Bajofondo: Live Last Night


Live Last Night

Although they inspire rather different moves, tango and techno are both dance music, so it was inevitable that someone would combine the two.

Soundtrack composer Gustavo Santaolalla did just that with Bajofondo, which performed at the 9:30 club on Saturday night. The group melded electronica's global thump with the plaintive melodies of the Rio de la Plata region, where Argentina and Uruguay meet -- and most of these musicians live.

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

The concert opened with Javier Casalla on a Stroh violin, an antique instrument with an attached megaphone that provides an old-timey tone. Then an uptempo synthbeat entered, along with the rest of the band. The first half of the 100-minute set, which used almost no vocals, mostly just reiterated Bajofondo's formula. One song would be a tango with an electronic aside; the next would be a raver with a tango interlude.

Midway through the show, Bajofondo broke the pattern with a tango-infused hip-hop track. Then Martin Ferres played a solo on his bandoneon (a button accordion) that owed more to Steve Reich than Astor Piazzolla, followed by a quiet, pretty piece from Santaolalla's "Motorcycle Diaries" score.

Following those detours, Bajofondo returned to its techno-tango mashup, but with a few welcome variations. Prerecorded vocals enlivened some tunes, and Santaolalla himself sang "El Mareo," which had a spaghetti-western feel.

There was no room to tango in the sold-out club; but for the big finale the group brought about 100 fans onstage to jump, shimmy and punch the air. All the dancers appeared to be female, suggesting that while Bajofondo's tango is newfangled, its macho is traditional.

-- MARK JENKINS

By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 13, 2009; 7:22 AM ET Live Last Night
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