Jaguares, perhaps rock en espanol’s most viable export, has embarked on another U.S. tour that will take the Latin rockers into several virgin markets.
The tour, which began Oct. 20 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, will hit 30 cities in support of Jaguares’ latest record, “Cuando la Sangre Galopa” (When the Blood Races), on RCA/BMG Latin. The disc debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, the only rock en espanol project to do so this year. Jaguares will tour the U.S. through a Dec. 29 finale at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio.
Musically, Jaguares — whose core has been together since the mid-’80s, when the band toured as Caifanes — plays songs ranging from riff-heavy, Zeppelin-esque rockers to more radio-friendly pop-rock songs, all fueled by wailing vocals from Saul Hernandez, fierce guitar figures from Cesar Lopez, and energetic, precise percussion from Alfonso Andre. Produced by Hernandez and Andre, the musicianship and passion of Cuando la Sangre Galopa largely transcends language and cultural barriers.
“We grew up in Mexico and listened to music like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones,” Andre says. “And even though we didn’t understand what they were saying, the feeling came across. Music itself is a language.”
Hugely popular in Mexico, Jaguares routinely sold out 5,000-10,000-seat venues on its recently completed tour, and this will be the band’s largest U.S. trek to date. It headlined last year’s multi-act rock en espanol tour, Revolucion, which helped bring exposure to rock en espanol as a distinct genre.
“These shows will be a lot more energetic [than] the last tour,” Andre predicts. “We will play a more heavy, raw set, because the album is like that.”
Jaguares tours mainly attract the U.S. Hispanic population, “but [others] are coming to check the band out, and hopefully even more will come out this time around,” Andre says. “We believe there is a lot of growth ahead of us [in the U.S.], but we don’t get enough radio support, even from the Latin stations.”
In Washington, D.C., Jaguares will play the popular 9:30 Club, with a capacity of 1,200, Nov. 27 in a first-time booking for club owner/promoter Seth Hurwitz. “We get a lot of calls on Hispanic [acts], but I’m actually fairly clueless [about] it,” Hurwitz admits. Still, he says that the Jaguares deal was an attractive proposition. “They clearly had confidence in the kind of business they were going to do, and the deal reflected that, meaning they’ll make their money on the back-end [door percentage] as opposed to an upfront guarantee. I don’t know Jaguares from Mercedes Benz, but my message to agents and managers is, ‘If you really have confidence in your act, make a deal that shows it.'”
In New York City, Jaguares will play the 3,600-seat Hammerstein Ballroom Nov. 25. The band has already made a considerable dent in the market, according to John Sepulveda, regional director for promoter Cardenas Fernandez, promoters of the Hammerstein date.
“They have always done very well here, and we expect to do even better this time,” Sepulveda says. The show will be promoted on Latin radio, including Latino Mix, and SBS station Amor. “Rock en espanol grows in this market every day.”
For the New York show, Jaguares will donate proceeds to the children of New York City firefighters, Sepulveda says. For his part, Andre says the band cannot help but have some consternation about coming to the U.S., given the uneasy global situation.
“It will be in the back of our minds, and we will be doing the tour mainly on a bus,” Andre says. “[A terrorist attack] could happen again, in Mexico or wherever you are. But we will try not to let this be a distraction.”