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article imageReview: 8 Segundos bring their rocking country show to Queretaro Special

By Adrian Peel     Aug 9, 2015 in Music
The high-flying Mexican quartet from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua played in Queretaro - a city in the centre of the country, three hours north of Mexico City - for the very first time on August 8 2015, and Digital Journal was there.
For a band whose official Facebook page has over 250,000 'likes,' tonight's venue - El de Banda in Juriquilla, around 20 minutes from the city centre - is decidedly small. Still, it is the group's debut performance in the state that gave birth to the Mexican Independence Movement and, in general, country music is not exactly popular around these parts.
In my opinion, banda is a truly awful style of music, yet in Mexico it is universally adored. After listening to it for what seemed like hours (videos were displayed on monitors dotted around the room - why couldn't they have put CMT Pure on?!), the formidable foursome, three of whom are brothers, took to the stage at 11.40pm to a thunderous reception.
Opening number "No Me Digas" was a brilliant way to kick things off - though the sound was not great (it improved as the show went on) - and reminded me of the equally boisterous "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke" that Dwight Yoakam has used to get audiences going at his recent concerts.
Speaking of the Kentucky-born star, the group's superb Spanish-language take on "Guitars, Cadillacs," "Guitarras y Cadillacs," came next and was a belter, although it made me a little sad to think that most of the crowd probably had no idea who Yoakam is - the girls at the front only seemed interested in getting up on stage and having their photograph taken with singer/fiddle player/resident sex symbol Alex Olivas Rios.
"Guitarras y Cadillacs" was the first in a number of 'Mexicanised' country classics, that included well-received interpretations of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" ("El Diablo Bajó a Georgia").
Unfortunately, there was no place in tonight's set for their homage to Garth Brooks ("Demasiado Joven Para Sentirme Viejo") or "Dos Buenos Muchachos," a tune that would have been instantly familiar to fans of The Dukes of Hazzard.
That's not to say that they don't have some wonderful material of their own. "No Era Un Vaquero," "Ford 79" and my personal favourite "3 Barriles" were all given an airing.
The between-song banter comes from charismatic singer, guitarist and bandleader René Olivas Rios, who shares vocal duties with his brother, the aforementioned Alex. He regularly thanked all the "vaqueros" and "vaqueras" (particularly the "vaqueras") for coming out and succeeded in getting the crowd pumped up, though alcohol also no doubt played a part!
At one point, things were getting a little too 'rocky' and I thought to myself, "a slow number would be a good idea right about now." The band duly obliged, wheeling out their sublime version of "Amarillo by Morning" ("Amarillo Mañana"), a song made famous by George Strait.
While enthusiastically singing along, I again asked myself, "I wonder how many people here have heard of George Strait?" I think it's fair to say that country music is far more popular in the northern states of Mexico than it is down here, but one would never have guessed judging by the reception these guys got. Still, it helps that they sing in their native tongue...
It's not often one gets the chance to do the Texas Two-Step in Mexico, so I was grateful for the opportunity, happily two-stepping along with my wife to two beautiful original tracks, "Esa Noche" and "En Mi Ranchito."
At just over an hour, tonight's show was a little short, but overall it was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable spectacle from the most successful Mexican country act since Caballo Dorado - famed for their cover of "Achy Breaky Heart" - broke through back in the '90s.
8 Segundos
8 Segundos
René Olivas Rios
We should be hearing a lot more in the future from this assured outfit, that also includes Javier Olivas Rios on bass and Jaime Adán Reyna Díaz on drums (they have performed north of the border too), but in the meantime, Queretaro, stop listening to banda and start listening to country - please!
For more information on 8 Segundos, visit their official website.
More about 8 segundos, Country music, Chihuahua, queretaro, dwight yoakam
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