Concert Reviews

Mile High Music Fest, day two: Ozomatli gets it hopping in spite of the heat

When I interviewed him a few weeks ago in advance of his appearance here, Raul Pacheco, guitarist for Ozomatli, told me he wanted to invite audience members to bring instruments and join the band to jam onstage -- and while the band didn't entirely deliver on that promise (I'm guessing venue regulations had something to do with it), the members did get down and jam with the crowd.

A longtime fixture on the LA scene, Ozomatli dabbles in an eclectic blend of genre music -- reggaeton, ska, rock and old-school hip-hip were a few of the prominent ones -- at times with unexpected results.

Onstage, emcee Justin Porée laid down flows that ranged from Beastie Boys sing-song rhymes to signature Zach de la Rocha-style spitfire, bantering with the crowd while the band segued, often cleverly, between songs with little interruption, and in spite of the insane temperature, the band managed to get the crowd jumping. The best moment, though, came at the end of the set, when the band broke into a chant with the lyrics "Ozomatli ya se fue" (Ozomatli's gotta leave, basically) and, one by one, the members jumped down into the crowd and jammed with percussive instruments. Which, you have to admit, is almost even better than the original promise. Ozomatli's been around a long time, and it shows -- the band put on a truly bang-up show.
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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte