by Sky Disco
The Brooklyn-based Latin rock trio New Madrid, who played Bowery Electric on Thursday night, have a way of really drawing the audience in and injecting them with their explosive sensitivity and sensuality. At first, I stood in back of the crowd, not really sure what to expect. I wondered why they set up the drum kit at the front of the stage, or why there was a keyboard in the kit.
Less than halfway through the first song, New Madrid fans were absolutely taking over the space and I just had to move closer to the stage. I almost caught a mouthful of curly, strawberry blonde hair from the 6-foot woman in front of me as she danced and head-banged everywhere. Most fans knew all of the words.
The way this trio delivers is genius. Axel Ito is the front man AND drummer, infusing his vocals with the occasional synth line. He sings in both Spanish and in English, and although he doesn’t venture too far away from the drum kit, his energy and matador-like performance style made many of his fans charge the stage. It's not everyday you see a drummer standing throughout the entire set.
Erik Barragan supplied magnetic guitar leads and background vocals. Anthony Formichella rocked the bass with a super tight groove. I felt like I was watching a blockbuster soundtrack: these guys really know how to put on a show.
I had a chance to speak with Axel after the show, and he shed some light as to how he became both a drummer and front man. The band started four years ago with vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Then after some time, the drummer - who is still a very close friend of the band - left, and Axel offered to step covering the drum parts while still holding down lead vocals. The crowd loved it, and they decided to keep it. Now the drum kit stays front and center during their shows.