Los Amigos Invisibles and B-Side Players @ Crescent Ballroom | Thursday, September 13, 2012
The bleachers that cradle Crescent's backwall were uncharacteristically vacant last night when Venezuela's feisty funk fellas, Los Amigos Invisibles, breezed through town. I was one of the few people that chose to stay in the stands while everyone else crowded the floor to get their shimmy-shake on. The groovy good time was anchored by sounds that blurred the lines between Latin and funk with a smattering of Santana, Prince, and Zapp & Roger undertones.
San Diego's B-Side Players got the party started with a wailing horn section and laid back Latin-infused reggae rhythms. Frontman Karlos Paez belted out socially conscious lyrics while the rest of the eight-piece band weaved in and out of cumbia, soul, and funk jams. They closed their set with a salsafied cover of Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved."
DJ Rocko took over as the group cleared their instruments, keeping the energy amped with songs by staple rock en Español bands like Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Molotov, Enanitos Verdes, and Los Prisioneros. Tracks by Shakira and Pitbull also made his set, making sure even those not keen on the classics had something to dance to.
Los Amigos finally took the stage after a 40-minute set change and quickly settled into their disco-inspired funk fusion melodies. The six-man ensemble barely took a breath between tunes, delighting concertgoers with their energetic dance soundtrack. Songs included "Robot Love," "Una Disco Llena" and fan-favorites like "Mentiras," but they also added a bunch of mini-homages during the nearly hour-and-thirty-minute-set.
Brief chords and verses from Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam," Deee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart," David Bowie's "Let's Dance," the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," were sprinkled into songs here and there. There may have been more but those were the one's that I caught.
Notable crowd pleasers included, "Cuchi Cuchi" and "El Disco Anal," with singer Julio Briceño only pausing long enough to ask, "Están cansados, are you guys tired?" Telling by all of the dancing and hollering, the answer was, "absolutely not."
Last night: Los Amigos Invisibles and B-Side Players at the Crescent Ballroom
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In the Crowd: Well-dressed dance-happy Latinos and Latinas.
Random Notebook Dump: That is A LOT of booty-popping . . . from that guy.