OK, just because I am getting so behind here because of all the good music in LA…Ozomatli totally rocked the Disneyland House of Blues two Saturdays ago. If you have never heard of this LA band, their albums are great, but their live show is amazing, one of the top five concerts I’ve ever been too. I have just missed them three times at home in Hawaii…they are one of the few good bands from the continent to come through.
It was a packed house, but we got a great spot in the front center of the balcony, where it was not such a mob scene and Monisha could see. Plus it was right over the sound board, so the sound was great. A woman about my size kept trying to slide in to a space about half my size all during the first band…I moved over but there was still not room and she kept pushing…I thought she was going to pick my pocket or something. Finally she asked the woman next to me to move over while her husband was away so she could get in, taking hubby’s place. The woman said no, the spot was her husband’s, and finally the woman gave up. I would have let her in, she was just too big! But my wallet was ok. It distracted me from the first band though.
Ozomatli accurately describe their music as “a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga.” They have been working with rappers Chali 2Na (from Jurassic 5) and Kanetic Source. The songs they were in weren’t just jams with raps over them (except maybe one or two). They were worked out so the raps fit the music to a “T” even to the point of having the whole band do synchronized dance steps with them which was kinda fun. I was waiting for them to break out the electric glide or the macarena (not really).
The band, together for fourteen years, seems to be at the top of their game and having fun while still managing to be political. I’ll check out their politics a bit more when Ozo come to the Grammy Museum in LA on March 24th. I only tell you cuz I just got my two tix for this 200 seat place—if you can, hustle over to ticketmaster and get ’em — they are only ten bucks (plus all of tixmaster’s fees upon fees). They’ll be talking, not playing though.
But back to the playing, they covered all the styles they claim to and then some, even having some oud-ish sounding instrument at the forefront for one song. It was really a family affair, with about 1000 family members present and rocking. A couple of band members’ kids and partners even took to the stage at the end, when opening band Upground joined them too. The whole thing ended with Ozomatli setting up a second-line style marching band and wandering around the HOB floor for about half an hour. I talked about the Ninja Academy’s getting revenge for classical Japanese music lessons….I am sure this was the revenge of the kids who had to play in the high school marching band…who knows, with a band like that in HS maybe I would not have dropped out (don’t worry, I went back and now can’t get out…I’m a college prof)!
Upground was also excellent in their own right, rocking the place with their Latin infused rock and reggae sound. Check them out too!
Sorry Ozo heads (is that the right term?) for not knowing the songs — I always listen but seldom learn titles. I’d have had more to say on the music if I was able to write a little sooner after the concert while stuff was fresh, but work impinged.
As always, if you made it this far, give rreplay and the rest of way music a listen, especially my “The Revolution will not be on the Internet” which is going on an album with Chumbawamba and John and Yoko among others!