Saturday Showcases



6pm, Auditorium Shores
In keeping with the recent tradition of curating free shows largely by and for the Latino community, the sounds of Mexico and Colombia waft over Auditorium Shores on Saturday night. Mexico City DJ/producer Camilo Lara crafts some of Latin America's most daring music under the banner of Mexican Institute of Sound, fusing cumbia with heavy dub and glitchy dancehall. Fifth LP Compass is a forthcoming collaboration with Monterrey DJ/producer Toy Selectah. The insanely ambitious project saw the pair work with 90 different artists in nine cities around the globe, connecting with everyone from Boy George and Bonde do Role to Gogol Bordello and a gospel choir. Colombia's Bomba Estéreo fuses futuristic and folkloric sounds, lacing cumbia and champeta with dancehall, electro, and whatever else suits the tastes of sonic mastermind Simón Mejía. 2012's Elegancia Tropical offers a more refined approach than breakout LP Blow Up, but their fiery sound remains an explosion of "Caribbean Power." Closing the night is Intocable, a Norteño juggernaut from Zapata. The recent XX Aniversario celebrates two decades in the business for the country-tinged conjunto-pop powerhouse. Few güeros have any clue, but Intocable – multi-Grammy winners of both the Latin and gringo variety – has enough hits to fill a compilation of Super No. 1's. – Thomas Fawcett

Trinidad Jame$
Trinidad Jame$

Trinidad & Tobago Present Callaloo

7:45pm, Karma Lounge
Few countries' national identities are as closely tied to their music as the twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Best known for Carnival, Calypso, steel pan, and soca, both cultures consider their music a national treasure and key export. The first album to ever sell a million copies worldwide (Harry Belafonte's 1956 LP Calypso) bore the name of the region's best-known genre, and you can thank Trinidad every time a DJ asks, "How low can you go?" Yup, they gave the world the limbo, too. If nothing else, this showcase proves that T&T music is wildly diverse. The evening begins with an invocation by poet Dennis Morgan before Mungal Patasar shatters conventions by lacing traditional Indian music of the tabla and sitar with island steel drums. The 18-piece Los Alumnos de San Juan play parang, a string and steel pan-folk tradition akin to caroling at Christmastime. Codrington Pan Family uses the island's famous drums to take on everything from traditional tunes to Chris Brown covers. Performing for over half a century, the 79-year-old Mighty Sparrow has rightfully earned the title of Calypso King, while Shurwayne Winchester brings the ragga soca. Atlanta by way of Trinidad rap kingpin Trinidad Jame$ headlines with "All Gold Everything." Don't believe me, just watch. – Thomas Fawcett

Pia Zapata
Pia Zapata

Sounds from Chile

8pm, Maggie Mae's
Opening doors not marked "world beat," Chilean rock and pop has made inroads beyond South America, proving that the country musical styles don't begin with the cueca and end with the tonada. To that end, Santiago's Melié proffers synth hooks and indie rock sensibility on latest EP Beacon. Valparaíso's Pia Zapata started as a folk singer, but mutated into an eponymous band once she found the right musicians. The quartet's next album of shimmering dream folk arrives imminently. Santiago's Safari dove headfirst into Reagan-era synth-pop on its EP Ladies and Gentlemen... We Are Safari, and no doubt stays the course on its new LP, due later this year. Also born and bred in Santiago, Tunacola has taken its electro-poppin' hip-hop to stages shared with Girl Talk and the Ting Tings as it readies its second album. Though it too comes from Santiago, MKRNI features a singer from Brooklyn. Regardless, the moody dance pop of the recent Canciones transcends international boundaries. As does the Latin pop of La Guacha, whose ska-inflected rhythms and the vocal hooks of Facíl bespeak the members' origins beyond the Santiago border. – Michael Toland


Taiwan Music Night

8pm, Icenhauer's
Taiwan's music reflects the nation's transitory nature in many ways. Homegrown folk influences intermingle with C-pop and Western tropes, making the island a musical beachhead for the entire region. Brooklyn-based vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Vulpes illustrates this tension well. Born in Taiwan, she sets her classical training loose on woozy avant-folk cabaret pieces that borrow from Billie Holiday and Lotte Lenya. Her forthcoming LP debut will be released in both English and Chinese. Taipei's the Sign of Human represents the city's thriving atmospheric rock scene. With vocals in Chinese sung from an omniscient point of view, the quartet's sprawling cinematic soundscapes climax in hot washes of distortion. Ultra-sleek Taipei pop foursome Echo formed in 2002, becoming one of the country's most popular bands. Their 2013 single "Shimao" was featured in the much-discussed Chinese rom-com Tiny Times. Taipei's OVDS unleashed a multimedia pastiche of EDM and hip-hop on 2014's Heartbreak Resistance. Toffee introduces traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu and guzheng into a smooth R&B paradigm. "Vintage Love," the Taipei quartet's 2014 single, makes an intriguing earworm. Celebrated Tainan-bred rapper Dwagie is closer for good reason. Who else has managed to get both the Dalai Lama and Nas to guest on tracks?  – Greg Beets



8pm, Lucille
A music festival organized by Vladivostok icon Ilya Lagutenko, V-Rox throws an annual spotlight on emerging talent from Russia and the Far East, as evidenced by this eclectic lineup. Hailing from Shanghai, Tang Trio specializes in pop-smooth funky blues, complete with scorching guitar solos. A SXSW vet, Mothercoat brings the acid-tainted electro-pop of most recent album Allergies all the way from Fukaya, Japan. Though originating from Moscow, Russian trio Pompeya's disco-pop has American connections through producer Brian McTear (the War On Drugs) and indie label No Shame, which issued the band's back catalog and preps its latest release. Seoul, South Korea's YB (aka Yoonband) goes for techno beats, rock riffs, and pop hooks, as found on its 2013 LP Reel Impulse. Having already made its mark as part of previous SX K-pop showcases, Seoul's No Brain returns with its anthemic pop/punk in full flight via its recent 96, a split EP with Crying Nut. Of course, a V-Rox showcase wouldn't be complete without its founder's band Mumiy Troll, whose quirky rock/pop, as displayed on its 2013 album SOS Matrosu, has found Stateside favor in the past. – Michael Toland

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