Did anyone see Maykel Blanco in London?

Discussion in 'Member Reviews' started by timberamayor, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    Curious to hear how the show was.
     
    #1
  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

  3. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

  4. Salsquatch

    Salsquatch Changui

    I was there, and thought it was a great show and that the organisers, Havana to Londres, did a good job.

    The venue was the Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 Arena, which is actually a functioning bowling alley. Here's a pic of the band doing their sound checks.

    DSC_0089.JPG

    It had nice high ceilings and a really good air conditioning system with two huge ceiling fans. You could actually feel the air moving which is a definite plus for a sweaty salsero like myself. It was a comfortable environment for dancing in, with plenty of space both on the floor and for standing around with a drink.

    Before the gig started, there was a workshop with Yanet Fuentes where we learned a choreo and picked up a couple of new moves, and had the pleasure of doing a couple of animaciones on the dancefloor as the band played just for us during their soundcheck. I thought the sound quality was excellent, with the trombones in particular producing a really rich sound.

    After the workshop, people started coming in and dancing to the DJs and the place filled up. I've been to London for dancing twice now, and both times I've been impressed by the standard of the social dancing. They really have their Afro stuff and Rumba down! The DJs were excellent all night and you could dance to every tune, and there were people there from all over the UK.

    As for the band, I'm a Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor convert. I didn't really know much about them before the gig other than that they were a big band not to be missed, and when I was giving their stuff a listen in the run-up to the gig I thought that they were "ok"... but my opinion changed seeing them live.

    Every single one of the guys on stage looked like they were having the time of their lives, and I have never seen so many enthusiastically gyrating hips on one stage before. The percussionist you can see behind Yanet Fuentes in that video stood out for how much he was into the music in particular, as did the double bass player who was making love to his instrument. You can tell that the band has really good chemistry.

    I loved the performance and recognised the tracks from the new album, but I don't know their work well enough to list what they played. I liked seeing a real Cuban band intro live, and then near the end Maykel called the entire band up to centre stage in small groups to bust out some moves for the crowd, which was fun to watch.

    If there was one thing I was slightly disappointed at it's that there wasn't much audience dancing during the concert. Instead people watched it like a normal concert, with only a few people dancing around the edges of the venue and near the back of the crowd. The floor was crowded though so I can see how it wouldn't have been practical for everyone to dance at the same time, and the band did a good job of getting the crowd going with lots of manos arriba, and even getting three girls up on stage for a dance off.

    Overall it was a great night and well worth the train fare :)
     
  5. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    great report! Thanks! I always think that seeing a band live is a whole different experience than the studio albums.
    I think the non-dancing during the concert is typical with the Cuban concerts because the people are very much into the communication with the band and instead are mostly dancing solo. I am much more interested in really communing with the band than dancing with a partner and making the band really just an audio experience. I can always dance before and after the show to the music the DJs play but how often do I get to watch the guys in action and sing along etc. The people who want to dance usually move to the back of the room and the rest of us crowd the stage :)

    I get the impression (could be wrong) that "regular salseros" are really more into dancing than paying attention to the band. I think I could do that if we had concerts here all the time. But when we don't usually get more than a couple per year I'll save my partner dancing for the DJ sections.

    As for the drummer - he's only 23 and although I missed the concert here several of my percussionist friends were there and they were very impressed by him. I really want to make the next Salsa Festival in Havana February 2017 (it is Maykel's brainchild).
     
  6. Salsquatch

    Salsquatch Changui

    Yeah I suppose that makes sense. My only other live experience was with a smaller local band where everyone was dancing, but I can see why you wouldn't want to "miss" the band because you were dancing.

    What is that festival called? I had a quick google but couldn't see anything in Feb.

    My next big salsa event is Unidanza in Hamburg in October where Los Van Van are playing on the Sunday :dancingbanana:
     
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  7. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

  8. UchimaSalsa

    UchimaSalsa Son Montuno

    I missed that one ;-(
    I had a good feedback as well.
    I'll see them in Rovinj in a couple of week though.
    I think Havana to Londres a doing a good job by bringing those cuban bands and for affordable prices.
    At another level Marc Anthony is coming to the big Concert Hall at O2 and the prices are just ridiculous.
     
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  9. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

  10. Salsquatch

    Salsquatch Changui

    timberamayor likes this.

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