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The Pinker Tones & Maldita Vecindad Latin Alternative Music Conference Central Park Summerstage July 10, 2010
On the last afternoon of the five-day conference that included showcases, panels, networking and an array of performances around New York City, Barcelona's The Pinker Tones took the stage with their eclectic blend of electronics and rock. The band opened with a digital effects-laden tune on the joys of video games, and immediately followed that with "Tokyo," a David Bowie-influenced number that they had also played in acoustic format on July 9 during their short performance at downtown Manhattan's, Le Possoin Rouge. They also featured the Spanish-language "Sampleame," a tune that acknowledges the use of samples in new music, borrowing both on The Beatles' "Day Tripper" and The Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash."
The band members are highly accomplished musicians, all alternating between electric bass, guitars and keyboards, and their set included everything from progressive-like rock to dance music, funk and metalwhich got the audience (who were there for the evening's headliners) to their feet. Unlike some other performers featured at LAMC, they did not dabble into politics. The Pinker Tones are about creating a party atmosphere, and they reached that goal with flying colors.
After a short break, Maldita Vecindad came on ready to tear things up (in their first Summerstage concert in half a decade), starting with a Mexican-influenced rock song. Lead vocalist Roco sounded extremely motivated, and guitarist Paco fed both on the energy emanated by the singer and the audience, who transformed Rumsey Playfield into a de facto mosh pit.
Maldita Vecindad could be considered the northern cousins of Brazil's Os Paralamas do Sucesso, as they both borrow from ska, reggae and local influences, creating a sonic blend that is immediately identifiable. Roco did not miss the opportunity to be vocal on political issues, and voiced his contempt to the situation at the US-Mexico border and also denounced the recent Arizona immigration law.
The 11th edition of the LAMC was incredibly rich, with great opportunities for musical discoveries and also a chance to get to hear acts one doesn't always have the chance to hear at mainstream venues. At the conference, groups like the Pinker Tones, New York's Zigmat and many others received the chance to be heard by new and willing listeners, and also to enjoy the possibility of being discovered by coveted labels that might just send them to bigger places.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.