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Live Reviews

LAMC: The Mexican Institute of Sound/Calle 13
August 5, 2006

By Ernest Barteldes
Central Park Summerstage
New York

Saturday in Central Park opened with The Mexican Institute of Sound, who showcased material from their début album, "Mexico Magico".  Backed by DJ Oliver Castro, frontman Camilo Lara did the best that he could to move the crowd, handling the beats manually, frantically running across the stage and singing along to their loops. Unfortunately, their set – which would do fine in a dance club setting, failed to impress the sweaty crowd – some danced, but by the time they ended the set with loops from Roberto Carlos' "Amigo", the audience was ready for something else,


This writer expected crassness from Puerto Rico's Calle 13, given the limitations of the reggaeton phenom. What the audience got, instead, was a live show that went way beyond expectations. They did not only do their regular brand what many call the "Latin response to hip-hop", but also mixed in samba-like beats and kept a rock and roll edge into their songs.


They delivered a very high-energy set that kept the audience moving, even when the whole electronic-meets-acoustic thing got  (musically speaking) a bit tired at the end.


The members of Calle 13 should consider a live album some time in the future ---- it would be a welcome experience to hear them that way on disc. Their studio album does not do justice to the energy that they display on stage.