This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the sold out Viva! Pomona music festival at the Glass House in Pomona, CA on July 16th, 2016. The festival itself was overall a nice environment- the staff was friendly, there were many DIY decorations, numerous people wearing boyfriend jeans, a “Chill Zone” (it was 90 degrees), and even food trucks. There were 3 stages total, and the festival had taken over both the interior of the Glass House and its adjacent parking lot. While many notable surf rock bands were playing (Shannon & the Clams and The Frights were headliners, and Chicano Batman the next day), I was really only there to see one band- Vaya Futuro.*
Vaya Futuro is an alternative shoegaze/noise pop music group from Tijuana, Mexico. My personal favorite album- Ideas a medias (2014) with my top tracks including “Sombras,” “No Puedo Respirar,” and “Nada Que No Quieras.” They mix head-banging drum beats, Luis Aguilar’s soothing yet distant voice, and that noisy guitar reverb sound that makes my heart jump out of my chest (in a good way of course). The first song I ever heard by them was “Sombras,” and that eerie first line still lingers in my mind- just too good, man. Too good. A recording of their newest song, “Congelar,” is embedded below (listen and be amazed). This song was produced by Ben Allen (who has worked with bands like Deerhunter and Animal Collective).
Sadly, I felt that Vaya Futuro did not have a long enough set time at all- I think they only went on for about 30-40 minutes. However, those 30-40 minutes were absolutely awe-inspiring. It’s the type of dreamy music that makes you want to close your eyes and just nod your head, getting lost in all the noise. Drummer Miguel Ahuage did a crazy good job on his part, and there was a moment where he was actually banging on the drums with his fists, which I’ve never seen a drummer do before on stage. I was not the only one awed by Miguel’s skill- during “No Puedo Respirar,” everyone around me was moving to the beat. The beginning of the song is so good! The band was also very kind and approachable as well- keyboardist Armando Aguilar actually came up to me after the show and asked if I took any good pictures. I even ended up getting a station ID from bassist Lou Ros, who was very sweet about the whole thing. I’ll put the unedited ID for listening below. You’ll probably hear it sometime on our station- KCSB FM 91.9!
I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see the shoegaze sound make a come-back in this day and age. I had listened to 80’s/90’s shoegaze frontrunners My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive before, but it wasn’t until this year when I really immersed myself in the genre. I initially found out about Vaya Futuro while I was doing research for an international shoegaze show I had on KJUC, and they’ve stuck with me ever since. It was really eye-opening for me to see this type of music come from places other than the U.K. and the U.S. This sound was something I had always associated with Europe, because the whole shoegaze scene had started in the U.K. in the 80’s (or at least that’s what Wikipedia told me). However, there are so many international groups out there that have similar sounds- Shojoskip from Japan to Velódromo from Chilé and Vaadat Charigrim from Israel. Therefore, if you enjoy the sounds of dreamy noise pop and guitar feedback, I greatly encourage you to check out some more non-European tunes, because they’re not as well known yet definitely worth listening to!
Overall, I had a really fantastic experience watching Vaya Futuro live. Hopefully I’ll be able to see them again when they have a longer set time. I really cannot say enough good things about this band!
Written by Megan Neikirk.
*Not that I didn’t want to see Shannon and The Frights- I would have loved to, but I’ve already seen both of them multiple times and there was a 4 hour time difference between them and VF (with no re-entry) which I didn’t feel like waiting around for.