Sin Color’s Valentine concert: hip hop, romance, nostalgia, and Mariachi
LA LA LAND 2.20.19
Valentine’s day in LA is a major excuse for a party. Almost every music venue in the city produces some sort of celebration on the Friday or Saturday following V-Day, ranging from rooftop pool parties with bubbly and brand name DJ”s to local bars inviting folks for “romance cocktails” and acoustic love song bands. Prices vary from free to far more than I can afford. What I could afford, and would not have missed at any price, was Sin Color’s Valentine’s Day celebration at the Civic Center Studios in DTLA on Saturday night. I went last year was treated to a wondrous night of romance and music, so I was curious to see if the operatic-cumbia-Mexican-folk-rock-duo/band could pull off another magic night. I even decided to take my wife instead of my video camera – risky, if the romance didn’t happen. It did, along with hip hop, nostalgia and Mariachi.
Civic Center Studios owner Pete Galindo had anticipated a large band and large crowd, so the stage was expanded from last year and the balcony was set up for an overflow. This allowed for projections behind the bands and plenty of space for musicians. It also allowed for romantic tables for couples the floor, where they could be – and were – serenaded. Plus, it left space for musicians to stroll and sing on the floor as well as on the stage – a critical element in Sin Color’s production design.
It got even better when Weapons of Mass Creation came on stage. One of SoCal’s most interesting hip hop/soul bands, WOMC counts five siblings among its six members from the Anaheim-based Franco Family. They started out as the Franco Funktion, a jam band zigzagging through reggae, cumbia, and hip-hop and then evolved creatively to tackle political and social justice topics. That was all in evidence as they pulled the crowd into the stage and got them clapping and moving with hip hop lyrics and cumbia beats. A sharp contrast to the Americana style of Sophie Lynn, the transition was seamless – Sophie set a tone, brought light and smiles to the CCStudios, and then WOMC added kinetic energy – and more smiles. I would not have thought country and Americana would blend so well on the same bill as hip hop, but it did – a testimony to Sin Color’s show production skills – they know how to create magic from very disparate materials.
This being LA, a hotshot video crew was on hand to record it, led by Vinny Holbrook, Creative Director for the buzz-worthy Vango Studio, which works with upcoming bands, and artists. Vinny and his team were there to video Sophie Lynn, but they were having so much fun that they stayed to enjoy and shoot the entire night, upping the excitement as Vinny and his camera moved across the floor in front of the stage. It felt like Hollywood in downtown.
Crisia returned with the full Sin Color band, managing to be both resplendent and demur in a red velvet dress and her trademark 5-inch heels. The Sin Color set opened with the bossa nova flavored “Confusion” in Spanish, from the Sin Color Demo, moved to “Recitame el Major” from their 2014 Bella Luna demo, and transitioned to English with Minnie Riperton’s 1975 hit “Loving You”, a perfect dose of romance nostalgia for a Valentine celebration.
The mood switched back to current dance with their 2017 hit Pensamiento that showcased Crisia’s opera skills as her soprano and mezzo soprano notes floated throughout the studio, accompanied by cheers and applause. The evening ended with high-impact cumbia, “La Siwanaba” which got everyone to their feet, jamming the floor in front of the stage and spreading to the balcony.
While most of the audience was not alive when most of the night’s nostalgia songs were first released, they knew them (you can’t keep a good song down) . And they knew the current songs delivered by Sin Color, Sophie Lynn and WOMC. Which made the mixture of old and new, Spanish and English, romance and amor, pop and Mariachi, both familiar and unforgettable.