Havana D’Primera for the first time tonight, at Miramar. Alexander had been in Peru without the band and didn’t get back till late on Tuesday, so their usual matinee was postponed.
We left a bit earlier than I normally would have, but it’s not such a bad idea given how hard it is to get taxis round here late at night. The street was pretty bereft of cars, and then after 10 minutes two vacant taxis arrived at once.
The place was teeming with jineteras, which is pretty normal for a night out there. (What’s the collective noun for a pack of jineteras? A negocio? A transaction? An irritation? A molestia? Maybe it needs to be earthier - how about a bustier, a brassiere or a thong?
A bustier of jineteras. That has a nice ring to it. Irritation is more accurate though.)
Had a good chat to Mandy, the house DJ who had read the props Alexander had given him in the last interview I did and was over the moon. Mandy is such an overwhelmingly positive guy it’s always a delight to talk to him. He invited me to go to some course he’s giving in DJing in a couple of weeks. Will try and check it out.
It was a good crowd but not packed. Quite comfortable. Cucurucho was in the house, and maybe some other VanVaneros - not sure as they didn’t make themselves known. Had a nice dance with Reyna’s squeeze to Me mantengo but most of the music was reggaeton. hashtag sadface.
Band didn’t start till after 1 and they arrived with a bunch of sound problems, with almost all the musos scowling and gesticulating at the hapless sound guys. The first song was Para mi gente/No me importa, played at an absolutely blistering pace. I can see the policy of doing a “suave” set for the night gigs that was in place during my last trip has disappeared.
The sound on stage can’t have been too bad because I was right down the front in front of Alexander and it sounded pretty good. It was loud though and no doubt was distorted and shitty up the back, like usual. Al final de la vida was next - all of the songs were new, only Historia verdadera was played from the debut album. Carita de pasaporte followed Final, then a song I’d never heard which sounded like a work in progress, then another scorcher, No sabe nada, a cyclonic force, which you can see on youtube, as they played it on the summer tour of Europe.
I think they only played seven songs, but they didn’t play much more than an hour and there were three invitados - a guy from Muñequitos, Michel from Adalberto, and Cucurucho, who got up for Verdadera.
I didn't mind the shorter set - the air conditioning was on the blink and it was too hot. But the music put a smile on face and got my hips moving and reminded my brain why I had come here. It's not to try to get comfortable between the springs of a crappy bed at night and eat beans and rice everyday. It's to be moved - physically and emotionally - by incredible music.
All the regulars in the band were present which was great to see - there are few better sights/sounds than Rodney and Keisar going at it together on drumkit and timbales. I also get a kick out of seeing bassist Yandy and pianist Tony talk seemingly random shit while playing ridiculously complicated chord changes and bloques. Fucking hilarious man.
Maybe it’s the normal shit that trips these guys up, like, I dunno, cooking an omelette or putting on their pants one leg at a time.
It’s Alexander’s birthday next Tuesday, apparently, so that’s gonna be one hell of a matinee. Tomorrow they’re at La Tropical at night, which I wouldn’t normally go to on my own (Reyna has a prior engagement) because it’s just impossible to get home from at 1am (slightly less impossible at 10pm, on a Sunday). But Reve is playing at night at Miramar, so my plan is to run from one gig to the other. I can do it pretty fast on my own, probably in 15 minutes. I dunno. I might bail and not go to either. It’s a bit of a risk wandering around the Havana suburbs on your own. I’ll see. It’s HdP at La Tropical. That was awesome last time.