Grand Central Miami
June 11, 2011
: Your standard art walk afterparty.
The disco ball was all too fitting at Grand Central last night with the funky, disco jazz rock-pop fusion of Los Amigos Invisibles. Only the Grammy-winning Venezuelan band could have a whole club full of people saltando in unison while crying out "Cuchi Cuchi!"
Singer Julio "Chiulus" Briceño gave a shout out to the Venezuelans in the crowd who came back with a forceful roar of pride. With raised eyebrows, wide eyes, and a pulsating jugular protruding from his neck, Chiulus grooved his way all over the stage through each song, sweat soaking through his checkered pants and black tee. He eventually had to escape backstage to switch shirts. For almost every song, he had a new accompanying instrument in hand -- a cow bell, tambourine and, of course, a maraca.
Guitarist José Luis "Cheo" Pardo barely opened his eyes throughout the entire performance -- a sign of pure feel-good music. With the tiniest of hip-sways and 'fro-jerkers, he massaged his guitar neck in a way that hit all the right pressure points.
Shirtless, in combat boots and with mini 3D glasses hanging from a chain around his neck, keyboardist Armando Figueredo laid down a set of funky body rolls and pelvic pops all while pounding on his M-AUDIO keyboard. His sexy dance moves competed with bassist José Rafael Torres' love-making face and occasional tongue curls throughout the entire show.
Feeding off one another's energy and the crowd's, the six-man band reigned over a two-hour set, each song staged in front of the LED curtain that drowned the audience in shades of cyan and magenta.
After Chiulus' chain of high-fives to deserving fans right in the front who had dealt with his straying beads of sweat, chants of "Otra!" resonated through the venue and the lights dimmed. The chants got stronger and then began to weaken as the crowd accepted the show's apparent finale.
But just as the cynics turned away, Cheo crept his way back into a spotlight at the center of the stage and slung his sky blue electric guitar over his shoulder. One by one, each band member slipped back into position, and for the last song, conga player and percussionist Mauricio "Maurimix" Arcas took over the main mike.
The Crowd: A beer-sippin' kind of crowd with a bohemian presence and the scent of South America.
Random Detail: Chiulus announced that Cheo is a new father.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I feel like I learned more here than at FIU."
Los Amigos Invisibles' Setlist Highlights:
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-"Ponerte En Cuatro"
-- Gaby Izarra