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By Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
“El placer es mío,” Roger Clyne remarked as we walked out of the Tequila Factory in Puerto Peñasco on Friday afternoon, – the pleasure is mine. Around town, Circus Mexicus activities were just getting underway. Roger had stopped by the Tequila Factory for a meet & greet with Peacemaker faithful who had come to pick up a signed bottle of one of his Mexican Moonshine Ultra-Premium tequilas. A bearded Roger was quick with tips on how to best enjoy the Silver Moonshine, “…that’s a sipping tequila, no lime, no salt, drink at room temperature, enjoy!”
Following Thursday’s official kick-off fiesta at Wrecked featuring The Toluenes with Brian Blush and Jamon Scott (pronounced like Damon with a J) plus a local taste of La Merca, Friday night’s traditional “Hot Dog & a Smile” took over JJ’s Cantina in Cholla Bay in true Circus Mexicus fashion. The event, begun in 2008, was started by RCPM drummer PH Naffah as a way to mix good music with raising donations for the Esperanza para los Niños children’s home located about 15 minutes north of town.
In recent years, a group of Peacemakers have come together to fill Wish List needs at the home as well (more to come on that soon). The night included tunes from Random Karma, Jason Boots, Josh Kennedy from The Black Moods, Shurman out of Austin, TX with Jim Dalton stepping in, and then a couple surprise songs by The Refreshments before The Pistoleros wrapped up the night.
Saturday morning around 8 a.m. – yes, 8 a.m. – over 150 people hit the soccer fields drawn out on the beach in front of Wrecked for another CM tradition, Roger’s Rock n’ Soccer Tournament. The home team from Wrecked took the golazo division while Beautiful Disaster took the other. Felicidades!
After a night of music at JJ’s on Friday and then soccer all morning on the beach, spirits were still high Saturday evening as people made their way to this year’s concert venue converted from part of The Reef’s RV Park near Wrecked. As the sun set behind Competition Hill, those who had gotten word of this year’s “white out” showed up donning white t-shirts and dresses, plus a couple carefully painted sombreros. Shurman took the stage first while beach-balls and aliens were tossed around the gathering crowd. Then it came time for a reunion of The Refreshments with original bandmembers Roger, Brian Blush, and PH Naffah, accompanied by Nick Scropos from RCPM, running down songs off Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy and The Bottle & Fresh Horses.
Throughout the night, a recently shaven Roger kept reminding us all “pace yourselves;” good thing as after playing a full Refreshments set he and the Peacemakers, dressed in white, took the stage for TWO – yes TWO – full sets to the delight of all! A look at the CMXXII set list posted by RCPM after the concert revealed it was indeed an EPIC night with 15 songs from The Refreshments and two 90-minute sets of RCPM. Did we mention the encore?
By Sunday, folks were ready for Mañanathon at JJ’s Cantina. First begun as a way for the band to meet up before heading back over the border, the ongoing music marathon has become a mainstay in CM tradition and this year included Jason Boots, a pop-in of RCPM guitarist Jim Dalton singing his much requested “Tucscon Troubadour”, The Toluenes, The Pistoleros and Random Karma. RCPM band members meandered around the crowd and up on stage throughout the mañana – well, actually, it all got started in la tarde not la mañana.
For more than ten years, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers have brought Circus Mexicus to Clyne’s casa of Puerto Peñasco nestled into where the desert meets the sea, offering alt-country rock n’ roll to audiences who trek across the country and the globe to take in a weekend of music under the Sonoran sun. The weekend is like your favorite summer camp you may remember from growing up, hoping you’ll run into familiar faces while looking forward to what is to come. As always, we were happy to embrace amigos from Peñasco and Phoenix to Minnesota and beyond. Many friends invite friends to experience CM for the first time, and one guy we met even paid for 10 of his friends to come down (flight, housing, and all)!
On the final day of Circus Mexicus 2013, a new tradition may be emerging…following Mañanathon at JJ’s, the Farewell Fiesta moved over to Chango’s. Pace yourselves, amigos.…and Roger, ¡siempre es un placer! ¡Hasta la próxima!