden guitar, straight-ahead drum pulses carried the whole tapestry along.
PL DVNA, perhaps obviously, is an abbreviation of Piel Divina – “divine skin”.
The band would have sounded great paired with Tristeza, I thought, and, as bassist Julio Pillado later told me, an earlier band of his had indeed played with the San Diego post-rock staples years ago.
Pillado and PL DVNA guitarist Eric Curiel both play with TJ gazers Shantelle and its occasional incarnation as Orlando & the Shantelles.
Pillado can also be found playing various instruments with Inkjet, Celofan, and 357 Magnum & the Julio Pillado Experience, while Curiel currently performs with darkwave duo Dancing Strangers, jangly garage rockers The Electric Healing Sound, experimental electronic solo project Perros Cobardes, and the off-show with synth outfit Loopdrop.
Peralta Gaspar (keys) is currently forming an as-of-yet unnamed band which he describes as “like Jaga Jazzist, but more melodic."
Catch Shantelle tomorrow night (Friday, December 7) at You Revolution (Revolucion between Sixth and Seventh) with Chilean electronic pop duo DËNVER and TJ tribal guarachero dance floor destroyer Yelram Selectah. 100 pesos.
PL DVNA will be playing the following night (Saturday, December 8) at Dragon Rojo (St. Cecilia Plaza) with Casa Wagner. Gratis.