Jaguares, the Mexican equivalent of an arena-rock supergroup, celebrated its 20th anniversary Saturday with a show that included a humorous tribute to their beginnings in the 1980s, when they were known as Caifanes, and celebrated the raw, fatalistic spirit of Saul Hernandez’s lyrics.
The wounded persona of singer-guitarist Hernandez lies at the core of Jaguares. A fan of prog rock such as King Crimson (Adrian Belew produced the group’s latest album) and the goth sensibility of the Cure, Hernandez has incorporated both into Jaguares’ darkly hued and gimmick-free universe. An immensely charismatic performer, Hernandez’s strength is in generating morbid guitar anthems and embracing the conventions of traditional rock ‘n’ roll with poetic fervor.
At the Gibson, the band members appeared wearing extravagant wigs, a humorous tribute to their beginnings when they sported new wave hairstyles. Two vintage Caifanes nuggets — “Matenme Porque Me Muero,” with its mysterious intro and prog-rock keyboards, and the Santana-like “Nubes,” with dueling saxophone riffs and (almost) joyous echoes of funky tropical rock — hold up well thanks to the dependable Cesar “Vampiro” Lopez on guitars and drummer Alfonso Andre.