Cumbia punkers Thee Commons has the elusive ‘it’ factor

Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

Thee Commons — Jose Rojas, left, and David and Rene Pachecho heat up The Saint on Nov. 16.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Michael Smyth

Thee Commons made its first ever appearance in Reno Thursday night and gave the Biggest Little City a taste of the high praise they’ve received from LA Weekly as one of the best live bands to see in Los Angeles.

What the crowd at The Saint lacked in numbers, thanks in part to our first winter storm, it more than made up for in enthusiasm and participation. Thee Commons serves up a unique blend of the Latin American dance genre “cumbia” centered inside rhythmic, rather than angry, psychedelic punk. Together they create a high energy, uniquely untethered experience for fans and band alike.

One certainly had a sense that a packed house would be a wild scene and the ease in which the band, led by guitarist and vocalist David Pacheco, conveys on stage feels like they could take a show off script at any moment. Brother Rene Pacheco anchors the kit, peeling off a mix of punk, rock, and Latin rhythms, while bassist Jose Rojas constantly engages the crowd with an infectious smile and sonically bridges the Pachecos.

The songs are shorter in length than I’m used to at live shows but upon noticing the sweat pouring from the performers and those dancing it made sense. If the trio went off for 20 minutes jam-band style it might just kill everyone. That said, envisioning them deciding in the moment to extend some instrumental sections or ad-lib a lyric felt entirely possible, and something I hope they employ. This is a relatively young band at 5 years old, but has the musical foundation and hints of the elusive “it” factor to carve out a lengthy live performance niche for themselves.

Thee Commons will cap off the biggest touring year ever by playing a hometown New Year’s Eve show on the same bill with Chicano Batman, which spent this past Sunday bringing down the house here at Cargo Concert Hall. Hydrate before that one Angeleno’s. A new pair of dancing shows will surely be one of 2018’s first purchases.

-Michael Smyth

About Michael Smyth

Michael Smyth moved to Reno in 2007 after living more than 40 years in the Bay Area. In addition to going to live shows, he enjoys golf, skiing and fly-fishing. Check out his website

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