Latin

Panteón Rococó Brings Ska (and Mosh Pits) to Chicago at Ruido Fest 2021

Hector Gálvez

Panteón Rococó performs at Ruido Fest in Chicago's Union Park on August 21, 2021.

Rain and thunderstorms didn't stop festival-goers from showing up to the second day of Ruido Fest at Chicago's Union Park on Saturday (Aug. 21), where headliners Panteón Rococó, Moenia and Ivy Queen were set to perform.

Even before the headliners took the stage, the crowd arrived early for day two as the first artist Rai performed at 1 p.m., followed by back-to-back sets by La Doña, Inner Wave, Kronovox and Enjambre, among others.

At 6 p.m., it was show time for Ivy Queen who became the first reggaeton act to headline Ruido Fest. "I know how to rock too," she told the crowd before taking them down memory lane -- the early 2000s to be exact, with reggaeton anthems such as "Quiero Bailar" and "Te He Querido Te He Llorado."

Ivy Queen's performance was followed by Mexican pop-rock band Moenia, who also performed a nostalgic set including "Ni Tú Ni Nadie" and "Manto Estelar" at the Tecate stage. But most of the crowd -- nearly all wearing Panteón Rococó T-shirts -- stayed at the main stage to secure a spot for the night's headliners. At 8 p.m. sharp, Panteón's lead singer Dr. Shenka, who courageously wore a Dodgers jersey in Chicago White Sox/Cubs territory, greeted zealous fans.

"Welcome to this f---ing fiesta," Shenka said.

It never actually rained but during Panteón Rococó's set, those in the mosh pit made sure to shower fellow mosh pitters and others nearby with whatever liquid was in their cups.

Here are four takeaways from Ruido Fest day two.

From reggaeton to ska

Ruido Fest is known for being a Latin alternative-focused fest but here and there, the lineup will feature non-rockeros. Over the past years, they've had regional Mexican bands -- such as Intocable and Los Tigres del Norte -- as headliners. For the first time, Ruido Fest featured a reggaeton act as a headliner, Ivy Queen. "They told me, 'You're going to a concert but there's only rockers there,'" the "Yo Quiero Bailar" singer said. "But I know how to rock too." Rockers or not, Queen's set at the main stage gathered a significant crowd that was ready to perrear with La Caballota.

"Too young to learn some s--t"

Ivy Queen took the stage wearing a military green two-piece set and high-heeled gold boots to sing back-to-back hits and fan favorites such as "Que Lloren," "Quiero Bailar" and "Te He Querido Te He Llorado." At the top of her one-hour set, she greeted her fans, particularly fellow Puerto Ricans. "Where are my boricuas at?" she asked a sweaty crowd that gathered under the scorching sun post-rain. "I'm drinking water today because if I drank anything else we'd be in trouble and there are kids here too. They're too young to learn some s---." During her set, she also paid homage to fellow reggaeton icons such as Don Omar and Tego Calderón singing "Cuéntale" and "Pa Que Se Lo Gozen." And sang classics such as Alejandra Guzmán's "Hacer El Amor Con Otro" and Paquita la del Barrio's girl power anthem "Rata de Dos Patas."

Together again

It's not the first time Panteón Rococó appeared at Ruido Fest, but Saturday's performance seemed like a pretty special one. "No matter where you're coming from," Shenka said. "We're together again. We're thankful to be here and feel this joy again." Energetic as ever, the Mexico City-based ska band went on to perform for two hours their mosh pit-ready songs such as "Esta Noche," "Estrella Roja," "Acabame de Matar," "La Dosis Perfecta" and "La Carencia," to name a few.

"Let's celebrate life tonight. Don't get stuck in the past. The biggest lesson learned from this pandemic is to live in the moment," Shenka added.

Homage to Selena 

Coincidentally, both Ivy Queen and Panteón Rococó sang their version of Selena Quintanilla's 1994 classic "Si Una Vez." "We're about to sing a cover we've never sung before. I never thought we'd build the courage to do so but here it is," Shenka explained. Instantly, the fans recognized the track and began singing along to the 1994 chart-topping track taking a break from the mosh pit to pay homage to the Tex-Mex queen.