Pop Music Reviews : Victimas Brings Color, Intensity to Palace

Among Mexican rock bands performing in Los Angeles, a packed house at the Palace has been reserved for only the cream of the crop--Caifanes and Maldita Vecindad--or lightweight pop sensation Mana. But Thursday, Las Victimas del Dr. Cerebro (Victims of Dr. Brain) joined that elite rank with a colorful, intense performance that should solidify its status among the new Mexican acts.

After an unpolished but spirited set by L.A.-based Los Olvidados (The Forgotten Ones), Victimas--a Neza-based sextet fronted by singer Abulon Flores, his father and two brothers--showed why it's considered one of Mexico's premier live acts: all-out energy, a fierce punk attitude, solid rhythmic base and a visual feast that includes indigenous costumes.

The band used skeleton masks as a humorous look at death meant to destroy the myth of the Mexican obsession with the matter, and one band member's sole role was to jump like a madman all throughout the show. But underneath those excesses are truly capable musicians who were able to make the Palace look like a small, hot nightclub.

Las Victimas (the name was inspired by a low-budget Mexican wrestling movie) was born in 1987 as Tecnopal and is the self-proclaimed master of the dark nopal style, but make no mistake: There is no techno or darkness here--just enough raw power and attitude to make it clear that there's a vital underground in L.A.'s Latin youth culture.

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