Calle 13 and the Trece Army Invade Downtown Miami, October 15

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Calle 13

Entren Los Que Quieran Tour

With Mr. Pauer

The Plaza at the American Airlines Arena

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Better Than: Storming the border with a boombox on blast.

Over the last six months, we here at Crossfade have been rabidly anticipating the arrival of Puerto Rican rappers Calle 13, just buzzing with adrenaline, revolutionary fervor, and righteous indignation.

Gearing up for this SoFla invasion and a popular uprising starring the Trece Army's local 305 division, there were hyped-up predictions of "sonic warfare, outright social rebellion," and the "Rhythm of Revolt."

And over the weekend, after several delays, cancellations, and scheduling changes, Calle 13's Residente and Visitante finally landed on the banks of Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami.

The sky was black and overcast. It was dark, cool, and drizzling. But still, along with a couple thousand countercultural guerillas, we ditched our contraband ("whistles, horns, noisemakers," as monotonously listed by the AAA's pre-recorded public address system, "fireworks, laser pointers, weapons of any kind, outside food or beverage," etc.) at the gate and gathered in the shadow of Bongos' massive pineapple dome to swill beer, plot and plan, smoke cigarillos, and party on the breezy outdoor brick patio of the Plaza at the American Airlines Arena.

The audio assault officially began about an hour and 30 minutes after sundown with a DJ set from local rebel leader, Fabrika boss, and recent Latin Grammy nominee Mr. Pauer. He dropped sonic bombs, ranging from reggaeton to Middle Eastern desert jams, and even threw down a salsa-fied mashup of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

But originally scheduled for a short introductory slot, Pauer ended up doing duty behind the decks for close to three hours as Calle 13's start time got pushed back from 10 p.m. to 10:15, 10:30, and later and later.

With the clock clicking toward 11 p.m. and Downtown Miami's midnight noise curfew looming, there was minor panic among Trece Army troops that Resi and Visi's set would be cut short -- if they ever stormed the stage at all.

By 11:11, though, Calle 13's commander-in-chief and sergeant-at-arms strode out with a six-man, one-woman band, firing off heavy artillery, spitting semi-automatic verses, and running through an initial blast of tracks -- "Baile de los Pobres," "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," "Vamo'a Portarnos Mal," and "Ven y Critícame" -- off their last two albums, 2008's Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo and 2010's Entren los Que Quieran.

Despite the wait, these guerillas were ready to rage. And Residente stirred his Army to action, reciting socio-economic critiques wrapped in cross-class sex fantasies; extolling the purity of love in the face of a toxic, fucked-up world; advocating anarchy, disorder, and civil disobedience; and giving a stiff middle finger to all the jesus freaks, bonehead chumps, crooked cops, and millions of other maliciously oppressive creeps.

Next, Resi, Visi, and the seven other members of the Calle 13 crew reached back through the Trece catalog and kicked out a rapidfire series of songs -- "Un Beso de Desayuno," "Se Vale Tó-Tó," "La Hormiga Brava," and "La Bala" -- that peaked with 2007's hopeful ode to Latin American immigrants, "Pal' Norte."

Already, it was midnight. But Residente had no intention of calling this operation to a premature close just 'cause of curfew. He shook off requests to wind shit down and sped ahead into Sunday morning, joking that the producers and promoters could afford to foot the fine for violating the city's superstrict noise laws.

And the Army responded with hollers of total approval.

Charging toward 1 a.m., Calle 13 cut through "Suave," "La Cumbia de los Aburridos," "La Perla," and "Tango del Pecado" before slipping into the perfectly lucid calm of "Latinoamérica," a sweetly ethereal protest song that calls two entire continents' worth of people to action.

And then flashing to the finish as Residente and Visitante led the way with "Fiesta de Locos" and "Atrévete-te-te," the Trece Army threw tightly clutched fists toward the sky in solidarity, shouting, "Préndete en fuego como un lighter."

Critic's Notebook

Quick Question: Why can't Calle 13, a commercial juggernaut with a record number of Latin Grammys and ten nominations in 2011 alone, fill the fucking AAA? Are Residente and Visi too brainy for Miami? Too political? Too critical?

Personal Bias: I'm an enthusiastic Trece conscript with sketchy Spanish language skills.

The Crowd: El Boricua, light-skinned Rastas, Cuban hip-hop heads, South American clubbers, Argentine punks, and other subcultural types, all comitted to the Calle 13 cause.

Calle 13's Setlist

-"Baile de los Pobres"

-"No Hay Nadie Como Tú"

-"Vamo'a Portarnos Mal"

-"Ven y Critícame"

-"Un Beso de Desayuno"

-"Se Vale Tó-Tó"

-"La Hormiga Brava"

-"La Bala"

-"Pal' Norte"


-"La Cumbia de los Aburridos"

-"La Perla"

-"Tango del Pecado"


-"Fiesta de Locos"


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