Bonito. Todo Me Parece Bonito.
By: Ellen Flores
Last Saturday, The State Theater in Falls Church was packed to the brims with #musiclovers –as lead singer Pau Donés affectionately calls his followers on Twitter- gathered for one night of fun, music and dancing with the melodies of some of the best Latin rock bands of the Washington DC area as opening acts supporting the Spanish melody-makers JarabeDePalo.
This was Jarabe’s third visit and sold out show at the State. Last year was my first time seeing the band live and it was one of my favorite shows of 2011. This year, I was able to absorb more of the vibe and subtleties that the band has in their live performances.
Anexo Social and Kickoman were in charge of warming up the crowd. First to take the stage was Anexo Social. With their unique blend of reggae, rock and cumbia with undertones of tribal sounds, these guys got the crowd going with their infectious beats and stage presence. My first encounter with Anexo was at the Enanitos Verdes show at the Fillmore and I have to say, they are truly a band to watch out for here in the DMV. They are true to their style and in my opinion, were a great pick to open for Jarabe as their non-pretentious personas and truthful lyrics mirror somewhat the essence of Jarabe’s style. If you find out that Anexo Social is going to be in your neighborhood, definitely go out and support these guys.
Next to take the stage were the reggae roots heavy Kickoman. The band stepped on the stage decked out to the nines in their Sunday best and brought a set that lightly connected with the crowd. Their song selection seemed to be a bit of a hit and miss but those that did connect, really got the crowd moving.
With his red sneakers and massive smile, Pau Donés stole the hearts of concertgoers on Saturday night. Over an hour and fifteen minutes of hits and re-interpretations, Jarabe De Palo covered their career catalogue in a smartly crafted selection that highlighted their biggest chart topping hits interspersed with hidden gems from deep tracks in their albums. Some of the best moments of the night include: El Lado Oscuro, La Quiero A Morir, Romeo y Julieta and of course, La Flaca.
To only say that Jarabe is an amazing band to see live, would be too much of a general statement and disservice to the band. What makes Jarabe so special? Let me break it down. Firstly, the band is exactly that, a BAND. Yes, Pau Donés is the lead singer and face, but on stage you can tell that these folks are a family, a unit; they are a band. The passion they all have for performing radiates with every chord they play.
Secondly, their songs transcend lyrics. JarabeDePalo has had the ability to tell every day life stories in a way that is stripped, unpretentious and raw. From longing to lust; loss to desire, one night stands to a carefree reality, Pau’s writing style has allowed him to connect with people on such a down to earth level that you can’t help but feel like you are listening to a friend sing your life story or rapture you in his latest adventure. Jarabe de Palo is the type of group that has a song for any phase of life.
If reasons one and two have not yet gotten your interest and piqued your curiosity, let me finish by saying that JarabeDePalo is more than a band, more than a voice and more than lyrics. JarabeDePalo is an enigmatic force that once enters your consciousness, it will accompany on a journey to new musical sounds and sights. If you were at The State Theatre on Saturday, surely you were riding the Jarabe wave through the amazing set list and performance that was displayed on stage.
This time around, there were no LED heart shape glasses or disco choreography, but there were amazing jam sessions with guest saxophonist Jimmy Jenks, who added the flair and groove to the Orquesta Reciclando version of classic tracks like Agua and Grita. Having Jimmy on this tour has given Jarabe another layer to their live show. Their performance this time around felt much breezier, effortless and intimate.
JarabeDePalo at The State Theatre was the perfect show for a chilly October night. Good vibes and music that warmed up the soul and got everyone in a state of mind of happiness and fun, because after all, “de según como se mire, todo depende” and I’ll agree that just like Celia Cruz and Pau sing, “¡a lo loco se vive mejor!.”
Incognito Side note:
Shout out and much appreciation to the crew over at the AMA Project for throwing the official Jarabe Afer Party. True party atmosphere and clásicos del rock en español that even got this Incognito out on the floor. Also thanks to Ze Rafael for amazing photos. To see more of his work visit, KestaHappening.com
A little about the AMA Project… The AMA Project (Active Musicians Association) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of Independent Music in the area of MD DC VA and beyond. AMA is currently hosting local events to bring the music of both emerging and renowned bands and musicians. For more information, be sure to visit the group’s Facebook page.