Aterciopelados, Planeta MX, San Antonio, June 29

Live Shots


Planeta MX, San Antonio, June 29

Given that Aterciopelados' Gozo Poderoso is one of 2001's best albums, there was mucho incentive for seeking out the upscale San Antonio disco where the self-proclaimed "Velvety Ones" were anchoring a four-banda bill. It was well worth the drive, too; Bogota, Colombia's reigning musical export (ah-TAIR-see-oh-peh-LAH-dos) put on an hourlong performance that made the "Powerful Pleasure" of their latest CD sound like the incidental blips and bleeps of a video game. Following the Filter-ish bombast of Argentina's Santos Inocentes and the endearing Outfield pop of El Haragán, Aterciopelados were as lightning fast as the evening's pit-stop set changes in putting Planeta MX's enormous limestone jungle to its designed use: body-rocking. Opening with the same one-two punch as Gozo Poderoso, a trip-folky Latin lounge counterpart to Francophiles Stereolab, the 10-year-old group (and South by Southwest 2001 highlight) was in command from the word andele. Andrea Echeverri, slender, sensuous, eyes closed, swayed to her sextet's enveloping rhythmic pulse, the singer touching the outstretched hands in front of her as if she were a faith healer. Her partner in five LPs, bass player/arranger Hector Buitrago, looking like a cross between Keith Richards and Fastball's Tony Scalzo, kept the group's organic groove thick as a conga line on the mighty stop-time propulsion of baterista Mauricio Montenegro and percussionist Roberto Cuao. Ace guitarist, Alejandro Gomezcáceres, meanwhile, played off the group's DJ with crystalline, sometimes milky tones that charged the smoke-machine whirl of music, bounce, and sweat with an electric vibe. "I hope you have a powerful pleasure," smiled Echeverri, her Spanish at home in San Antonio. "¡Sabor!" The album's title track and "Rompecabezas" ("Jigsaw Puzzle") were particularly hypnotic, but it was the band's MTV Latino breakout from years back, "Bolero Falaz," that had the full house singing every word at full volume. Cuao's pounding conga solo, leading into the group's cumbia-surf encore, made the floor bounce and dip, which was all the enticement la raza needed to further cut loose. Only their exit broke the spell. Headliners El Gran Silencio, another past SXSW Rock en Español headliner -- an eight-piece, fierce y feliz cumbia thrash outfit from Monterrey, Mexico -- drove the dance club into another head-spinning frenzy, accordion and all. Powerful pleasure indeed. Only the drive home was bereft of Gozo Poderoso.

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