Thursday, April 03, 2008

Beto Cuevas @ 4th & B, 4.2.08

I have to admit that it wasn't until I was generating my "Things To Do" list for the week that I realized that Beto Cuevas was playing at 4th & B. And even with that information, I had to Google his name before I realized that Beto was the singer of one of my favorite "rock en espanol" bands when I was in college, La Ley. I'd seen them at least once in the past, if not more, but at the time, I went to so many Spanish rock shows that it's all kind of a giant of the reasons I'm grateful that I can blog about it all now- because even if I forget, it's committed to my virtual backup memory. But after tonight, I guarantee I won't forget.

My night started out with dinner with my sister, my niece, Kristian, and his friend. We had to wait a bit for a table but it made our Ponce's meal that much better. After dinner it might have been quite easy to slip into food coma, but I thought I needed a good deviation from my norm and what better than Beto's show where I knew I'd be surrounded by a bunch of strangers outside of my normal scene and routine?

I arrived, and as it seemed the stars aligned, found my friend who walked me into the show and hooked up a photo pass. The show started and I raced to get into the photo pit for the first three songs and was surprised to see just how many photographers were shooting the show. Giant cameras and all, I dodged my way around the all male photogs trying to get some shots.
After a few from the left, I moved to the right, only to bump into some giant man, who when he saw my little point and shoot digital camera, searched for my credentials by grabbing me by my jacket. Yeah, Dude, you have a photo pass. I have a fucking ALL ACCESS photo pass, so kiss my ass. If there had been a moment of quiet, I would've liked to tell him that if he ever laid hands on me again I'd break his $3000 camera. I took as many pics as I could and then when the time came, filtered back into the crowd, where the illumination of 30 digital cameras actually pleased my line of sight to the stage.

There's something that I will always love about "latin" rock stars. They definitely move with more poise and control onstage than most bands, and I feel like I understand how bands back in the day could stir girls (and even straight men) into a frenzy, because most English speaking bands lack it today, but it's still a huge part of the show for musicians like Beto (and La Ley back when they were still together), Moenia, Juanes, Mana, and others of their ilk. They choreograph some uber sexy stage moves. It's a beautiful thing to witness, though I still felt like a bit of an outsider, and was still not quite getting into it more than the bobbing of my head to the music.
But then I stepped outside and the most amazing thing happened. A stranger approached and spoke to me in Spanish. Asking where I was from, and in not so many words, asking why I was there, then assuming because I had the photo pass that I had no interest in the band, just the shots...but before long, we were talking and turns out he's a Mexicano born and bred in P.B. and so while he chose to speak to me mostly in Spanish, was ok when I resorted to my shitty Spanish and mostly English. We talked for some time before reentering the venue where he told me that La Ley was/is his all time favorite band.

To me, there was something amazing about being at a show that I was enjoying but maybe not really "feeling", and meeting someone who explained how much he loved the old band, this musician, his voice, and even explaining some of the lyrics that perhaps I'd thought I understood. Everything took on a whole new meaning as this perfect stranger took the time to translate and explain the words that were beyond my Spanish vocabulary.

We grabbed a couple drinks at the bar as we chatted endlessly about the music, the show, his travels, my writing, the way the lyrics refer to politics, family, and all the things that inherently matter, particularly from the perspective of his people, mi gente, even if I wasn't raised puro, all while enjoying the show and the energy around us. And it was an amazing thing. There were things he'd say in English for my benefit, and then things that just don't translate that had to be spoken in Spanish, and while I'm always proud of my heritage and ethnicity, this particular circumstance reminded me that while I might not have grown up with frijoles on the stove, this is a part of who I am and made me want to explore that part of me just a little bit deeper. Oh yeah, and turns out my ambassador lives less than two blocks away from me. Is that what Jewish people call kismet?

Beto Cuevas Setlist, 4th & B, 3.2.08

After the show we chatted for a few, then I was off to the Tower Bar where I caught The Muslims set. I'll have to take a look at those pics and see if they're even worth posting, but the set was as good as ever and the drummer now has a standing drum set, meaning everything is set high and he stands while he plays which is a cool touch to their sound and feel.

Needless to say, I should've been asleep hours ago but it was an amazing night and I've got lots of plans for Thursday, Friday and the rest of the weekend, so I had to get this all published before I let time pass and the memory fade. Gracias por todo, mi carino amigo nuevo...

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