A late night with Venezuelan big band Mermelada Bunch feels like a fast-forward trip through the musical looking glass. The uninitiated should expect a wild mishmash session sprayed across the Latin pop-rock spectrum. One minute, you're being bombarded by electronically distorted disco-elf voices, happy horns, and salsa beats. The next, heavy-metal riffage and melodramatic gang vocals laugh in your face while the mosh pit whips to maximum ferocity.
In other words, this bunch — vocalists Pipo Ramirez and Leo Colina, guitarist Toto Fernández, bassist Kiky Rincón, drummer David Schlesinger, percussionist Juan Paúl Hernández, and utility man Armandito Hernández — is a totally manic party band. Specializing in effervescent odes to alcohol and good times such as 2002's "Commando Borracho" ("Drunk Commando") and 2007's "Hijos de la Cerveza" ("Sons of Beer"), Mermelada fills entire arenas with giddy crowds throughout Central America, Mexico, and the band's home country.
Here in Miami, though, the six-piece will play a more modestly sized venue — La Covacha. But just give them a couple of years and a few return trips. No doubt, they will soon turn the American Airlines Arena into a big bowl of sticky, sweaty jam-band insanity.