Monday, July 11, 2011

LAMC Recap: Sweet home, Chicago (I heart NY)

I heart NY but I'm so glad to be back in the heat of the Midwest after a jam-packed week of music activities for the Latin Alternative Music Conference and for a performance by [.DESCARGA.]. Check it out.

I arrived in NYC before the band, getting us checked in to this lovely hotel we've stayed at a few times before, located right around the corner from the Bowery Ballroom. (It has a kitchen? I love it.) I'm glad I got there early too because the heat in NY is no joke. Chicago doesn't even come close to this heat. It was as hot as a sweltering day in Pasadena, TX, I tell you what! So I was able to get the room cooled off in time for their arrival a few hours later. Ush. After a quick meal of cheeseburgers and fries (rock food!), we headed out in a ritzy SUV (we asked for a taxi, y'all!) to Queens.

D'Antigua, in Jackson Heights, was the night's destination and [.DESCARGA.] did a great job of showcasing their talent. "It was crazy, it was mayhem..." they sing in their new single The Funeral and in the end, everything came together nicely.

We met so many great bands that night like Cojoba (Puerto Rican, female fronted punk, come on!), Espantapajaros (rockin' from Houston), Don Quixote (all metal, all night, from DC), Gusano, a punk band from New Jersey who didn't play but stopped by to support the show (they are so much fun!), Kofre (skatos) from NY and soloist Urbeprima.  Of course, we reconnected again with Ric Fazekas from Los Angeles who put together the showcase and was celebrating his birthday, big apple style. An added bonus was that Anthony Macias and I were the DJs responsible for selecting music all night.

It was a long night and along the way we tried arepas (and loved them), some spicy ground beef fried empanadas (so good after a few beers), rum and Coke from a plastic bottle, sang Happy Birthday to Ric and inhaled a slice of choco-quiensabeque-but-it's-so-good cake and pretended to exercise (well, just me) in the barely tolerable fire that tore at our naked souls in the suffocating bowels of New York's rat-friendly subway system. It was friggin' awesome!

Thursday morning we rushed our way to the Roosevelt Hotel to begin our day of interviews with artists, getting the most out of the information from the day's panels, and sharing valuable time with people we tend to only see once a year at this precise gathering. It all happened so fast before we knew it we'd met nearly twenty new bands, exchanged information with other media outlets, listened and furiously wrote away notes during the panels and finally sighed a breath of relief as we successfully completed our day's work. It's such a rush. This is what some of us fuel off of.  Thankfully, it's never ending.


Thursday evening we head back to Soho to have dinner and rest a bit before we leave again to check out the night's line-up at the Bowery Ballroom, which is freaking amazingly located right around the corner from our hotel. The heat was dissipating. Things were oh, so, cool. And. And... I would get to see one of my pitter-patter-heart favorites, Ximena SariƱana. Butterflies and sighs.

Diego Garcia was performing as we went to the main stage area of the Bowery Ballroom, which is upstairs from the main bar. It was crowded, cameras snapping away everywhere, like fireworks. The music immediately put us into a trance as the feel-good vibes of Garcia's music reached out to us, and literally reached out to grab Jose's beer for a quick sip. Ha! Diego rocked the last few songs and we can only imagine the rest of his performance, as the crowd cheered for more. We were sorry we'd missed the entire set. Man oh man that man can sweeten up anything. He makes people happy. Mhmm! And so the night went on, performer, networking in between and enjoying the night's overall smoothness. Cuarto Poder was on fire, Francisca Valenzuela (or as Hector calls her, Pancha) was sultry behind the  keys, such elegance and strength, and Ximena... well, let's just say I shed some tears. Shut up. It was a great ending to our Thursday in Manhattan.

Friday, after a quick brunch at Good Burger, was less hectic and it rocked just as much except with twice as many interviews, more connections and so many new friends (Alejandro Fernandez!?). Even though we were exhausted, we kept going with an overall satisfaction of having been able to not only enjoy great performances but also that we were able to amass so much valuable information. We shared. We acquired. Isn't that what it's all about? I think so.


Friday night we finally tried some Ray's Original Pizza as we read through liner notes on all our new CDs. I left the LAMC magazine for my plane ride home. That was too good to just flip through before resting up for our flight home the next morning. Oh, about Ray's Pizza. We ordered it with anchovies. Oh my. We ventured on.

Another year, another successful Latin Alternative Music Conference with the added bonus of a NY performance by Chicago's [.DESCARGA.]. I will always heart New York but I'm in love with Chicago.


See ya next year, kitties. (I'll be posting links to our interviews soon.)

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