Go Te­jano Day breaks at­ten­dance record

Cal­i­bre 50, a young quar­tet from across bor­der, finds foot­ing, shows ‘what fi­es­tas in Mex­ico are like’

Houston Chronicle - - DAILY DIGITAL - Joey Guerra joey.guerra@chron.com twit­ter.com/joeyguerra

It could have been four cou­ples, a large fam­ily or a girls’-night-out group.

What­ever the com­bi­na­tion, Sun­day’s Go Te­jano Day per­for­mance broke the all-time paid at­ten­dance record by just eight peo­ple.

This year’s to­tal for Cal­i­bre 50 was 75,565 fans. Last year’s Banda el Re­codo and Sig­gno combo drew 75,557.

A to­tal of six Go Te­jano Day per­for­mances now hold spots in the all­time top 20 paid at­ten­dance.

Cal­i­bre 50, a young quar­tet from Mex­ico, cer­tainly seems to merit the dis­tinc­tion. The band boasts 10 No. 1 sin­gles on Bill­board's Re­gional Mex­i­can Air­play chart, 1.7 bil­lion YouTube views, 12 mil­lion Face­book fans and 2.3 mil­lion monthly streams on Spo­tify.

Its sound is largely built on polka-based corridos that ex­am­ine Mex­ico’s drug cul­ture, im­mi­gra­tion, ranch life and ro­mance.

The mu­sic isn’t much for sub­tlety or nu­ance. A bright red tuba and yel­low ac­cor­dion dom­i­nated much of the per­for­mance. The drum­mer strug­gled to keep up dur­ing open­ers “Las Ul­tras” and “Que Tiene de Malo.”

Front­man Edén Muñoz wa­vered off key dur­ing “Amor del Bueno.” But he was aided by the first of many thun­der­ous sin­ga­longs.

With only four mem­bers, the stage looked un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally bare. But they worked hard to fill the space by each tak­ing a dif­fer­ent cor­ner.

Muñoz fre­quently shouted out Mex­ico, other Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries and sin­gle ladies.

“We want to show you what fi­es­tas in Méx­ico are like,” he said.

The band found its foot­ing with the rapid­fire “La Gripa” and the shuf­fling “Amor Li­mosnero.”

There’s some­thing to be said for the gritty na­ture of the mu­sic. It speaks to a fan base un­in­ter­ested in auto-tune or pop pol­ish.

Rows of fans in the stand­ing-room crowd watched, trans­fixed, from just above the seats on the lower level. Cou­ples danced amid the con­ces­sions. Groups of men hugged one another’s shoul­ders and swayed to the mu­sic.

And un­like so many pre­vi­ous shows, very few peo­ple walked out be­fore the show was done.

“Cor­rido de Juanito” was one of the set’s most pow­er­ful mo­ments. The song de­tails the story of an im­mi­grant liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally who can’t re­turn to his home­land and is caught in a cul­ture clash with his sons, who speak Eng­lish.

Muñoz in­tro­duced it with a rous­ing speech about Latino pride and ris­ing above strug­gle, “even to fight for a coun­try that is not ours.”

The pas­sion­ate re­sponse was proof that those mes­sages con­nected with the crowd.

Cal­i­bre 50 also made his­tory as the first Go Te­jano Day solo act in sev­eral years. The evening usu­ally fea­tures two per­former.

That meant the an­nual mari­achi com­pe­ti­tion crowned a win­ner prior to Cal­i­bre 50’s per­for­mance. It was a per­fect warmup for the main event.

Mari­achi Mari­posas, an all-fe­male troupe from Mis­sion, took the ti­tle with lively ren­di­tions of “Her­moso Car­iño” and “Volver, Volver.” Bonus points for their re­gal pur­ple and gold out­fits.

Steve Gon­za­les / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Mari­achi Mari­posas, an all-fe­male troupe from Mis­sion, en­er­gizes the crowd at the Hous­ton Live­stock Show and Rodeo’s Go Te­jano Day. The group per­formed a lively ren­di­tion of “Her­moso Car­iño.”

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