Cityscape Presents: Pancho Ballard and the Banditos

The House Without A Name, Harwood

Sunday, October 9

THERE are few things that can raise a smile on a wet Sunday after a long weekend and with the prospect of work early the next morning — but Pancho Ballard and the Banditos are one of them.

The name might sound like a comedy band, but don’t be fooled, behind the sombreros and the “arribas” are finely-honed pop gems with hummable bits and laced with just the right amount of pathos.

Opener Lucha Libre sets the tine, with whoop and cheers from the audience, and the merriment continues with the likes of Soup, during which Dick Perkins does a fine impression of a BBC announcer while giving the ingredients for the aphrodisiac recipe. Murder over moustaches and the Mexican Elvis are all par for the course, while there were a few heartstrings tugged during the supremely winsome Mexican Boy in the Snow.

Raucous, infectiously exuberant and full of Mexican spirit, the band thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received at the end of their set.

Support came from Tokyo Rosenthal, provided some rather more genuine Americana with help from outrageously talented guitarist Charlie Chamberlain. Tokyo’s new album, Who Was That Man (which features members of the Banditos on brass) is out now.