SXSW Day: 1 Bomba Estereo, Chocquibtown

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We landed in Austin at 7:30pm, by 8:20pm we were checked into our hotel, and by 8:45 we’d registered at the convention center.  Then we hit up 3 different showcases (not one after the other–but rather stopping by each one twice, ’cause that’s how you do at SX…), and saw a total of 7 bands (not counting the snippets we heard spilling out of every bar and rooftop, or the Colombian dudes jamming outside Speakeasy). There was a couple of mediocre slices of pizza and a bunch of run-ins with familiar faces in there too… and now some very tired feet.

What we saw…

Showcase: Automatico/Matador y Toros
Band: Capsula (Argentina/Spain)
Reviu: It was really LOUD. Two dudes and a female bass player. Straight up punky garage rock. Nothing too memorable.

Natalia Lafourcade

Showcase: Billboard en Español
Band: Natalia Lafourcade (Mexico)
Reviu: In addition to being absolutely adorable (and mini!), Natalia Lafourcade’s got talent. This was an impromptu show as Afrodita bailed at the last minute (no money to get to Tejas), and Niña Dioz (ajem, who’s playing our showcase on Friday, but was substituted in last minute) had a “sore throat”. Natalia took some time off to study classical music in Canada y se nota, and her new mellow tracks have lots of fun percussion toys, bells, and vocal loops–playful, yet mature. Dare we say a budding younger Juana Molina? Nope, too boring.

Showcase: Sounds From Colombia
Band: Bomba Estereo (Colombia)
Reviu: The Colombian showcase was where it was at…. Bomba Estereo blew our minds with a fresh cumbia/hip-hop blend with a full band and fierce front-woman Li who gyrated in her yellow tutu as she spat the lyrics. Unfortunately, we couldn’t always hear what she was saying, but it didn’t matter–we were too busy dancing. Look for their album out on Nacional later this year.

Showcase: Billboard en Español
Band: Ceci Bastida (Los Angeles)
Reviu: Every time we’ve caught Ceci in the past, something’s been up with the sound, and we couldn’t ever fully appreciate her. Same thing happened this time …hmmm. The highlight of her set was her opening song, a cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” with Ceci playing percussion while singing. The rest was pretty repetitive and we could hear her chorus of gringo backup singers better than we could hear her. Husband Josh Kun danced along throughout, snapping photos, which was pretty adorable.

Showcase: Automatico/Matador y Toros
Band: The May Fire (Los Angeles)
Reviu: We just caught the tail end of this set, and they rocked as always. The sound was WAAAY TOOO LOUUUD in the backyard tent where they performed, and actually sounded better from the street than in front of the stage.

Showcase: Automatico/Matador y Toros
Band: Los Fancy Free (Mexico)
Reviu: Ditto on the sound, but these wacky Mexicans sounded good nonetheless. Drummer Carlos Icaza was missing in action until a few minutes before the set, but it all turned out quite fancy freee. For some reason, Carlos, Aaron (guitarist), and Julio (bassist) now sport wild long hair, but main dude Martin keeps it short still.

Goyo y Tostao de Choc Quib Town

Showcase: Sounds From Colombia
Band: Choc Quib Town (Colombia)
Reviu: Best show of the night. Hands down. This band from the Colombian Pacific coast has been around for a whopping 8 years, and frankly, we’re embarrassed we weren’t already fans. They mix hip hop, funk, salsa, and African rhythms …and do it right.  This isn’t cheesy fusion music para nada, kids. It’s hot. H-O-T. So hot we were texting all those familiar faces that they needed to be where we were. It’s kinda hard to put into words, so check out some video we shot (more coming soon):

Choc Quib Town at SXSW 09

Bummed that we missed…
Cosmopolitan, Monareta, and the entire Sounds From Spain showcase (but we’ll catch that in the afternoon tomorrow). We’d wanted to see Poper, but heard we didn’t miss much.

Juan Pablo de Skampida

El chisme…

Monareta was just Andres, minus Camilo… he had  drummer Sergio with him, which apparently made for quite the nice combination
-Colombian ska/reggae group Skampida is working on a new album that should be out soooon (guitarist Juan Pablo also plays with Choc Quib Town, not to mention numerous other bands in Bogotá)
Los Fancy Free’s next “uniforms” (aka crazy outfits) are going to be of the psychodelic mariachi variety.  (Of course!)


Colombian. Female. Rappers.  YES!
Check out our interview with Li from Bomba Estereo:


A couple panels, Juan Son, Bam Bam, 60 Tigres, Hello Seahorse!, Descartes a Kant, Sounds From Spain….. and maybe (hopefully) Janes Addiction (at the Playboy party, no less!)