Reviews > Shows
Ozomatli, Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park – 7/9
Photo by Alex Borsody
Ozomatli brought out a multicultural cross section of New York City to Prospect Park for the free Celebrate Brooklyn! Concert Series. The show was part of the Latino American Music Conference and New York’s Latino population was heavily represented. Prospect Park is an enchanting place to see concerts and is an oasis among the urban chaos less than a mile away in downtown Brooklyn. Celebrate Brooklyn breaths life and balance into a city with such a dire need to decompress and simply enjoy life. The crickets were out and it was the midst of a severe heatwave, the air was thick and heavy, a perfect evening for some southern California rebel rock.
Ozomatli met as picketers during a strike in Los Angeles, Since then they have become a band famous for their diverse, high energy live shows. They fuse together a wide range of music from cumbia, reggaeton, funk, hip hop and rock. Past members of the group have included the now famous Chali Tuna and Cut Chemist.
Ozomatli is a large band with an even larger stage presence, they occupied every corner of the massive stage and were constantly in motion, dancing and running from side to side, working the crowd. At one point the band asked the audience if they wanted to hear the next song in English or Spanish, emphasizing the latter the crowd gave an enthusiastic response, Ozomatli’s song “Ya Viene El Sol” (The sun is coming) is an uplifting tune with a heavy reggaeton bass drop. The band is know for their eclectic musical repertoire with the incorporation of world music. “Ya Viene El Sol” also mixes in elements of Cumbia into their style, a rhythmic form of dance music originating from Columbia.
“Saturday Night,” ventured into the territories of North American music, with a heavy influence on hip hop and rock and roll. Ozomatli’s song “After Party” featured a familiar funky bass line by Wil-dog Abers and a tease of “I’ll Take You There” made famous by The Staple Singers.
Ozomatli put on what was widely agreed to be one of the best shows at Prospect Park this summer, they mixed in a little bit of everything into their set, going from thrashing metal, to the psychedelic sounds of Arab ambiance in less then half an hour. Ozomatli’s song “Believe,” sounds like a improvisational rock influenced soundtrack to a Bollywood film, rapper Justin Porée repeatedly yelled at the audience “get your peace signs up,” creating an atmosphere of crowd interaction that was a theme of the night. At the end of the show the band marched off the stage and into a procession throughout the audience. The crowd was loving it with cameras raised and arms flying, as they chanted Ozomatli’s closing number “Ozomatli Ya Se Fue” or “Ozomatli is leaving.“
This act of walking through the audience with horns and drums is the same move that got the band arrested at SXSW this past year, when a police officer was worried about them inciting a riot. The good people of New York City seemed to know better than to get in the way of a good time and the band marched safely back on stage to close out the show.
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