The Refreshments, the Peacemakers, and a Wild Family Reunion at Circus Mexicus
Last week, Up on the Sun asked readers whether traveling to a different state for a music festival was worth the trip. Well, what about a different country? Last weekend in Puerto Penasco, Mexico marked the 14th annual Circus Mexicus Festival, and it was a circus indeed that rolled into Rocky Point as legions of faithful Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and The Refreshments buffs converged on the small town.
All photos by Caleb Haley
The dilapidated outskirts of Puerto Penasco show the second-world reality of the country, but tourists would be none the wiser if they stuck to the towering skyline and lush golf courses of the Sandy Beach resorts, where a cluster of lavish beachfront properties consume the area and offer guests a peaceful escape from reality. That's where you'll find Cirus Mexicus, for the most part.
The festival itself spanned from Thursday to Sunday and alternated musical destinations nightly between the oasis that is the sand-filled, oceanside cantina named Wrecked at the Reef and a rocky, portside bar called JJ's.
The mastermind behind this getaway is Roger Clyne himself, singer and guitarist for the highly successful Tempe-based band the Peacemakers. Saturday night was the main event, with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers closing the evening with two 90-minute sets. In addition to the Peacemakers, Roger Clyne's original band, The Refreshments, was also back together for one night only to play a full set for the first time in 15 years.
"My expectations for tonight are mostly personal," Clyne explains to me as we stand beneath the blistering sun after his soundcheck to prepare for the evening's show. The wind coming off the ocean tears past us and sends his curly hair, soaked with sweat, into a spin.
Read nore: Refreshments Reunion a One-Off (For Now)
"I want to put a lot of bad blood [behind us]. We didn't give a real farewell to our fans when we broke up as The Refreshments. So, this is closure personally for me. It's going to be a good way to say thanks and give back for a really cool career."