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Tijuana on stage

Review: Tijuana and Durban Poison

John Higgins
Tijuana and Durban Poison played Glastonbury Tor Leisure Centre on Friday 2 June 2006. BBC Somerset reviewer John Higgins went along to the gig to check it out.

Durban Poison
Durban Poison

This concert was held to raise money for the Little Room Theatre at Millfield School, which is aiming to take the play Greek, a London-set tale based upon Sophocles' Oedipus, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August this year.

The opening band was Durban Poison.

From West Byfleet in Surrey, they play frequently in the Somerset area, as Glastonbury is the home town of their most recent member, bassist Kali Jon.

Durban Poison

Although the band has been in existence for three or four years, these guys, who are still only in their late teens, show a musical maturity beyond their years.  

As they came on stage, vocalist/guitarist James Tate launched into a bitter vocal tirade against those who try to stop events like this, and thereby prevent young people from enjoying themselves, before dedicating opening song Hate to them.

Nevertheless, I would suggest to him that his overuse of unnecessary profanity at this time, and throughout the set, may somewhat alienate some of the parents in attendance. To watch his demeanour, I felt he wasn't entirely comfortable with swearing anyway.

Durban Poison
Durban Poison

Apart from this minor gripe, I'd say the band were extremely tight. The songs flow well, and their rocky style (while bringing to mind bands from the grunge era like Nirvana and Glastonbury-born band Reef) adds some new life and originality to the mix, presenting hard-hitting but well constructed and tuneful rock to a younger generation. 

James appears to perform better while both singing and brandishing a guitar, and seems uneasy when he is solely holding a microphone. Nevertheless, he is a charismatic front man, who I feel would be as similarly unfazed playing in front of 20,000 people or 200. 

Meanwhile, the bassist jumps around the stage like a long-haired version of Zebedee, as drummer Joey holds the rhythm together while the songs hurtle along relentlessly.

New-ish number Something Inside My Head has a strong grooving and twisted style reminiscent of System of a Down, but its original elements sets it apart from that band. The cover of Street Spirit (Fade Out) was so awesome that I cannot fault their take on this, my favourite Radiohead tune.

Mr President was the most political moment of the set, being based around a certain global village idiot, while crowd-pleaser Pushing You Away ensured the best crowd response of the evening. 


These four guys appeared to enjoy themselves throughout. They certainly know how to write and, most importantly perform, memorable tunes. With a bit of good fortune and record-company backing, they could potentially be a future stadium rock-band.


Opening with their signature song Tijuana Blues, the headliners have more of a political outlook than fun-time fellas Durban Poison. Numbers like Nuclear Time and Break Free have overt messages about the ills of our era.

Their diminutive, Portuguese, rapping front man, Miguel Da Silva, jumped around the stage, full of youthful indignation and political frustration, as he spat righteous fury and ranted about the injustices of the 21st century.

In places, his voice reminded me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis, but overwhelmingly he represented a Zach de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) wannabe.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am a great admirer of Rage Against the Machine - of their beliefs and their music. Indeed, there are far worse people to yearn to be.

However, I think Tijuana need to define their own style, rather than trying to emulate their heroes.


They may have played them well, but to cover two Rage Against the Machine songs (as well as loosely basing many of their own tunes around this rap metal-style), in a 40-minute set is overkill in my mind, especially considering Rage Against the Machine ceased to exist six years ago.

Luckily, an unlikely cover version of George Michael's Faith added a much-needed different dimension, while guitarist/singer Jake Meeking, complete with some Jimmy Page posturing and a more versatile rockier vocal style, ensured that the band can gig in a more conventional manner too.

Tijuana went down well in front of a home-town crowd, and unsurprisingly were hailed back for an encore.

I hope that given time to refine their own sound, whilst maintaining a political stance, these guys can reap future success and make a name for themselves in their own right.

last updated: 06/06/06
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Daygan from Dragonsfly
Absolutely fantastic gig at the leisure centre in Glastonbury the other night, it was the first time I'd seen you play it was brilliant and I will definitely come to see you again. Good to meet you, I will certainly ask around to try and get you on at Glastonbury Festival next year. You deserve much success.

mum of Dan
You're a band in your own right you are singing songs to please the crowd as well as sharing your own talents. You have to take some bad comments, but we know you are good!

I saw Tijuana supporting Jesse James in Bridgwater on Thursday, and I really thought they were good, I then found this review, and your reviewer is correct, both me and my mate thought they were soooo much like RATM.

Tijuana HAVE their own defined sound. they are NOT rage against the machine wannabes. yes its an influence, but just one of many. it was a great night and both bands played amazingly.

Just cos someone sounds a bit like/covers Zeppelin songs, doesn't make them bad. In my opinion anyway.

Glenn (drummer-tijuana)
I don't appreciate this review at all. There were different dimensions on enough levels to the music; yes many songs are politically orientated and take a heavier rap-metal stance, but they were mixed evenly with cooler 'singing' tracks. There is a fine line between 'emulating' ones heroes and being 'inspired' by them, and we do not cross that line. 2 Rage covers reflect our influences, however so do 2 Hendrix covers and a Who cover, along with George Michael. Sadly, they cannot all fit into 45 mintues, so we rotate.

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