Three Cuban metal bands landed in Miami on Sunday and will travel to Austin, TX to play the first ever show by a Cuban rock or metal band on U.S. soil on Friday night at SXSW. The three bands, Escape, Ancestor and Agonizer, have been working for months with SXSW and an organization called Unblock the Rock to secure the proper visas and paperwork, as well as to raise enough money to make the trip. The organization’s goal is to use heavy metal to help bridge the cultural and political gap between the U.S. and Cuba, which are separated by less than 90 miles of open water but have had virtually no diplomatic ties for the last 50 years. Last month, Unblock the Rock began selling a compilation of songs called The Red Album, which includes tracks by artists including EyeHateGod, the Supersuckers and Black Tusk, to help pay for the legal and travel costs.
Tracey Noelle Luz, who started Unblock the Rock after spending months in Cuba filming a documentary about Escape called They Will Be Heard, flew to Miami to reunite with the band on Sunday and document their arrival.
“This is really incredible,” she said. “I’m so amazed that we were able to make this happen. The band is walking around like they’re in a dream. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the donations and the help of the artists on the compilations, sponsors lawyers, congressmen and especially the people at SXSW.”
The battle is not quite yet over though, and Unblock the Rock is still soliciting donations and selling copies of the Red Album here (http://unblocktherock.com/donate/) to pay for the bands’ travel and expenses while in the U.S.
Once the three bands are in Austin, they will be participating in a panel discussion, “Red Menace: Cuba’s Heavy Metal Underground” at 3:30 PM on Friday, March 15 at the Convention Center in Room 11AB that will be moderated by David Peisner, who traveled to Cuba last year to write about the country’s extreme metal scene for Spin. (Read the story here: http://www.spin.com/articles/red-menace-inside-hidden-world-extreme-cuban-metal) Then, on Friday night the three bands will take the stage (Escape at 8pm, Ancestor at 11pm, Agonizer at 12am) at The Jr. (603 Red River St.) for the first ever Cuban metal show on American soil. They will share the stage with two metal bands from Brazil, Eminence and Attomica, as well as one from Mexico, Motor.
Do not miss this truly historic night of what must be the loudest, wildest cultural diplomacy of all time.
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