Aterciopelados: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

Nature and environmental themes dominate "Rio,'' the latest album by eclectic Colombian band Aterciopelados. So it was fitting that the first few numbers the quintet played Thursday night at the State Theater just rippled pleasantly. Then singer-guitarist Andrea Echeverri shed her bulky white jacket, and the mood became livelier.

Aterciopelados ("the velvety ones'') didn't revisit the early '90s, when they played punk and hard rock. They didn't even allocate much time to their more recent forays into electro-lounge. The set emphasized the mode of "Rio'' -- jangly Latin folk-rock with rhythms that straddled from the Caribbean to the Andes. Songs began with synthesized burbles, Afro-Cuban syncopation or guitar fanfares in the styles of either Carlos Santana or the Edge. But such elements were soon absorbed into the loping whole, and overwhelmed by Echeverri's hearty, penetrating alto.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

If such jaunty pop-rockers as "Bolero Falaz'' sounded more like Liverpool than Bogota, the dominant accent was still Latin, with a new tilt toward jazz. Andean pan flutes produced both traditional bird-like tones and free-jazz squawks, and such midtempo tunes as "Aguita'' showcased Echeverri's torch-singer potential.

"Aguita'' is actually a protest of the privatization of water resources, and Echeverri is known for political lyrics. The singer drew cheers when she adorned her guitar with a "No Mas'' sticker from a campaign targeting violence against women, and when she introduced "Cancion Protesta,'' a song the band remade for an Amnesty International project. Aterciopelados's music may sound more easygoing these days, but it's still pointed.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 3, 2009; 10:21 AM ET Live Last Night
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