Ozomatli came through Philly last night. This time as part of a tour called Summer Haze with two other bands: Slightly Stoopid and G Love & Special Sauce. The show was outside at the Festival Pier down on Penn’s Landing. [note: parking fees down there are a racket!!] My friend AH (who I introduced to Ozo at the show in April) and her husband DS joined me. While waiting in line to be let into the venue, I was treated to the sounds of the band warming up. I got to hear “City of Angels” twice, once at a distance and once right in front of the stage!
As always, Ozo ROCKED it. Seriously, OMG and WOW! My post-show Ozo-high is still going strong (aided by my iPod and some serious at-work chair dancing, of course). They had the full band there this time, all nine current members (Jabu was absent at the April show). They all are just so much fun to watch. AH commented about how they smile the entire time they are on stage and it’s obvious that they are having so much fun up there. And the coordinated playing and dancing done by the band members is always impressive (how do Raul and Wil-Dog do that??). They only had use of about half the stage as the instruments for the other two bands were set up behind them. Unfortunately this meant that some band members were less visible than normal (Jiro, Mario, and Justin when he was on percussion). But this did not stop Ozomatli from making use of every inch of stage they had available to them. At one point Raul left the stage and leaped over security and the barrier to jam in the middle of the crowd!
The set itself was quite short, at just under an hour of Ozo time. So not enough. They could play for 4 hours and it wouldn’t be enough. I couldn’t get a copy of the set list this time (bummer!) because of the barrier in front of the stage and security between the barrier and the stage. That and the crew started breaking down the Ozo set as soon as they left the stage for the traditional “party in the crowd” to prepare for the next band so by the time Ozo was done with the end of show jam in the crowd the set was already half gone.
They mainly played songs off of the latest album Don’t Mess with the Dragon, but none of the ballads, only the faster paced higher-energy songs. They did play “After Party,” which I do believe is my favorite song on the new album, and “Can’t Stop,” which is AH’s favorite, so we were both very happy. Ozo did play some of their older stuff, including “Saturday Night” (always a favorite). In the middle of “Cumbia de los muertos” they played a medley of random non-Ozo ’80s and ’90s rock songs. And of course they ended the show with “Como Ves” before picking up their instruments and heading into the crowd. Justin played an incredible drum solo at the very very end that garnered quite the response from the surrounding crowd.
The crowd was a bit disappointing. It felt kind of like a big frat party and there didn’t appear to be very many Ozo fans in the audience. And most people weren’t even dancing! What’s up with that?? There’s something wrong with those people, I swear. Ozomatli is probably one of the most “danceable” bands out there!!
Various band members jammed with Slightly Stoopid at the end of their set, which followed Ozomatli. First Raul joined them on stage for a hard-core rock song. I’ve never seen him play like that! For the last song in Slightly Stoopid’s set, they were joined by Shef, Asdru, Uli and Justin. Last up for the evening was G Love & Special Sauce (a local Philly funk band).
My favorite things during the evening include the girl that had never seen Ozo before and is now, in the words of AH’s friend, their slave. She was beyond excited and thought the traditional end of show drumming circle/snake through the crowd was the best thing ever. And during the post-show “party in the crowd” I saw Shef grab some guys blunt while walking through the crowd and was alternating smoking and playing his trombone before passing the blunt off to someone else. Classic. The man is crazy, but we love him anyway.
Quite possibly the most disturbing part of the evening was sitting around between bands and having it proved once again that AH and I have the librarians’ curse of “information here” tattooed on our foreheads. We kept getting asked for directions. Sigh.
Photos of various concerts are here on Flickr.
Oh, and we went for dinner afterwards at Standard Tap. Yes, dinner at 10:30pm at night. This is not unusual in other parts of the world, I promise. I had the absolutely delicious “Standard Burger.” It was perfectly cooked, and includes lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, a grilled onion slice, and cheese. So very very good. And it arrived with excellent fries, liberally sprinkled with salt AND pepper. AH had the soft-shell crab sandwich, and given the amount of finger licking that occurred I’m certain she really enjoyed it! DS had the yummy squid, which is fried in a batter that also includes the “standard” salt AND pepper. We topped it off with nice cold beers. I’ll be going back there, guaranteed.
Incredible music and dancing to one of my favorite bands followed by good food…what an excellent evening! Too bad I had to work the next day. My alarm went off painfully early this morning. God willing Ozomatli’s next show in Philly will NOT be on a weeknight.