ACL Fest Live Shots

Friday, Sept. 15, Zilker Park

Ghandaia

Seasoned local performers, Ghandaia (gahn-die-ah) came out swinging. Not like a Muhammad Ali, like Duke Ellington. It's easy to make a racket with 10 people, but it's something else to open with flowing rhythm and sweet melody. Then again, Ghandaia's got a lock on diversity-in-unity, writ large on 2003's appropriately titled UNO (Xochipili). Ghandaia has all the Latin big-band tools – timbales, horns, congas, keyboards, drums, bass, percussion, guitars – yet "Latin" for this Austin collective means from here to Tierra del Fuego. Songs opined in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, wrapped in salsa, conscious reggae, samba, War-like funk, cumbia, cha-cha-cha, and rock en español. By Ghandaia's second number, folks under the tent's blessed shade fanned themselves in samba time, while tune three found kinesthetic festivalers undulating in front of the PA stacks – a nice showing for an early set on ACL day one. A new cumbia workout, from their imminent second LP, Evolución, invited more sweaty hips to shake. Rock steady followed, inexplicably without horns. The last song arrived abruptly: free-flowing bands like Ghandaia aren't especially well-suited for rigid time slots. As the closer evaporated, a Portuguese-flavored shuffle melting into a "Strawberry Fields" rave-up, the crowd swore at the clock along with the band.

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