The Smoke Out Tour debuting at the Microsoft Theater on April 20 is nearly sold-out, a rare feat for a regional Mexican show four weeks ahead of opening night. Fans will experience a themed show around marijuana, corridos about the cannabis lifestyle and a stage decked out with a storefront dispensary with actors in between sets paying homage to films such as Friday and Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke.
“We are ecstatic to present this new wave of regional Mexican talent at Microsoft Theater on 4/20,” says Niria Leon, AEG Presents Latin Talent Buyer, adding that the April show next month is about 90 percent sold out.
For Jimmy Humilde, 37, president of the Rancho Humilde label and producer of the show, the thirst for ticket sales is attributed to the young “bands who sing about real things that they have lived,” says the label president, who also manages most of the bands performing on the tour. Nearly 50 dates are scheduled throughout the U.S.
“Our artists sing corridos verdes, which is part of a lifestyle,” Humilde says. “Many fans can relate to it and that’s a movement that keeps gaining momentum.”
The tour was officially presented on Thursday (March 22) during a press conference in Los Angeles along with participating acts Legado 7, Omar Ruiz, El De La Guitar, Arsenal Efectivo and Los Hijos de Garcia, all recording artists in their late teens to mid 20s, who began performing in underground shows. This year also marks Rancho Humilde’s 10th anniversary, while Humilde’s tenure in music started as a manager when he was 17.
For singer/songwriter Francisco “Shrek” Rodriguez of Arsenal Efectivo, the tour and being part of the Rancho Humilde label means everything to him because even during personal setbacks, his label and bandmates never forget him, as he completed a prison term last year after being arrested for the trafficking of contraband weapons, he said.
“When you have people around you who care to see you again after spending some time in prison, it says a lot about who they are,” says Rodriguez, who performs a type of music known as trap corridos. “They are family and that means a lot to me.”
Pepe Garza, the veteran Los Angeles program director at FM station KBUE (Que Buena), who oversees the popular morning show Don Cheto Al Aire, has long been a champion of regional Mexican acts.
The Smoke Out Tour “shows that green corridos are successful, especially here in Los Angeles,” said Garza, who was scheduled to make an appearance during the tour’s press conference to present the tour to members of the media. “When a tour like this sells remarkably fast and way ahead of opening night, it shows how popular the genre is when tied around corridos and marijuana.”
For Humilde, the tour is the effort of many years of hard work, but it also took time to build an audience, he says, which included reaching out to people with “guerrilla street teams” armed with flyers.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve never been nervous,” says Humilde, who was born and raised in Venice, Calif. “I loved regional Mexican music early in my life. I love what I do. It’s a gift from God.”