LOS DIAS DE LA CRESCENT DAY TWO @ CRESCENT BALLROOM | 8/18/12
The party continued to rock local on night two of Los Dias de la Crescent, adding the Latin flair that's inescapable in Arizona. Saturday night's set showed that the flag placement, Chicano-inspired art and official state color hues were more than a clever theme or tasteful touch; it was all part of the celebration of Arizona's rich and diverse culture set to a swinging Valley soundtrack.
Familiar Phoenix faces like Snow Songs, Minibosses, and Flamenco Por la Vida got things rolling between the two-stage setup, but what made the climax of this mini-festival especially fun was the mezcla of more traditional Latin timbres provided by our Tucson neighbors.
The sweltering outside heat did little to keep eager concertgoers from venturing out to the temporarily erected Grande Stage. Lured by either the smell od the food trucks or the grooving sounds, the pace continued to move along as bands transitioned seamlessly between sets.
I particularly enjoyed catching Fatigo's lounge-y, bossa nova vibe early in the night. Joined by Minibosses 'Robin Vining, the multi-Latin genre-blurring rhythms served as a cozy reminder of my first days here, when I moved from Los Angeles. I hadn't seen the troupe since the days of downtown's basement bar, Monroe's.
Back inside, Tucson's Salvador Duran serenaded the more comfortable air-conditioned crowd with his weathered vox and slick foot stomps. Duran didn't need much more than his bongo percussionist to woo his listeners. He imitated the wind, didgeridoo sounds and horse clomps with his throat, dishing out rousing renditions of classics like "Cucurrucucú Paloma" and Manu Chao's "Clandestino."
The loud cheers following Duran's set drowned out quickly when Bad Cactus Brass Band made its entrance through the lounge, marching all the way past the Crescent Stage and back through to the Grande Stage. I followed the horn-heavy dance party outside and indulged on some 15-hour braised pork belly. The temperature finally seemed to ease up by the time Tucson natives Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta took the stage. Smokers and chatterboxes mingled, laughed, and danced to tracks like "Los Calles de Tucson" and thoroughly seemed to enjoy the mambo, cumbia, and merengue fusion.
Mariachi Luz de Luna closed the show outside. The seven-piece group blazed through traditional mariachi tracks and provided a spin on more recognizable tunes like "Oye Como Va" and "Cancion del Mariachi" off of the soundtrack of Robert Rodriguez's Desperado.
The Whisperlights, Stan Deveraux and the Funky Suns, and Snake! Snake! Snakes! appropriately wrapped things up on the Crescent Stage as members from other bands joined in on the fun as they sat in on each other's sets to beat on drums or just shake tambourines.
It was the perfect culmination for an event that truly showcased some of the best of Arizona's music scene.
Last Night: Night two of Los Dias de la Crescent at Crescent Ballroom.
The Crowd: A lot of bare shoulders and plaid shirts.
Random Notebook Dump: Holy crap! Has that disco ball always been there?!