1.- ANA TIJOUX @ La Peña, Berkeley, CA: Maybe it wasn't the best show of the year (she wasn't satisfied with the limited sound capabilities of the venue), but at least for me it was the most significant. I had been dreaming about this particular show for almost a decade. I remember chatting with Ana, back then, plotting her US invasion, and I remember telling her, "you should come and play at La Peña, they're gonna love you there." It just seemed appropriate. La Peña started over 30 years ago as a cultural center of sorts for the Chilean political exiles living in the Bay Area, and Ana was a Chilean born during her parents' exile in France. When I was first contacted by the tour manager asking me for venues where I would have her perform in the Bay, La Peña was obviously the first one that came to mind. Being able to open for her, an artists that I truly admire and a beautiful human being that I'm lucky to count among my close friends, was a dream come true, even if I played for less than 20 minutes and nobody was actually paying attention to my set. Plus, the impromptu jam with Funky C (from Los Tetas, the Chilean funk group with whom Anita debuted as a recording artist doing her first guest appearance) was really dope.
3.- BOMBA ESTEREO @ Sterngrove, San Francisco, CA: In 2009 Bomba Estéreo had their Bay Area debut at La Peña in Berkeley and I was pissed off that they were not able to find a promoter who'd have them play in San Francisco for a larger audience. It finally happened this past summer when the Colombian neo-cumbia outfit got to perform at a massive free concert at the park and the mainstream Latino crowd that never goes to small venues and underground shows got to experience them live.
6.- FRIKSTAILERS @ Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco, CA: I've been wanting to open for a Zizek show since they first came and I finally got my chance in 2010 when Frikstailers and El-G came back to the Bay. Unfortunately only half of the Frikstailers duo made it but he still gave a mind-blowing performance with all that Bambaatesque paraphernalia and futuristic gimmicks. Unfortunately too, very few people turned up (it was a Monday night) so I pretty much played a whole set for the bartender and the sound guy.
8.- R.A.P. SQUAD & STRONGHOLD SOUND @ The Layover, Oakland, CA: So I invited Nes to perform our song, "Cumbia Nena" at the Stronghold Sound record release party and without letting me know in advance, he showed up at the venue with his whole crew, R.A.P. Squad. For a second I honestly thought the night was gonna go to hell because their thugged-out aesthetics were going to scare the shit outta the dominant white-hispter crowd of the bar. But then they got on the mic and it was amazing! With the help of Dub Snakkr on the turntables they became most talked-about performers of the night. People were asking me, "where did you find them? They're like the Mexican Wu-Tang Clan!"