From the first massive hit of the bombo (giant marching band bass drum) on Friday, November 7, the crowd at Kubix lost its [expletive].
(itemId=6524 Photo by Ana Topoleanu)
The 19 members of Banda Conmocion marched through hundreds of screaming Chileans, with horns blasting and drums crashing, as they made their way to the stage. The crowd seemed as if it was going to reach the zenith of excitement before the band even played a full song--long before headliner Chico Trujillo took the stage to celebrate the release of its third CD: Plato Único Bailable.
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The stage, which seemed large once before, shrank under both the festive presence and sheer number of band members. With little in the way of an introduction, Banda Conmocion, consisting of nothing less than three trombones, four trumpets, an accordion, an insane percussion section and a variety of other instruments, broke into its first song. Amidst an immediate roar of voices and claps, people literally hung off the venue's cubed walls (hence the name Kubix) but somehow found a way to dance at the same time.
Though it was hard to find a focal point in the show due to Conmocion's presence as a crazed Latin marching band, one's eyes were naturally drawn to Jeca González, who mesmerized the audience with fluid, flamboyant dances as she snapped her cymbals together overhead. The rest of the band provided the swirling soundtrack.
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The band began its march to the stage well past midnight and dominated it until half past two, then relinquished it to Chico Trujillo. It seemed impossible to take over the show after two hours of sweaty, crazed dancing to Banda Conmocion, but Chico Trujillo is one of the few bands that could have done it. And so they did.
Many have claimed that Chico has a strategy of waiting for the crowd--and, perhaps, the band members as well--to get drunk before taking the stage, but no one seems to blame them. On this occasion, the crowd seemed perfectly lubricated for the two and a half hour show that ensued.
(itemId=6530 Photo by Ana Topoleanu)
Chico plays a fortified version of classic cumbia and bolero with some ska and rock mixed in for good measure. The unique blend of music had everyone in Kubix on their feet and crowding the stage, with some even desperately trying to climb onstage to dance with the band.
It was a joyous scene: the dance floor was packed from the bar to the stage, but people still managed to dance. As the crowd jumped and swayed to Chico, little pockets of people dancing cumbia broke out, if just for a minute, wherever and whenever open space appeared.
Most of Chico's set was of hearty, danceable music, but for the 5 a.m. encore, it took a different approach. The rest of the band laid low as singer Michael "Bendito" Magliocchetti sang and played his guitar, joined by two "box" drummers who provided the rhythm for some slower songs. The crowd fluidly responded to the change, swapping the pogo for dreamy swaying, and the bar converted into a more tranquil dance floor that even some of the venue staff couldn't resist joining.
Banda Conmocion, which just released its debut album, Pregonero, and Chico Trujillo represent the new Latino music scene in Santiago. And, though they don't sell as many tickets as some superbands, be assured that their shows will be far more engaging, far more energetic and much more real.