JUNE 15th 2016 

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan: http://www.metaltitans.com/concertpics/ill-nino/

Ok, for the band’s sake I’ll write a review of what took place on June 15, 2016 at the Rickshaw with this amazing little group called Ill Niño. But I’ll have you know that if you weren’t there, I’m very disappointed in you. That should say it all.

I’m not sure where the disconnect happened, but either no one knew this show was going on, or whoever’s responsibility it was to actually put the tickets up for sale was asleep on the job. Either way, it was one of the most embarrassing showings from the metal community I’ve ever seen, and it is exactly why Vancouver has the reputation of having a giant stick up its non-metallic ass.  But I digress.

The original lineup was supposed to be Ill Niño with Bobaflex and Terror Universal; however, due to some overzealous border agents (speculation only), only Ill Niño was able to ride on into Canada. You could say this was a real tragedy or a real magical thing that happened for Ill fans, as the performance that only a special few were privy to was absolutely mesmerizing.

The sextet was on tour supporting the 15-year anniversary of their first label release entitled Revolution/Revolución and were planning to play the CD cover to cover.  However, due to the unpredictable and undeniably intimate crowd, things went a little off course.  Not only did a fan buy and personally serve Cristian Machado (lead vocals), Ahrue Luster (lead guitar), Diego Verduzco (guitar), Lazaro “Laz” Pina (bass), Dave Chavarri (drums) and Oscar Santiago (percussionist) Jagermeister shots, but Machado had fans singing lyrics directly into his mic.  And while they did play off Revolution/Revolución, they also threw in “This Is War” and “How To Live”, to name a couple.

Ill Niño term themselves ‘latin metal’ and are the embodiment of what you may expect that to be. With bilingual lyrics, crushing instrumentals, hard and soft vocals, distinct melodies, and flamenco-inspired guitar riffs threaded throughout, the guys are able to please cross-genre metal masses. It is impossible to deny the brutal and congruently melodic vocals of frontman Machado, the energy and commitment of Verduzco and Pina, the ballsy experimentation from Chavarri and Santiago, and the cool calamity of crunch and calypso from Luster. Not only are these men a brilliantly grouped band; they are heart-wrenchingly genuine. Despite Vancouver’s paltry support, Ill Niño gave one of the most open, honest, and full-bodied shows I have seen to date.  Lots of bands would see the crowd, consider their series of clusterfucks and say: “Well, we toss ‘em a few songs and get the shit out of here.”  Not Ill: they said “We are gonna rock them so hard their grannies will need a diaper change.” And they so did. The great thing about a show like this is the band is getting the true fans in the house, and the fans are getting what any true fan can only dream of: essentially a personal concert.

Chatting with the guys after the show they were nothing but positive and pumped about the fact that they were on the road and playing music. You can say that this business is a true calling for a lot of bands/musicians but you can only actually believe it about a small percentage: Ill Niño falls into that percentage. It was not only a treat but a true pleasure to have them stop by Vancouver. So if you couldn’t make the show for whatever reason, ok fine. But really: simultaneously fuck you and haha cause you missed an epic night.