Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Formell – yo me quedé

Y despues de todo qué?

I suppose, when your three favourite bands are away, in Europe (Havana D’Primera), the US (Pupy) or the provinces (Revé), you could do worse than Los Van Van as a back-up. Their Galiano matinee capped off a fulfilling day which followed yesterday’s total bust, which culminated in us turning up to a completely deserted Cafe Cantante at 12.15am to find that Salsa Mayor had cancelled because either a) someone in the band was sick or b) the air conditioning was broken. Seeing as the venue has a full line-up booked for the week (Yulien Oviedo Tuesday matinee; Leoni Wednesday; Monica Mesa Wednesday night; Baby Lores Friday matinee) I doubt it’s the latter.
We have heard that Miramar is closed because the air conditioning is busted, and that’s why Klimax didn’t play on Friday and possibly why there was no matinee on Monday. However, the radio is still listing bands as playing there (Aragón Monday night; Pedrito Calvo Tuesday matinee). When it’s someone I really want to see I’ll investigate further and try and confirm what’s going on (as if). I would like to see Aragón, but really want to see them a lo Cubano at Los Jardines, in lieu of Salón Rosado. It seems that Los Jardines has a matinee every Friday - this week it’s Bamboleo. I wish I’d got my shit together to see Azucar Negra there last week. Anyway. We might be on a bus to Pinar del Rio this Friday to see Maraca. But hey, who the hell knows. I’ll keep you posted.
So after yesterday’s bust, today looked set to continue in the same vein as we got to the pescaderia in Vedado too late (2.30) to find they were pretty much out of everything. I didn’t realise it closed at 3. On the bright side, one of the shops at Vedado had sugar, so that’s one thing sorted. Things continued to look up back in Centro, where I got homemade yoghurt from a solar, and found cabbage and mamey (mamey!) at the agronomico on San Rafael. Came home and made batidos ahead of an early dinner (chicken, potaje de frijoles negros, green beans, platanos maduros) before going down to Galiano about 7.
The support band had finished - I believe it may have been Sello LA - and the DJ was cranking out reggaeton. Unlike last week at the same time when it was crowded with couples dancing to salsa cubana, it was practically empty. After about three songs, he switched to house/techno/whatever you call it these days. After a while a few people got onto the dance floor. It seemed entirely the wrong approach for a Van Van gig, especially after what I’d seen the previous week. Don’t know if it was a new DJ or a new management directive. Trabuco’s Leonardo was in the audience - they got back into town from the States yesterday - as was Yasser from Salsa Mayor. I had a mind to ask him WTF happened last night, but I had a brain freeze and couldn’t for the life of me remember his name.

I scooted down the front when I heard the Casa de la Musica theme song, because I wanted to get a good spot for photos, as all my pics pretty much sucked last week. I realised one of the reasons I like Van Van so much more now is they have stopped played one of my most hated songs of all time Tim con Pop or whatever it’s called (I know they say know thy enemy but I draw the line at learning the name of that song). Their set is 100 per cent improved without it as far as I’m concerned.
It was pretty much the same set as last week which means it was pretty great. The other good thing about these matinees is that they’re not particularly crowded - they’re just right people-wise. Once the band starts, the dance floor is full - but not so full that you take your life into your own hands if you want to dance - and there are empty seats if you want to sit down and rest, you know, during a Mayito song. There was a mob there from Yoruba Andabo, and the singers got up during Si a una mamita to have their moment on stage with Van Van. Of course they’re all pretty good. One of the guys had his T-shirt tucked into his undies. Dear god. Why? Why!? Jenny from YA was also there doing a spot of guaguancó and salsa with some guy who was a mate of the band’s.
I had an excellent dance with Lester, who of course is a teacher here, and of course, knows my teacher here. He had some lovely moves, a terrific lead, and a nice a playful attitude to boot. Cheers, Lester!
There was mostly a pretty congenial atmosphere. It was very pleasant. My highlights were pretty much as last week - Yeni was divine, Me mantengo I don’t think I will ever tire of; ditto Anda ven y quiereme, and Robertón is a living legend. Mayito actually arrived on stage with the others during the opener this week, so maybe he really was doing his hair last week.
The band are off to Europe at the beginning of July. There will be a bit of swapsies going on - Havana D’Primera and Pupy return as LVV and Revé leave. Trabuco go a little bit later - July 15, I think. We’re off July 18.
It’s kinda weird to not have a full dance card every day but I don’t mind. I was bloody tired before I got here: I need a rest, and I don’t really get one here usually. Having said that, nothing is keeping me from Alain Daniel this week - with the exception of unforseen circumstances - and Azucar Negra and Tumbao Havana are both doing matinees so that means it’s one of those double shift days which are knackering. I’m probably going back to see Azucar Negra, even though I want to see Tumbao Havana, cause I’m in love with Ailyn. (Now you know. My secret is out. But Yeni is my one true love.)
El Capri has Paulito up for Sunday. No idea how reliable that is, but if it’s on, I’ll, I dunno, have a disco nap or something, so I can make it.

1 comment:

lindylouwiththecurlyqueue said...

Hey Gab,
Just caught up on some of what you have been up to - will have to read the rest later. It's Cuban night again this week in Sydney so you must have been gone nearly a month! I am green with envy at the roomy dance floor/great Van Van gig - our last one there was a steam/smoke bath and hotter than hades. Enjoy it all, including the mamey (green again...) - it's freezing here, Ciao, Linda