Concert Review: Locos Por Juana with Choc Quib Town at Kukaramakara, March 5

Locos Por Juana with Choc Quib Town
Kukaramakara, Miami
Friday, March 5, 2010

Better Than:
Seven shots of aguardiente. Or perhaps even better because of them?

The Review:

I'm not going to lie to you. I'd been psyched about this show for some time. Curious about Choc Quib Town might be more accurate, at least when I first began receiving invites via Facbook. But most definitely psyched once a copy of the Colombian trio's U.S. debut crossed my desk courtesy of Nacional Records. A revamping of two releases in their native country forged into one concise disc for stateside neophyte consumption, Oro boasts earnest and intelligent lyricism and a sense of harmony and melody reminiscent of The Fugees and The Roots. All the while riffing on traditional rhythms from Colombia's Pacific coast. I wondered how it would translate to live performance.

The answer, thankfully, is pretty damn well indeed. Tostao, Goyo and her brother Slow took the stage some time after midnight. And along with their live band, they lit it up the entire time they were there. The band romped through track after track of boisterous hip hop jammy jams whilst the MCs spit rapid-fire rhymes with percussive quality. The front of the house was packed, and the entire crowd was shakin' ass approvingly. Gun to head, I'd say "Somos Pacifico," "De Donde Vengo Yo," "Pescao Envenenao" and a freestyle led by Tostao were standouts. But the truth is, it's hard to pick specific moments when the act tears up the set end to end.

And what can one say about a Locos Por Juana's

live show? Encapsulating the energy they transmit and reproducing it in

words is damn near impossible. They're legendary in the MIA, and

abroad, for good reason.

LPJ busted out classics, like off their Grammy-nominated record La Verdad. But they brought the new shiznit too, and I was particularly interested to hear Evolucion material

live. Again, they did not disappoint. "Plata o Plomo" and "Afro-Style"

(or was it "Afro-Palenke?") really got the crowd going. And once LPJ

has fans whipped into a frenzy, there's no easing up. But a definite

highlight moment was when they performed one of the fan favorites,

"Birthday," bringing Choc Quib Town back out on stage to take part in

the fun.

Choc Quib Town and Locos Por Juana share the same ideal--bringing their

roots to the masses, but only after reinventing those influences they

were weaned on. But it's interesting to watch each group's approach to

it, particularly side by side. On the whole, it was an excellent show.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: If you read this about Choc Quib Town, or this, this, this (personal favorite) or any of about a hundred other pieces on Locos, you know I'm a fan of their work.

Random Detail: I got a rubber key chain in the shape of a cassette. Thanks Fabrika!

By The Way: You can catch Choc Quib Town, if you're headed to SXSW. They'll be there!

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Christopher Lopez