Almalafa, Los Chiles Verdes, and Libertadores
Folks wearing mostly black formed lines to show their IDs to the bouncer at The Slidebar in Downtown Fullerton last Thursday to see Almalafa, Los Chiles Verdes, Libertadores, Almalafa being the most anticipated of the trio. The flier said 8 p.m. but ska music didn't start bubbling out of the Slidebar about an hour later.
The crowd was mostly made up of young people with their piercings, flat peaky caps and beat up shoes all in different shades of black. Some of them had beer in hand and sipped, some of them just waited with arms crossed in their flannels in dark corners for the show to start (I was one of those people). The Libertadores warmed up a good crowd of about thirty–it was lively and energetic as skankers took to the center of the venue and began to dance one by one. By the end of their set, pit was a healthy size with folks dancing in it to "Skank or Die."
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Los Chiles Verdes were next and they added the reggae to the Reggae Ska part of the show. Though their tunes were smoother, they were only slightly slower. It was a pleasure to see female musicians Maria Blues, Ana la Trombonera and Karina lovingly dubbed Chiles girls by their bandmates play at the drums, trombone and the sax (essentially the backbone of a good tune). By the end of their set, the crowd was sweating, out of breath from all the dancing, cheering and clapping vigorously. The venue was packed now, making it difficult to go outside for fresh air without bumping into people.
After a brief intermission that always feels like eons, where folks went outside to smoke cigarettes or refill their beer pitchers to kill time, the long awaited veterans of the genre, Almalafa from Tijuana came to the stage to perform their "MEXICAN SKA!" as the lead singer belted out to the crowd at large, followed by an enthusiastic response.
They churned out "Matar" which encouraged even the most introverted of skankers to join in the pit at risk of getting bruised, but also provided chill vibes for the crowd with their hit "Siento Tu Calor." There was a couple who took this song as an opportunity to slow dance next to the guy with the pitcher in hand who closed his eyes and let himself soak in the mellow. Almalafa lived up to the hype.
Most showgoers came out of the pit and the venue tired, sweaty and with smiles on their faces by the end of the sold out show.