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Piñata Protest // Live @ The Continental Club Houston // 4.1.23

Articles and Photos by: Ommar Ortuvia


Houston, TX — San Antonio is a city in central Texas known for many things; most famously the Alamo, but also the River Walk, 18th century missions, colonial Spanish architecture, and for some the birthplace of Tex-Mex. But one thing that you will not find in any tourist brochures is that San Antonio is also the birthplace of Tex-Mex punk. That’s right, because San Antonio’s Piñata Protest is a punk band that embraces the melding of Mexican and Texan cultures, and adding that flair to punk’s no-frills attitude. They are able to effortlessly wear Iron Maiden shirts and shred fast power chords, while the main singer dons a cowboy hat and harmonizes with a Hohner accordion. They came exclusively to Houston in support of Reverend Horton Heat at the Continental Club in downtown’s south side.

The sold-out venue was packed by the time Piñata Protest took the stage, with the crowd timidly hanging back at first. The band started things off with “Vato Perron,” no doubt their most popular song. The opening melody of the accordion, with the subsequent guitars and fast beat on the drums, along with the tremendously catchy lyrics (in both English and Spanish) was the perfect way to introduce the crowd to what Piñata Protest was all about. The Norteño-laced punk slowly started winning the crowd, with the people in attendance filling up the space right next to the stage. The band then polled the crowd to choose what song they wanted to hear, with the choices being Vicente Fernandez’s classic “Volver, Volver,” the fast & hard “Tragos Amargos,” the cumbia “La Chona,” and even –jokingly- Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Surprisingly, the winner was “La Chona” to which Alvaro Del Norte, the main singer and accordionist, responded with, “everybody loves a cumbia.”

Towards the end of the show, the band polled the crowd again but this time the question was whether salsa roja or salsa verde is better on your tacos. One faction was moved to one end of the floor, and the other towards the other end. In true punk style, Del Norte commanded the crowd to form a wall of death to settle the score “once and for all” on which sauce fits Tex-Mex cuisine better. Then the most punk song of the night began with blast beats from their drummer and fast guitars galore – this was the fuel for the crowd to start battering against each other in a classic mosh pit, which concluded with bouts of slam dancing among the moshers.

Prior to playing “Life On the Border,” Del Norte asked the crowd if anybody in attendance grew up in a border town. Some hollers were received, with Del Norte asking people which cities they were from; Laredo, Brownsville, El Paso, among others were heard. This allowed the band to segue into the content of the song, mentioning the realities of living two cultures in a Texas border town. This interaction with the crowd showed that the band’s unapologetically punk attitude still retains the warmth one would expect from someone who grew up in Texas. Overall Piñata Protest put on a fun and energetic show that had enough punk and Mexican flavor to please everyone in attendance. Currently they are close to finishing up their tour, but will be playing a few dates within Texas, and a few shows outside of the state with their last stop at the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee. If you are ever able to catch them live, it is well worth it since no other band can seriously claim to be “punk rock like abuela used to make.”

Updated information regarding shows and upcoming albums can be found on their Facebook page or