Thursday, December 15, 2011


Not a good year for concert for me. I didn't get to see as many memorable shows as usual and unlike the previous two years, I only did a couple of DJ sets opening for live bands. Still I got to see my beloved Ana Tijoux three times in a year and that was dope. Don't have much more to add, sorry, not a very inspired post but what the hell... 

1.- Calle 13 @ The Fillmore: Last time I saw Calle 13 live was also the first time I've ever heard any song by them. That was in 2006, right after their first album came out. Since then, they've become the most relevant Latin American artist of the decade, so I was really excited to see them live again and I finally got the chance to do so when, after a few cancelled shows, they finally came to San Francisco in 2011. My only criticism, they had no opening act and they took way too long to get on stage, and in the meantime we had to listen to this moron of a DJ playing the most horrible old-school dumb merengue-hip-hop, the absolute opposite of what Calle 13 aesthetically represents.

2.- Jorge Drexler @ Mezzanine: Another genuine master in the art of rhyming words much like Calle 13's Residente, but instead of doing it in the form of rap verses, he sings and does it very well, and does it over some very interesting music that defy easy labeling. I was honestly surprised at the crazy amount of people that showed up and packed the venue on a weeknight, especially considering this Uruguayan singer is not particularly popular on a mainstream level here in the US, but I guess good music moves through other channels and it doesn't really matter if radios don't play him and hip blogs don't cover him.

3.- Nacional Records Tour @ Regency: Ana Tijoux opened, followed by Los Amigos Invisibles and then Nortec Collective closed, and in between shows, I got to DJ a Nacional Records-centric set to a crowd that barely acknowledged me. I sometimes give Nacional Records a hard time here at my blog, but at the end of the day I have nothing but love for these guys, not only they release some of my favorite artists in the US, they also send me tons of cool free music and they also hire me to play at their event, how cool is that?

4.- Ana Tijoux @ Outside Lands: I didn't like this year's line-up for Outside Lands, our Bay Area massive summer music festival. But they had Ana Tijoux playing and I wouldn't miss that for anything. I saw a couple other decent performances, but all my expectations were in her show, the first time I got to see her in the US with full band. The following day she also did a surprise guest appearance at Julieta Venegas's show and that would've be the highlight of the whole festival if it wasn't for the idiot of the sound guy who left the soundboard unattended just when Ana went on stage... and her microphone was off.

5.- Chico Trujillo @ The Elbo Room: It's always a lot of fun to see these guys live and it's also a great honor to open for them for a second year in a row. Chico Trujillo is cumbia's ultimate party band and considering cumbia's current popularity, they'd deserve to be way bigger in a global scale, but for some reason I still get the sense that their concerts here are mostly a reunion of Chileans living abroad.

6.- Ana Tijoux @ The Elbo Room: Yes, 2011 was an overdose of Ana Tijoux, I've got to see her on stage three times in a year and I can't complaint about it. I've spent much of the previous nine years talking to Ana via chat, both of us fantasizing about her coming to play in the US and seeing ways to make it possible. For her Elbo Room show she brought MC Hordatoj and DJ Dacel with her from Chile and I ran into Dacel before the show and didn't recognize him and he was like "dude, remember that time we went to Argentina with Ana and we all got drunk at your house and passed out in your couch" awww good times...

7.- Reggae Latino @ Mezzanine: Not enough Chileans on this list? Well here you have Chilean reggae band Gondwana, who played at this Latin Reggae festival with Argentina's Los Cafres and Puerto Rico's Cultura Profética. Great night, amazing shows, packed venue with lots of hot girls. Man, I did't know reggae en español was that popular! I really hope this festival becomes a recurring thing, every year, and they bring artists like Morodo, Fidel Nadal, Alika, etc because honestly I'm not into the whole romantic mellow reggae ballads at all.

8.- Sergent García w/ Rupa & The April Fishes @ New Parish: Sometimes show's lineups don't make any sense, specially when you're talking about Latin music shows. You have all probably seen something like this happen: they put a salsa band as opening act for a rock band, just because they both speak Spanish. That's how dumb show promoters are sometimes when reducing Latin audiences to a cliché. In this case however, Sergent García with Rupa made absolute sense. Both of them are born in France (one from Spanish parents, the other one Indian) and both share this mestizo approach to global politically-concious multilingual party music which roots can be traced back to The Clash (in fact Rupa made a cover of The Clash). The venue was small and it was only half full, but what a great time we had!

9.- Quantic @ Som: What a cool dude Quantic end up being! I laughed my ass off talking to him backstage before the show and then the show was pretty cool too. He did two parts, one where he basically played his own tracks from beginning to end without mixing but adding some live instrumentation on top of some and then a second part that was basically a DJ set, but all digital. Knowing he's a vinyl collector I was expecting him to play some obscure 45s he found in Colombia, but nope. Still a very decent DJ set.

10.- M.I.S. @ Outside Lands: I love M.I.S. and his live performances have all been memorable (I'll never forget that one in 2009 when I got to open for him/them) but as a DJ set I was a bit disappointed. First the sound quality was horrible and then he wouldn't even try to blend songs into each other, he was just dropping tracks off burned CDs one after the other, going from 86 BPM to 130 BPM with no transition at all. On top of that, they put him to play at this small tent with capacity for only 200 people and there was an hour long line outside to get in, plus the tent had no bathrooms, so if you had to go, you had to leave the tent and then get back in line and miss three quarters of the show. That's exactly what happened to me. 

11.- Pete Escobedo @ Life is Living: This guy is a living legend and his band was hella tight. How come they put him as an opening act before Los Rakas?


Sweet Jesus said...

Good list! The only performances I would personally add are when both Torreblanca (video) and Andrea Balency Trio (video) rocked Elbo Room. Just sayin’

Sweet Jesus said...

Oh, and also there is a musician in Ann Arbor named Tim Matterley who is better than all these songs! You would like his music. He has a web site at, and you can get his songs free on your computer! Please check out Tim Matterley, who does not have a big record contract YET but is very very good!!!!

Juan Data said...

Well, I wasn't there so I can't. I only include shows that I attended, and unfortunately I wasn't able to attend as many as I'd like to this past year.