Put On Your Dancing Shoes

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

The challenge at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz this weekend will be to stay in your seat, as the club presents a weekend of Latin Dance music. Saturday and Sunday nights each feature a double bill of bands from the Bay Area and beyond.

Saturday’s line-up features the B-Side Players and Carne Cruda.  The B-Side Players are firm favorites at Moe’s Alley, having played there several times in the past couple of years.  The band was formed in 1993 in Chula Vista by Karlos Paez, the son of the leader of a popular Mexican band, Los Moonlighters.  The band started out playing punk, but Paez and his friends soon found themselves leaning towards a more Latin sound.  The B-Side Players have toured all over the US and Mexico, and have shared the stage with acts such as Ben Harper, Poncho Sanchez and Ozomatli.

Carne Cruda hails from the Bay Area and features a local legend, guitarist and tresoro Camilo Landau.  Landau was taught to play guitar and tres at age 12 by his uncle.  By age sixteen, he had performed on stage with Carlos Santana.  He has studied music in both the US and Nicaragua, and plays with several local bands.  Carne Cruda plays Latin and Caribbean music with socially conscious themes, and is dedicated to “Carne Cruda is founded on principles of great justice and world peace through the love of the magical fruit, the banana.”

On Sunday, Asbury Park, NJ band deSol will play its blend of hard rock, Latin soul and urban beats.  This seven-piece band features electric guitars, keyboards and kit drums alongside two percussionists playing traditional Latin instruments such as congas and timbales.  The songs are performed in English, Spanish and “Spanglish,” reflecting the Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Peruvian and Portuguese heritage of the members.  DeSol’s single “Karma” has caused quite a stir nationally; in July, it was noted by Billboard magazine as having the most increased airplay for the week of any charting artist, ahead of top rock band U2.

Rounding out the line-up on Sunday is the Universal Quartet, an acoustic side-project of popular Afro-Latin big band Universal Language.  The Universal quartet is led by trilingual vocalist, guitarist and tresoro Moshe Vilozny and features Universal Language members Renzo Staiano on charango, tres and guitar, Ethan Sanchez on upright bass and Pacha Alvarez on cajon, congas and percussion.  The band will be playing rearranged versions of Universal Language songs as well as new material.  Universal Language released its debut studio album, “¡Revolucion!” in January of this year, so expect to hear some tracks from this album on Sunday.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, August 25, 2005

Back to Articles List