Saturday, May 30, 2009

Daniel's inferno

Yoruba Andabo and their scary threads

Holy crap but it bucketed down yesterday. About 11.45 a storm came over - lightning and thunder accompanied by sheets of water - and it didn’t stop raining till about 4pm. Habaneros often talk about the waters of May, but I just thought it was some ancient myth, because apart from the odd thunderstorm or shower, in the last three trips I’ve seen very little to back it up. But this year has been very wet - the Sunday La Tropical matinee has been rained out twice; last year I went to it four times and there were (mostly) sunny skies each time. There was just another storm now (Friday 4.15pm).
Thankfully this house leaks less than my house in Australia, so apart from having to find something to do that didn’t involve going outside (I watched a couple of episodes of In Treatment), it wasn’t that big a deal.
At 5.15, there was a black out. This was a possible plan buster for the evening, as I wasn’t sure if Pupy’s matinee at Galiano would be affected. We decided to go down anyway and if it wasn’t on, go to Manolito at Cafe Cantante.
At 6.15, the street outside was filled with uniformed athletes and their buses - there was some sporting event at Teatro America I think - as well as a much smaller group of musos from Los Que Son Son, drinking beer and waiting for the call to go inside and start playing. Six-thirty arrived - the time they usually start - and passed without incident. At 7pm, they finally got the nod. Then I realised why there had been a delay: the rain, although it had stopped a couple of hours earlier, had affected the size of the crowd. Pupy hates playing to small crowds and was obviously waiting to see if it got bigger. But by 7, he had to give in and get the show on the road.
It was the usual intro of Que cosas tiene la vida followed by Yoruba Andabo; the female dancers dressed this week in outrageous ruched leopard print leggings and high-heeled sneakers. The good news was that there was no 30 minute interval of reggaeton after their set: Los que son son filed onto the stage after Yoruba Andabo’s last song and just got down to business. Pupy was dressed head to toe in orange - including his shoes.
There were two new songs in the set - well, old for us, but new for the singers: Rusdel took the lead on El pregonero, which sounded great - love those vicious brass stabs; and Michel sang Yo sea feliz, which I thought was an odd choice even though it had a lovely lazy groove. I guess Pupy is trying to expand the repertoire, and give the new singers practice at performing songs they have never done before ahead of the European tour.
The crowd wasn’t big but they were enthusiastic dancers as they almost always are for Pupy (the people of 1830 excluded) and Pupy was actually smiling - a good sign that things weren’t that bad.

Pupy a la naranja

We went to Zanja for some Chinese pizza, then killed some time before Alain Daniel. I must say, as much as I love Alain and his kickass combo, going to the Capri is an arduous task. It’s not just the fact that there is nowhere to stand without being buffeted by passersby, it’s the fact that they are so fucking rude about it, and that it’s constant: an uninterrupted despelote to Se pegan is damn near impossible.
I had thought it might not be as rabidly insane as last week when it was Osmani Garcia’s birthday, but both Jacob and Alexander from Gente d’Zona were there again (at separate tables) and I think they bring in extra hangers on. The crowd really has to be seen to be believed - one girl with hip-length white-bleached blonde hair sat on the step in front of the speakers and played with her iPhone for the duration of one song. 
Jacob got up again to rap his bit on La Miky - he did a better job of it than the previous week when he forgot the words - but to be honest, the trombonist, who takes over when Jacob isn’t in the house, is better, and less self-aggrandising. El zorreo made an appearance - it’s good that Alain is mixing stuff up from gig to gig, like a lot of the bands this time - it’s a real treat. Though sometimes when you have favourite songs, you just want to see them every time. Life is hard. Pa’ que no sufrieras pa’ que no lloraras - another one I like - is a regular in the set, which is weird considering he didn’t put it on either the 4-track EP Bendita Locura or the album Vestigios. Lazaro Valdes got up and the did that ballad again - I think it’s a Bamboleo song - just Alain, the awesome bajista and him. Usually I think he overplays (there is a touch of the Rick Wakemans about his style), but his solo on this was pretty amazing. I wished I had recorded it.

 Alexander (not Abreu)

Of course Alexander from GdZ got up towards the end. I’m sick of seeing his face around - they are this year's Tanya Pantoja. The sooner they go to Europe the better. They are on at La Cecilia tomorrow night. I won’t be going.
I still dug the show, but maybe less than the previous weeks, cause I’m just so over that fucking scene. If I had the money, I’d pay Alain to play somewhere decent - like a matinee at La Tropical. That would be awesome. He has another gig somewhere (couldn’t catch it) on Wednesday, but it is all romantic ballads apparently - that’s a must-miss.

I’m just back from Havana d’Primera at Galiano. Pupy was at La Tropical - it pissed down again today, and I’m guessing from Lazaro’s appearance at the Capri, that yesterday’s deluge suspended Bamboleo’s regular Thursday gig there. I’ll find out tomorrow if Pupy played or not. The other big gig was Van Van, but they are no match for HdP. The crowd was smallish, though not as small as Monday, and lots more fun. The band had been rehearsing most of the week and had one new song, Ahora que buscas, which sounded great, and a couple of new coros in some old ones, which was cool. Cuando el rio suena was mighty as always. The studio version is compelling enough but the live version just blows your mind. It’s going to knock the socks of you Europeans in about two weeks. !Preparense!
Unfortunately the set was criminally short - Alexander spoils his audience - he usually plays for an hour and 45 minutes. Tonight it was little over an hour. When he finished the show with Rio, I was like, wtf? But apparently they were all just really tired. I guess Alexander has a lot of stuff to organise before the tour as well.
It was a light day as far as ligging goes, as Trabuco were replaced at Miramar by Rumberos de Cuba. Probably no bad thing after the Capri - or Daniel’s inferno, as I like to call it.
There is another Egrem anniversary concert on tomorrow night at Karl Marx - a ridiculously long list of people is on the bill, all doing one song each apparently. I haven’t been out to Miramar, so I don’t have tickets, but I’m sure we could pick a couple up out front if we are so inclined. Vania is on the bill, so I’m keen, even if it’s only one song. We’ll see if I can get my shit together. I was going to go to the rehearsal for it today, but it clashed with Spanish class.
Pupy is meant to be playing at the Sevilla swimming pool tomorrow night but I have heard it is going to be cancelled. Duni however, thinks he still has a gig to play. Guess I’ll have to wait and see about that one as well.

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