OZOMATLI w/ CHALI 2NA
Concorde 2, Brighton 23.8.18
I last saw Ozomatli somewhere in the Jazz Field at Glastonbury in
the late 90s. It was cold and wet (probably) but I remember them vividly.
The sextets perfect blend of latin/ hiphop/ Cuban rhythm is,
once seen, never forgotten. A band that also featured in the chick
flick, Never Been Kissed, I think that Drew Barrymore
beat one of their bongos. Still, I digress. I can hardly believe that
this is their 20th anniversary tour. Beginning with percussionist/
dancer/ rapper, Justin Poree, taking centre stage, the anticipation
for Chali 2Na (of Jurassic 5 fame and previous collaborator) is tangible.
While Justin does a great job warming up the audience, it isnt
until the distinctive baritone of Mr 2Na rumbles through the venue
that they really start to party like its 1999. And oh, is he
cool. Absolutely captivating, even when he is dancing away in the
background and not really doing much more than beating a cow bell
occasionally, he brings the show to life.
That said, Ozomatli are far from being 2Nas backing band. The
six members of Ozomatli bring the energy, the passion, the tight musicianship
that only bands that have been performing together so long could have.
Asdrubal Sierra, the short stocky frontman of sorts, has some pipes
on him as he alternates from singing to trumpet throughout their set.
Complimented by Ulises Bella on saxophone, melodion and various other
instruments, each player has a part, pogoing at one point in synchrony,
to prove the band is 20 years older but they are far from over the
hill. Classic hip hop such as Saturday Night flows perfectly
into the latin/reggae fusion of Cumbia De Los Muertos
and the more traditional Chango, leaving not one person
in the venue stationary at any stage in the evening. A little bit
of old school perfection that still sounds as fresh as a daisy.
Thank you to Ozomatli for letting myself and the plus one in. It was