Live Review


San Diego, CA-On April 29, a formidable tribe descended upon Pala Casino Spa and Resort in North San Diego County. Jaguares is Mexico's answer to British and American hard rock. Utilizing a hard-rock approach, the band mixes classic-styled heavy guitar work from two guitarists, Latin-based percussion, complex drum patterns and rhythms and profound melodic bass lines. The results are truly unique. You'll hear everything from the Beatles, Pink Floyd to Souxie and the Banshees to Joy Division and even Smashing Pumpkins in Jaguares' music along with the group's Latin influences. The band's most recent SonyBMG album was produced and recorded in Nashville by former King Crimson guitarist, Adrian Belew.

The estimated crowd of between 1,200 and 1,500 fans was a sea of electricity. Then, with an initial dimming and then flashing of lights, Saul Hernández (guitar, vocals), Alfonso André (drums, vocals), 'Vampiro' López (guitar), Leonardo Muñoz(percussion, vocals), and Marco Renteria (bass) took the stage in an explosion of guitars, crashing cymbals, and roar of the crowd.

Fans sang every lyric along with the beloved and revered Hernández. He is their icon, hero, sage, and sex symbol. The crowd provided all singing for the entire first verse of "No Dejes Que." Hernández always draws the crowd in during this song's intro, reveling in the increasingly loud cheers in anticipation of the completion of the song's opening guitar passage. Although he usually begins singing after the first half of the song's opening verse, he allowed the zealous crowd a bit more this time.

Hernández's words between songs included a host of heartfelt thanks to the band's followers and a specific nod to the Mexicali contingent. A social and political commentator, Hernández called for "more men and fewer machos" and for people to unite and forge ahead to fight violence against women, discrimination, and corrupt governments on both sides of the border. He also spoke of his support of the Latino community's efforts in the struggle for immigrant rights. The band even moved up the concert's date two days in support of the May 1 economic boycott.

The band played songs from throughout its storied 20-plus year history. Already loud, the crowd grew even louder for older favorites like "Matenme," "Ayer Me Dijo Un Ave," and the Juan Gabriel classic, "Te Lo Pido Por Favor." The group has also retained a good number of songs from it's most recent SonyBMG release "Cronicas de un Laberinto."

The band opted to include classy bits of showmanship. Smart but relatively short solos by Muñoz and Renteria. served to demonstrate each player's prowess on his respective instrument. They also made it obvious why each has been retained by Hernández and co.

Lead guitarist Cesar 'Vampiro' López wowed the crowd with a flashy, but tactfully brief solo reminiscent of 70's era arena rock guitar gods. His charm and wit shone through as the short, but severe blast of notes served as a brief introduction the band's next song.

Pala's security team was calm, cool and collected even as the fans challenged during the show's closer, "La Negra Tomasa." Beefy security team members moved in to retake control of the crowd that had collectively jumped to its feet at the onset of the song from the band's first album, only to became spectators as fans danced and celebrated their rock en español champions up close.

By Francisco H. Ciriza

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