Mexicans With Guns, aka err … a local DJ to be named later, originally planned to perform a guerilla show at the Alamo earlier Friday in honor of the Mexican Revolution. He didn’t (God was making it rain for one thing), and, as cool as that would have been, we think he probably made the right choice. The name Mexicans With Guns alone is likely enough to earn him an FBI profile once he starts blowing up (he may already have one in fact, after being name-dropped on Pitchfork, Xlr8r and in this very publication). They might’ve called in the SWAT team had he attempted to set up on the Alamo lawn wearing the get-up he’s got on when he takes the Limelight stage: A blazer, tie, and luchador-mask combo. He’s got an identity to protect, after all.
He starts his closing set at the Current’s first-ever Rammy Awards Show by spinning a tinkly music-box tune, which he shortly forces into an unnatural union with a reggaeton record. The mechanics of their joining is anybody’s guess, you might say, except nobody’s guessing; they’re shaking and grinding instead. At some point the reggaeton becomes Lil Flip. And the DJ bounces around the stage like he can’t stand still through his music, either.
Maybe he realizes he can’t keep his identity secret forever, or maybe because it’s just hot up there onstage, MWG, aka Ernest Gonzales (OK, so we, along with everybody else, have revealed his name before), unmasks eventually. He even calls his wife up — tonight’s his fifth wedding anniversary. As super-hero cover stories go, “remixer and Exponential records label head by day and more dance-oriented Exponential-signed remixer by night,” is about as lame as “millionaire genius Tony Stark is his own bodyguard.” The sheer amount of music Gonzales is generating might be enough to deceive you into thinking he’s two different people (Xlr8r didn’t call him “2009’s busiest remixer” for nothing). The preternatural sense of rhythm on display as MWG slips seamlessly from Dirty South to Tejano accordion to Animal Collective, however, should be a dead giveaway. Gonzales’s remixes under both names are standalone works, recontextualizing their sources by reducing them to their most abstract elements. Still Gonzales is right to divide his work between two different personas — under his own name, he weaves cerebral compositions with the intricacy of a Persian rug; as Mexicans With Guns, he keeps feet moving by constantly yanking the rug out from under them. You’d be tempted to call the skips, glitches, and other defects he purposely employs to his own, sometimes unknowable, ends “challenging” if a roomful of drunk people weren’t crawling all over one another and screaming along to it.
KRTU’s Scuba Gooding climbs onstage to play hypeman. “Get your guns up,” he screams, and everybody complies, extending their thumbs and forefingers. “Brrrrrraaapppp! Brrrrrraaapppp!” It’s antics like this that might land Gonzales in a secret prison someday, or at least a snotty Glenn Beck segment, especially now that (sorry) everybody knows his real name. But tonight it feels like a revolution. — Jeremy Martin