Calle 13 had the entire Observatory crowd jumping last night. (Michael Carranza)
Calle 13 performed in front of a sold-out Observatory in Santa Ana last night. The highly lauded and critically acclaimed band, consisting of Residente (René Pérez Joglar) and Visitante (Eduardo José Cabra Martínez) and PG-13 (Ileana Cabra Joglar), showcased their fusion of musical influences that include hip-hop, reggaeton and Latin- American folk to a raucous and rowdy crowd that was more than eager to get the show started.
The Observatory was a packed house, and the show opened up with Manuel Garcia, a Chilean folk singer-songwriter, but not before beers were slung in the air. It seemed that the whole venue was slightly intoxicated. This was probably due to the excitement the crowd had for the show; their appreciation for live music was evident.
Garcia strummed his guitar, and the people were attentive as he belted out lyrics of social injustice, liberty and freedom. The intimate setting favored an acoustic guitar and some spoken-word recited by Garcia. Still, there was a buzz throughout the Observatory for what was to follow, but not before Garcia played songs dedicated to the people of Latin America. His set was a pleasant and highly enjoyable experience, as the talented singer-songwriter turned a waiting, eager and anxious crowd into a relaxed and enlightened one. As Garcia finished his set, the lights of the Observatory stage dimmed, and it was time to witness the band that packed the intimate venue.
Calle 13 wasted no time in bringing the crowd to a jumping frenzy. They opened with “Fiesta de Locos.” If the crowd wasn’t going crazy before, it certainly was as Joglar hopped around the stage; the audience mirrored his every movement. His energy transmitted throughout the venue.
The fiesta was just getting started, as cups filled with beer danced in the air and spilled onto the now slippery floor of the venue. This was the opening song, and the energy around the building made it feel like it was the climax of most shows. Calle 13 took this crowd for a ride that accelerated and only sped up as they went through “Baile De Los Pobres,” “El Aguante” and “Un Beso de Desayuno.”
Then, Calle 13 arrived at the clever and thoughtfully crafted “No Hay Nadie Como Tu.” The extremely catchy chorus echoed throughout the venue as the crowd had settled into a consistent state of dancing and singing. There were attempts at crowd surfing throughout the night, and Calle 13 ran through songs that couldn’t be silenced. While Calle 13 has the ability to make something festive, with rhythm and melody they also spew conscious lyrics with soul, which makes them such a versatile and acclaimed band.
The latter part of the show allowed for a break from the high-energy dancing and went back to a vibe that was felt earlier in the night when Garcia had hit the stage. Songs like “Ojos Color Sol” and “La Perla” set the crowd up for the socially aware and profound “Latinoaérica.” The contrast between the beginning of the show and this moment was drastic and a prime example of the band’s exploration into various styles of music, instrumentation and influences that has made them one of the most innovative bands in Latin America.
The hit song “Atrévete-te-te” followed, and the venue picked up where it had left off. The song had the whole place moving. “Muerte en Hawaii” calmed the crowd once again as Calle 13 had the capability to take their fans from zero to 60 in the flick of a guitar pick. The show finally concluded with the celebratory “Vamo’ A Portarnos Mal,” a fitting way to end a fun, conscious, rhythmic night of beer slinging, hip gyrating and musical fusion that only Calle 13 could pull off in one set.
There are not too many acts in the world capable of “conscious” and “hip-gyrating” music that deliver on stage. Their curiosity and daring, envelope-pushing music has been compared to artists across the musical landscape. While many search for words to describe the genre they fall into, based on last night, it is safe to say that “undefined” would be a compliment to the eclectic and innovative band.