A Groovy Night of Romantic Melodies with Leon Larregui
This past Friday night I had the opportunity to attend Zoe front man, Leon Larregui's concert here at El Foro in Tijuana presenting his premier solo album: "Solstis". When I arrived, the venue was crawling with fans on the outdoor patio; I could only imagine how full it'd be inside. I had arrived a bit late due to the commute I made from North San Diego County to Tijuana and the traffic implicated. When I arrived, the opening act, Mexicali native Juan Cirerol, was already on stage warming up the audience with his rockabilly and corridos.
As I walk inside I'm astonished to see every single seat occupied and the floor section (which was standing) tightly compacted and just as full. I'm amazed to see how many followers Leon Larregui has accumulated these past years. I honestly can't say that all of Zoe's fans have followed Leon in this new and unprecedented journey, but, I can say that a large percentage of them have. We walk over to the right side of the floor to obtain a better view Juan who is doing a great job at getting the public ready for a night of sexy music.
It's around 9:30 and the stage is ready for the main event to begin. Fans are screaming with excitement and anticipation; I'm amazed to see how wide the age range with Larregui's fans is: teenage girls' screams pierce your ears while women in their 30's jump around with excitement. I myself, being a loyal Zoe fan, am pretty excited but surprisingly, not screaming (for the first time in my life). Since I'm standing next to the backstage entrance, I have a clear view of what is going on behind the curtain; I see Leon ready to go on stage.
The Solstis gang mounts the stage one by one; each time the intensity of the crowd grows more and more. Leon steps on stage; he's dressed in dark jeans and a black long sleeve shirt. El Foro goes wild, I can't even hear myself think with every one's cheering. But I'm not complaining, the feeling is actually quite pleasant. The drums kick off the night to the beat of the first track on the album, Aurora Boreal. The sound is exceptional; the smooth bass line crawls inside you through each one of your pores. Leon's voice is hypnotizing, the chorus takes you to another planet.
Next comes one of my favorites: Carmin. The haunting bass intro and signature 70's guitar rythyms move the group to dance along willing and unwillingly. Next is Perdonar; I see fans pulling out lighters and waving their hands in unison with the sweet vocals that make this song so catchy. The sorrowful Souvenir follows afterwards while the mass chants at the top of their longs the chorus. Good thing the heartbreak songs didn't continue or else I would have started to cry! Brillas one of the most popular songs of the album begins and all the women in the venue begin to scream uncontrollably.
Leon picks up his red Rickenbacker guitar and the up optimistic Resistolux starts off; "Tu sabes que hacer, tu sabes que hacer por un mundo mejor," sings Leon as his admirers jump up and down in glee. The somber mood returns with the mythical piano chords as they diminish in pitch with Perdida Total. Larregui surprises us with the announcement chat he will be premiering the music video for the last track on the album tonight , Resguardum Ether, on the back screen as they perform.
Femme Fatal brings on the groovy bass lines that make this album stand out so much. When Leon announces that they're about to play their last song of the night the crowd screams "no!" in disapproval. "well, the album is ten songs, if you want we can repeat it all?" Leon says with a smile. The audience cheers in approval. The upbeat guitar rhythm of the first single of the album "Como Tu" begins and the room shakes uncontrollably along with crowd. This was perhaps the song that most were waiting for and definitely perfect to end the set.
Or so I thought... after Leon and company step off the stage the audience begins chanting "encore!" in unison. The lights are still off and there is no sign of the instruments being put away, so that's a great sign. A few minutes later, Leon steps back on stage and the multitude of people cheer. Leon tells us a bit about the song he's about to play; it's a cover of a track that he used to sing a lot when he was a child. The acoustic guitar begins; Leon's harmonious voice begins reciting Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine. Larregui makes the song his when all the electric instruments come in, captivating effects the musical arrangements for this cover are beyond fascinating. The last song of the night is an encore of Brillas and the crowd, ecstatic sings along. Leon thanks the public one last time and all the Solstis tour musicians join him center stage to take a bow for Tijuana.
Amazing concert, very different than Zoe concerts (which are equally as amazing). This album which is sort of a tribute to 70's music left me and everyone in the audience more than satisfied. Also, for those of you who are familiar with Zoe and their live shows, at the Solstis gig, Leon seemed like a different man. He smiled more times in this one show than in all the Zoe shows I've assisted to. I'm glad he's doing this side project, besides being great material, I feel like he's having the time of his life as well. I can honestly say that the show surpassed my expectations; I was so used to Zoe I thought this wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. But boy was I wrong! Leon Larregui is definitely a gifted musician and singer; blows my mind every time.