The city of Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It is home to such music festivals as “South by Southwest” and “Austin City Limits.” I’m always proud when talented bands emerge from the local music scene and prove that everything is indeed “bigger in Texas.”
Grupo Fantasma is a perfect example of such talent. Describing themselves as a “Latin funk orchestra,” Grupo Fantasma combines several genres to create a unique and fun sound. Think Santana meets Parliament meets Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
My sister and I had been itching to see this band live since the moment we caught one of their shows on the TV program “Austin City Limits.” So, when my birthday rolled
around, what better way to celebrate than with a concert, Grupo Fantasma style!
From the minute the band took the stage, everyone was dancing and moving. Launching straight into “Calor,” the energy of the 10-piece outfit was strikingly apparent. And it never let up as the band rolled into “La Conozco” and “Cumbianchera.” The guitarists, Beto Martinez and Adrian Quesada, flexed their superb skills on the instrumental track “Cumbia De Los Pajaritos.” Things got even hotter with the upbeat “El Consejo,” which definitely got the crowd moving.
Each band member had a chance to show off their respective instrument, and Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes proved that he could rock the congas on “Naci de la (Rumba y Guaganco).” Adrian and Beto had another awesome jam session on the Fania All-Stars cover “El Raton,” which brought a smooth and dark vibe to the set. Singers Jose Galeano and Kino Esparza flaunted their terrific vocals on “Se Te Mira” and “Hijo.”
One of the more fun moments came when the band performed their own version of Talking Head’s “Burning Down the House.” With the inclusion of the horn section and
lyrics translated into Spanish, this was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise. The crowd really let loose during this one and clearly had a blast. Things kept rolling along with “Levantate” and “Big Boned.” The band closed with their current single, “Montañozo,” to a roaring audience who didn’t want the night to end.
Of course, it didn’t end there. For the encore, Grupo Fantasma played the always popular “Mentiras” and “Gimme Some.” I couldn’t help but think, “Gimme more music!” But, alas, the band does need to sleep sometime. With the energy still high and the
summer night still sizzling, the group said goodnight to a well deserved round of cheers.
¡Qué noche! What a night!