Bomba Estereo at the Heineken TransAtlantic Festival 2011, April 14

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Bomba Estereo

With Spam Allstars, Los Rumberos de la 8, and Mr. Pauer

Presented by Rhythm Foundation

Grand Central Miami

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Better Than: Letting Los Perros or any other late-night South Beach hot dog joint be your only taste of Colombia.

At Grand Central, a pretty varied lineup passes through the doors on a daily basis. Sure, the glitz and glamour of the AAA is nice. But there's nothing like the sudden arrival from a sketchy throwdown to a classy loft party at GC.

As you make the adjustment, suddenly an epileptic's worst nightmare (AKA Grand Central's wall-sized LED screen) starts pulsing colors to the backbeat. Then guitarist Julian Salazar's fingers dance across the strings with Simon Mejia controlling the loops, and it all comes full circle with Liliana Saumet.

What's intriguing about Saumet isn't the attitude (some say M.I.A. but that's not quite right) or the stage presence, it's her effortlessness as she takes breakneck vocal turns. One minute, you feel like you're watching a solo rap battle. And the next, she's taking it easy and channeling the great Spanish classics, breathing life back into what could be mistakenly be oversimplified and labeled a "Latino rock band."

Yeah, they're from Bogota. And yes, they own influences ranging from cumbia to hip-hop. But Bomba Estereo has spent years crafting a unique sound. The bongos and drum kit are banging out a steady, reggaeton-esque beat. There's the synth, a tool meant to break down inhibitions and send bodies flying around the room.

As the night progressed, Bomba's set was fluid, each song feeding into the next with barely a pause. Crowd favorites like "Feelin'" and "Juana" were met with roars after the first note. And their cover of "Pump up the jam," with a Spanglish twist was the curveball that got people breaking out into full-on spastic joy.

Thank you, dear sweet baby Jesus -- use the Spanish pronunciation -- for giving us Bomba Estereo and their insane electro-dance cumbia throwdown at Grand Central. They may zip around the country, hitting up all the major festivals. But they'll always have a place waiting here in Miami. We promise to keep a bandeja paisa waiting at the place of their choice.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Scattered among the Paiseros, some even decked out in the traditional sombrero vueltiao, there were business casual and 50-plus types. A few hipsters too, letting their guard down and breaking the stereotype of nothing but head-nods.

Overheard in the Crowd: While most shouted, catcalled and whistled for an encore, one woman thought it better to shout "otra-aaa, hijos de la gran puta-aaa!" (Translation: "Another one, you sons of bitches!")

Bomba Estereo's Partial Setlist:

-"Cosita Rica"



-"La Boquilla"

-"Pump Up the Jam" (Technotronic cover en Español)

-- Nelson Hernandez

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