Music festival warms things up for Circus Mexicus

The biggest music festival in Puerto Peñasco is right around the corner, as Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers annual Circus Mexicus is already knocking at our door. However, this spot on the sandy shores of the Sea of Cortez has been bursting with music recently! Along with talented local groups crooning through jazz, salsa, banda, rock and Latin rhythms across this city, the sounds of The Black Moods (Tempe, AZ) wafted from Skullyz to BooBar and Beach Bum this past Memorial Day Weekend, while Mark Mulligan (San Carlos) brought his troprock back to Caribbean Parrot, and over at Banditos the 1st Memorial Day Music Festival planted the seeds for what we hope turns into an annual welcome to summer fest!

Circus Mexicus 2014 -025Production of this 1st Memorial Day Music Festival fell greatly into the lap of Marc Norman, front man for the band Ghetto Cowgirl (also from Tempe, AZ) and promoter of Roger Clyne’s Mexican Moonshine Tequila (event sponsor). Norman explains he is also “officially” part of two other groups: Marc Norman and The Judge and The Strolling Bones. He’s also graced the stage at JJ’s Cantina and been part of Circus Mexicus in recent years.

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Banana Gun

At the 1st Memorial Day Music Festival, AZ groups Japhy’s Descent, Banana Gun, Elvis Before Noon, Ghetto Cowgirl, and The Black Moods led the weekend crowd through a line-up of funk, rock, and in the end even a little salsa as local group Agua de Coco was called in last minute on Saturday.

Before the Music Festival headed into its second evening at Banditos, I caught up with Norman shortly after he belted one out with The Black Moods during their afternoon gig at Beach Bum.

“I see a lot of the bands that come down seem to mix it up,” I remarked.

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The Black Moods

“Yes, we tend to inner-pollinate,” Norman laughed, tying back his unruly yet characteristic and certainly memorable fro. “Wait till you hear The Strolling Bones at Circus! We’re basically a Rolling Stones cover band with Nick and P.H. from Peacemakers, Josh Kennedy from Black Moods, me from Ghetto Cowgirl, and Thomas Laufenberg from Pistoleros.”

“So are you the main organizer of the Memorial Day Music Festival?”

“(Jim) Skoda (Banditos) and I basically concocted it out of thin air,” he explains. “All the bands are rock and Americana to country, though Harry Luge had to cancel this time for a family emergency.”

“I heard, I hope everything is ok as he’s also part of the line-up for Circus,” I lamented.

“But I’m excited, I get to use my production manager skills!” Norman’s eyes nearly pop out from under his fro, “I am running it & booked it! … and Roger’s our special guest on Sunday night!”

1st-memorial-day-music-festival (5)Well, the mix of rock, funk, country, and Americana tunes under the Puerto Peñasco night sky certainly worked, as each night the Memorial Day Music Festival drew more and more attention. By Sunday, as folk also geared up for Roger Clyne to take the stage toward the end of the night, each of the weekend bands performed to a packed standing crowd ready to take in rock with a side of tequila and tacos.

Clyne’s visit to the stage received a warm welcome as he joined The Black Moods on their popular “Don’t let them get you down.” Then the “inner-pollination” went full fledge with each group lending their efforts to one tune or another from Clyne’s rich rock history, rolling through albums from The Refreshments to many favorites straight from RCPM.

Watching Norman from the side of the stage late Sunday night I couldn’t help but smile, admiring him looking like a proud papa taking in his kids’ first recital performance.

Marc Norman will be back in town for Circus Mexicus (June 11 – 14) where Ghetto Cowgirl and The Strolling Bones are part of a packed line up that also includes: Shurman, Shawn Johnson, Dead Hot Workshop, Jim Dalton, Zubia Bros., The Jons, The Black Moods, Whiskey’s Quicker, Elvis Before Noon, Harry Luge Band, The Pistoleros and of course Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers.

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Photo gallery courtesy of Tony Ballesteros

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