Live Concert Photography: Davila 666 with The Cabana Kids and Lola Pistola at Rough Trade 7/28/19
Like countless people across New York and across the globe, I’ve been following social distancing guidelines when I’ve gone out, but for the most part I’ve been in quarantine. With the seemingly endless hours at home, I’ve been busy. Most of my time has been consumed with work. Although live concerts in the traditional sense aren’t happening — and won’t be happening at any point in the near future, artists from all over the world are still actively releasing music. There seems to be a sense among the community that art of all stripes can offer people some solace and connection in these bleak and uncertain times.
Unsurprisingly some of that work has included editing photos from my extensive archives of previously unedited photos.
Davila 666 is a highly-regarded San Juan, Puerto Rico-based punk rock sextet, in which most of its members — Sir Charles Davila, AJ Davila, GiGi Davila, Johnny Otis Davila, Panda Davila and The Latin Snake — have adopted the same surname, like the Ramones.
They’ve publicly described their sound and dynamic as “Menudo on lots of drugs,” their sound is actually much closer to drunken and scuzzy garage punk that may remind some listeners of Madrid‘s The Parrots — but they’ve been around a bit longer. While their material is incredibly hook driven and wild party focused, their songs are written and sung in a broken, simplified Spanish, which adds to the raucous party vibes. In Puerto Rico, they’re considered the ambassadors of the island’s punk and rock scenes, as they’re one of the rare bands, who have toured outside of Puerto Rico. (Back in 2011, I saw Davila 666 share a stage with The Black Angels at the inaugural 4 Knots Music Festival sponsored by The Village Voice.)
After a handful of releases, the band went on an extended hiatus in which its members went on to pursue other creative pursuits — most notably AJ Davila’s solo efforts with AJ Davila y Terror Armor. But last year, the band reunited to write and record a single, last year’s “Huesos Viejos.”
With the Trump Administration’s incredibly racist and bigoted response to Puerto Rico’s needs before, during and after Hurricane Maria, Davila 666’s reunion seemed more urgent and more necessary. The Puerto Rican punk sextet headlined a show at Rough Trade last July that featured local surf rock act The Cabana Kids and powerhouse rocker Lola Pistola. Check out photos from the show below.
Arvelisse Ruby Bonilla-Ramos is a Humacao, Puerto Rico-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, who’s best known in punk and indie rock circles by her stage name Lola Pistola. “My mom calls me Lola, but that’s not my name, Lola just sticks—it was like a late-life nickname,” she told BTR Today a few years ago. “Somebody was once like, ‘Arvelise Ruby, yeah, it’s a cool name, but Lola Pistola, everybody can say that.’”
Initially, Bonilla-Ramos cut her teeth playing and singing in longtime friend AJ Davila’s post Davila 666 solo project AJ Davila Y Terror Armor for a period of three years that saw Davila and Bonilla-Ramos tour with the likes of JOVM mainstays Crocodiles and others. The experience with AJ Davila inspired the Puerto Rican-born, Brooklyn-based artist to finally record the material she had been writing for a number of years — and to tour to support it. Pink Mexico‘s creative mastermind Robert Preston joins her on drums.
Once she started seriously writing on her own, she couldn’t stop, and the result was her full-length debut, 2017’s Curfew which sonically meshes element of grunge rock, noise pop and punk with an in-your-face self-assuredness that actually belies its contemplative nature.
Live, Bonilla-Ramos is a towering force of nature who stomps, howls and commands the attention of an audience.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmMs62A7