Nortec Collective 08.03.06 BSD by Eric Nielsen
I went to the Grand Performances/KCRW show in downtown LA this weekend to see the Nortec Collective. I was hyped, the crowd was large, but the music disappointed. Granted the venue didn't allow for the volume required to really get people bumping. And, it seemed like the band was most interested in bumping up the crowd. With hand waving and pointing and posing it seems like the Kraftwerk vibe that they hope for, and as presented by their videos was lost. People were happy and dancing but there was no soul or underlying passion from the band. They had a couple of mariachi players on stage that were so obviously a gimmick that it was painful to watch. The accordion player was good and added real flavor but the guitar was unnecessary and embarrassing. The horn section was also good, but the core band looked more LA than Tijuana. Maybe success has changed them? I don't know, maybe this is how they've always been.
The video was pretty great. Sometimes it really made you feel like you were in Mexico. It looks like some heavy expense goes toward creating these. Although, KCRW had advertisements running on the buildings above and the blatant commercialism was a major turn off. It made me wonder what the band got paid for the show. They were also passing the bucket around the show for donations. The church of KCRW. They are so legit, they're not hip anymore. As my friends call the station, alternative light. The final slide said something to the extent of, "Where's the after party?" The party atmosphere of the crowd made the night bearable. Sitting amongst a large crowd of Mexican Americans getting drunk made for lots of laughs and good times.
The free concert attracted a crowd that you will not find in San Diego. It was packed and most everyone was drinking freely. Coolers, bottles and wine glasses where everywhere and the security was cool. No one hassled the drinking and the crowd didn't hassle anyone else. It seems Los Angeles knows how to party together. I couldn't help but imagine SD and the fights, and the security beefcake's dressed in yellow scowling at everyone. In LA security wore suits and were having a good time as well.
The opening band The Mexican Institute of Sound were horrible. It wasn't that I didn't get it. They didn't get how to create a live thing. It's not easy. And, they were playing to about 2,000 people. They are so much better on CD. Watching them was painful, creating embarrassed laughter and the crowd agreed. Electronica with no stage presence brought out the boo birds.
The atmosphere was better than the bands. Where's the soul, the spirit, the passion?