Saturday To-Do: Grupo Fantasma | Rock Candy

Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday To-Do: Grupo Fantasma

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM

9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10.

The December before last, this 11-piece Austin-based orchestra played to a criminally small crowd at Revolution. It was one of the best shows I saw that year. In the tradition of Fania, Nu Yorica and boogaloo, Grupo Fantasma blends traditional Latin genres like cumbia, merengue and salsa with deep, infectious funk. It's music made for dancing, and even though an empty-ish room is a powerful deterrent and I'm almost rhythm-less, I got out and got down. It's easy to get distracted by the activity onstage, though. The band features a four-piece horn section, four percussionists (including one on timbales and another on congas) and three guitarists. Everyone stays in the pocket. The jams never get wanky or meandering, and when the conga player or guitarist took a solo turn, they don't outstay their welcome. Look: This band, well before it reached current heights, was probably the biggest Latin funk band in the world, on that Prince often conscripted as his backing band. And if it's funky enough for the Purple One …

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