Red Bull Music Academy & Panamérika present Escenario
Bomba Estéreo, Astro, La Santa Cecilia, Que Bajo?!, Carla Morrison
A crowd of hip, multi-lingual latinos (plus a few stray non-latin types) filled the Fonda Theatre last night for an event put on by Red Bull Music Academy and their Latino music station Panamérika, called Escenario.
Originally scheduled for December last year with Natalia LaFourcade and Hello Seahorse, visa issues caused this make-up show, featuring Colombian electro-cumbia group Bomba Estéreo, Latin Grammy winner Carla Morrison, Chilean indie band Astro, local Grammy nominees La Santa Cecilia and NYC DJ Que Bajo?!
There were a line of fans wrapped around the block an hour before doors opened, and the party got started right as the bass lines from Que Bajo's opening set echoed through the theatre. Folks may have left their Stetson hats and large buckles at home, but they sure didn't leave their dance moves there.
Bajo warmed up the crowd until La Santa Cecilia took the stage as the opening act. as singer La Marisoul and the band got a warm reception. There were plenty of guitar solos, while Pepe and his accordion were a big hit as usual. Carla Morrison was invited up, and performed her song “Compartir,” which prompted high-decibel screams.
Next up were Astro, something of a South American version of a combination of Animal Collective and Neon Indian. The band's popularity took off following the release of their full-length album Ciervos in 2011, and the crowd clearly loved it. They also performed their track “Panda,” from the FIFA 13 soundtrack.
Morrison returned to the stage to play a few songs on her own. Her acoustic set was a nice break from the thumping bass, and a perfect opportunity to rest one's legs before the night's climax.
Finally, Simón Mejía, Julián Salazar, and Enrique Egurrola of Bomba arrived, bathed in blue light. The music started slowly and, just as the familiar chords of “Caribbean Power” started, singer Li Saumet walked onstage to a raucous applause.
The quartet last performed in L.A. at MacArthur Park over the summer, and premiered a handful of songs from their then-unreleased album Elegancia Tropical. The work is now out and last night their focus was on new tracks such as “Bailar Conmigo” and “Pajaritos.”
Saumet is tiny, yet her stage presence was huge, hitting high notes and rapping over the harder songs. Of course, it wouldn't be a Bomba concert without a performance of their most popular song, “Fuego,” from their debut album.
The show ended around 12:30, but VIP ticket holders were treated to an afterparty inside the front lobby with DJ sets from Que Bajo and Bomba Estéreo. Saumet again grabbed a mic and freestyled over a couple of beats in between chugs from a bottle of wine.
Personal Bias: I love all these bands and have seen each of them live before at least once.
The Crowd: Latino 2.0. Yes, we speak English and Spanish and are just as comfortable doing the Dougie as we are with la Quebradita.