Antiliaanse Feesten, Antwerp (B), 15. March 2003
This year's Indoor version of the "Antiliaanse Feesten" in Antwerp's Sportpaleis was programed to showcase the following groups:
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I haven't heard or seen anything of Bamboleo's work since their break with Haila Mompie and Lionel Limonta. The more pleased I was to find them continuing as an excellent timba band, now with two female and two male singers. None of them dominates the stage as much as Haila Mompie did, but they have some realy good voices there and their presence on stage is good as well.
Their musical style has somewhat shifted from Timba towards "normal" Salsa, a development which I personally welcome. The songs became more melodical and harmonical, a few times they even went quite romantic. Nevertheless they never lost the typical drive of a good timba band - a very nice mix indeed!
Highlights included some rather fine jazzy solos, such as the saxophone solo depicted above.
After the show one of the singers joined the crowd and obviously enjoyed the atention he received a lot.
Mala Fe play a hard and mordern kind of merengue, whith some rather shallow lyrics (i.e. "La Baca"). But these New York based Dominicans do know how to get the audience going - especially the female fans! Besides that, lyrics almost completely consisting of the two words "La Baca" enable everyone willing to sing along loudly....
The Band delivered a very professional show. Especially the two co-singers and dancers knew how to start the many Latinas to scream on their highest pitch.
The other musicians did their job very well, too. They did not only impress with some funny dancing, but also with solid "hand made" music, including various solos.
Finally Mala Fe picked some girls for a special "dancing contest", where these lovely Latinas showed off their hip-swing. Cintura, Cintura, Cintura!
Oscar D'Leon without doubt is one of the biggest in salsa, and this didn't only start yesterday. I guess I don't need to say a lot about his music here, any salsero should have had his hot moments on the dancefloor with salsa calassics like "Castellano, que bueno baila Usted", "Lloraras", or "Mentiras"...
Well, where's Oscar on the picture above? You won't find him! Like a classic entertainer, he let his great band warm up the crowd and raise tension with a medley, which even included a first solo - that's what you see above.
As the King of Salsa finally arrived on stage, the audience really went wild. Near the stage the frenetic welcome easily won against the excellent sound system. Even after about 30 years on stage, Oscar D'Leon can still count on the enthusiasm of his fans - and those who didn't know why, were going to learn during this concert!
This almost 60 year old sonero beams an incredible power and aura on stage. I've never seen anyone like him up there. He is constantly moving around, singing and dancing until soaked with sweat. He does'nt give his band even a second of a break. If I hadn't seen him in Hoogstraten in 1997 (se report in German), I wouldn't believe it's possible to do better (there he was even a bit more enegtic and impressed with many improvisations)
One of his sons was on stage as well, and he didn't only impress with his dancing (see above picture). He's also a decent perusion player and the percussion set, where he kept swapping bongo, timbales and congas all the time with two other musicians was absolutely incredible!
Above you see Oscar D'Leon with the Peruvian flag. Of course all Latin American Nations were welcomed during the show, some even received a dedicated song, which even raised the frenzy in the respective part of the audience. People were really going wild having a great time, but always in a peacefull manner.
The call for "all Cubans onto stage!" was followed with joy, and the large stage was immediatly filled with people dancing...
As you might guess from the above image, the light-show in the Sportpaleis was again state of the art.
It's almost a tradition for me not to stand the complete festival, but to leave while the last band is playing. After five hours of dancing, singing and never having a rest, the way home (abt. 2 hours driving) is always quite a challenge. Well, I guess I should stay in a hotel next year...
Luckily the organizer again had chosen a group to be the last on stage, who were a highlight for many, but not for me. So the only thing I can offer you from the Kassav' show is the "farewell" shot below.
As you can see, the Sportpaleis was more crowded than ever. 9500 persons filled the large bowl! The organization was again excellent, even prices for drinks were really dancer-friendly (1.25 for most soft drinks and beer). Only the toilets were way too expensive - 40 cents was also a shock to the organizer, whi says had no influence on that.
In good tradition the first names for the Hoogstraten Festival - the father of the indoor version - where announced: On 8th and 9th of August we will see La Barriada (Cuba), NG La Banda (Cuba), Guaco (Venezuela) and Oliver N'Goma (Gabon). And with NG La Banda and Guaco on the list, it is already clear that Hoogstraten 2003 will be a "must" for any salsaholic in the area!
All concert reviews represent personal views.
Copyright 2003 Klaus Reiter (email@example.com). Last Update: 17.03.2002.