I've seen Orishas before, at the Royal Festival Hall a few months back, and tonight their electrifying Cuban hip hop exhilerated once again. I never get bored of their mix of traditional Latin and urban street sounds.
Los Lobos were a complete surprise. Not having heard from them since the La Bamba days in the 1980s, I had few expectations until yesterday morning when I heard their new album, The Ride, for the first time.
A laid-back rootsy affair, The Ride features wonderfully soulful collaborations with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Bobby Womack and Richard Thompson. Surprise number one was that the album was a rather sombre affair, full of yearning and heartbreak -- not the jolly sounds of the 80s that I remember shunning. Surprise number two was that last night's performance was all flaming guitars, pounding drums and fiery lights -- an altogether grittier and heavier atmosphere than I was led to expect from The Ride. With their long electric guitar solos, they sounded like a 70s heavy metal band straining to escape their Tex-Mex, blues, rock 'n' roll and lumberjack-shirted bulk.
We danced all night long. In short, I really enjoyed myself!
Photos on Flickr soon.