POP MUSIC REVIEW : An Uneven Outing Hampers Maldita Vecindad at Palace

Forget Halloween.

Midway through their 90-minute show on Tuesday at the Palace, Mexico City's Maldita Vecindad, with the help of comedy team the Chicano Secret Service, turned the stage into a brutal anti-Pete Wilson scene that might have been written by Quentin Tarantino after a dozen Jolt Colas.

It was a key moment in a politically charged night that, despite its intensity and many enjoyable moments, was uneven--thanks to Maldita's insistence on long, moody versions of songs whose strength is their edgy simplicity.

At its best, the popular group confirmed that guitarist Pato is arguably the best right hand in Mexican rock, with irresistible strumming that stressed the group's fondness for Caribbean rhythms and Mexican folk. In this vein, the new "Atole con el dedo" ranks among the group's best songs, but the rest of the new material didn't sound as impressive as it did in February at the Universal Amphitheatre, when the band shared the stage with six other acts.

This time on its own, Maldita Vecindad satisfied die-hard fans, but those who remember previous killer performances left feeling a little shortchanged.

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