Monday, January 18, 2010 at 5 p.m.
From left to right: Quetzal Guerrero (vocals), Camillo Quiñones (guest drums), Bryan Velasco (guest keyboards)
The Show: Guerrero's got it. He's got the right mix of talent, soul, smart lyrics, and understated sensuality--yet, he doesn't appear cocky. He's just got it. Guerrero strummed his guitar while accompanied by percussionist Camillo Quiñones. The two men took steady rhythms and shot 'em up with unexpected bursts and room-warming passion. Each song displayed Guerrero's immense vocal and guitar talents, along with his innate ability to keep his audience engaged with varied time signatures. Later in the night, guest keyboardist Bryan Velasco joined Guerrero and Quiñones, creating even richer sonics. Guest percussionist Jennifer Rojas also joined for a song.
The performance proved at once lively and mellow, rhythmic and smooth. Guerrero performed mostly originals, including should-be-hits, ''Now'' and ''The One.'' Each of his songs conjured up feelings with which everyone seemed to connect. Guerrero voice remained soulful and harmonious throughout, giving a sensual tone to the music, which resonates with something inside of you, something familiar, but new, something exciting, fun, and sexy but not sleazy.
In between songs, Guerrero talked with the crowd, asking questions, engaging them, creating a more intimate connection with his audience. Even during the set break, he remained personable, visiting different tables. At one point during his performance, a party of 20 or so came in for some sort of Christmas type celebration (not sure which religion), upon which Quetzal asked, ''Where are all the presents,'' and a woman in the group replied, ''I'm right here!'' In addition to the originals, Guerrero performed songs by D'Angelo, John Legend, and Bob Marley. The most memorable cover of the night was a mash up of Sade's ''Sweetest Taboo,'' and Kevin Lyttle's ''Turn Me On.'' Rather than try to slavishly recreate the hits, the trio adroitly made them their own.
Guerrero and his backing musicians made the eclectic, ambient vibe of the lounge come alive, captured our attention and left us curious for more. It sounds like there's the possibility for another datefor him at the Commonwealth Lounge next month, and I'm telling you, it's worth the drive from anywhere in the county!
Before Guerrero performance and during a break, DJ Bobby Soul spun world music along with old school soul, which complemented the headliner's output nicely.
The Crowd: At the beginning of the night, there were just scattered couples and small groups of friends. Later, perhaps five songs in, it seemed as if the audience magically tripled, and the place seemed to be nearly full. From what I heard, this auidence was larger than the last time Guerrero played here.
Overheard: ''I wasn't expecting that voice to come out of that face,'' said a guy in his mid-20s sitting close to the stage. ''I think I might be in love [with Quetzal],'' remarked a young woman in her of same age.