Let's Dance

Ozomatli raises Stubb's metaphorical roof

By Jim Caligiuri, 2:15PM, Thu. Oct. 30, 2008

Chali 2na and Ozomatli
Chali 2na and Ozomatli
photo by Gary Miller

After 90 minutes with Ozomatli, what sticks out is that they are truly a band. It seemed every member, except for drummer Mario Calire, took the mic to sing, shout, or rap. It makes sense, actually. How else could they have come up with a musical stance that straddles the Latin, hip-hop, reggae, soul, and rock worlds with such self-assurance and unrestrained glee?

The big news last night at Stubb’s was the return of Chali 2na. Best known for his time with Jurassic 5, 2na, an original member of Ozo, hadn’t performed with the group in almost a decade. While his presence brought out a bit more of the hip-hop side of the band, he also had one of the most memorable lines of the night, exhorting the crowd to “make enough noise for the police outside.”

Still, the night was frantic with rhythm. The band, a near riot, seemingly never stopped jumping or swinging and the nearly-full Stubb’s crowd responded in kind. Concentrating on tunes from last year’s Don’t Mess With the Dragon (Concord), they ended in what has now become a ritual - descending into the audience with drums and whistles forming a line that snaked through the masses. The meaning was obvious, relating to their closely held political stance: “We’re all in this thing together, but tonight we dance.”

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