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Café Tacuba doesn't play it by the numbers

Paradise, Boston, June 18, 2005

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - Only a few weeks before, Café Tacuba reportedly played to a throng of 100,000 in Mexico City.

But while the sold-out crowd here may only have numbered about 700, that had no effect whatsoever on Mexico's leading alt.-rock group.

Café Tacuba, touring behind their Live CD/DVD, "Un Viaje," didn't seem concerned about crowd sizes at all as the band offered a mixture of rock, hip hop, ska, reggae and softer tunes during a very energetic 105-minute show before an enthusiastic, supportive crowd.

The focal point clearly is on lead singer Elfego Buendía. Small in stature, he casts a big presence on stage. Buendía ingratiated himself to the crowd, talking a good amount in between songs, but not so much as to cut the effect of the music.

He also has a bit of an impish quality about him - at one point he jokingly (speaking only in Spanish throughout the evening - the crowd was a good 90 percent Latino anyway) referred to the U.S. as the land of liberty to hisses from the crowd.

Buendía had no trouble filling the space either jumping up and down and about particularly on the ska and hip hop tunes. And the crowd responded right along with Buendía.

While he certainly possesses a surfeit of energy, Buendía did not, however, always quite hit it right vocally as he often was on the gravelly side. He's not exactly the smoothest of vocalists.

Keyboardist Emmanuel Del Real came out front several times, lending his voice on several songs to generally good effect.

And brothers Joselo Rangel (decked out in a nice suit) on guitar and Enrique Rangel (with long dreadlocks and intellectual looking) on bass added a lot of spark to the music as well as a visual contrast.

Give credit to Café Tacuba also for having a sense of humor. Towards the end of the evening, the band members lined up out front with a song playing in the background and each doing dance steps in unison. Cute, effective and a sign that they don't take themselves too seriously.

Fortunately, Café Tacuba doesn't exactly play it by the numbers.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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