Last night my friends and I ended up standing in line for over an hour round back behind the Transit Lounge in an attempt to get inside and hear Suenalo record their live album. We stood hunched and hugging ourselves in the cold that’s descended on Miami, but we didn’t care. It was a free concert, the Transit Lounge is an awesome dive bar, and the music, my friends assured me, was awesome.
When we finally got inside, the band was between sets. The Lounge wasn’t absolutely packed–the bouncer was doing a good job of keeping the place chill–and we bebopped with our hands in our pockets to canned music till the group took the stage once more.
There’s about twelve guys in the band. The singer is a honey voiced, easy smiling rounded shouldered young Hispanic dude with the kind of natural charisma that charms grandmothers, while the two dudes on sax and trumpet looked like spacefaring golf caddies from the ’60’s. The crowd kept me from seeing the left side of the stage, but two other guys were in sight, both guitarists, one heavyset and with a small face that was nearly doubled in size by his large white goatee, the other a lanky young man with crinkly black hair falling down about his face, a cigarette a permanent fixture in the corner of his mouth and the air of somebody completely oblivious to the world around him. As the music swept up and launched and everybody went crazy, purple laser light would illuminate a halo behind this guitarist’s head, his cigarette smoking curling and whorling about him turned into neon scrawls by the laser, and it was awesome.
At one point the trumpet dude pulled out a conch, and began to play melancholic fluting noises into the mike, his fingers diving in and out of the shell’s valve so as to alternate the pitch. Then he switched it up, used a larger conch, the sound growing broader, deeper, and finally he put both to his mouth, each hand modulating the valves, and it sounded like ghost trains calling to each other as they crossed the moors. Incredible.
The music–how to describe it? Sort of an afrorock, a tidal wave of noise that made you just want to dance. A couple were moving in front of us, dancing with such frenetic dexterity and skill that I watched them almost as much as I did the band–the girl looked like she was made of India rubber, had joints up and down the length of her legs, and man could she move.
We finally spilled out of the Lounge around 3.30am, just as the band was starting their third set, and one thing’s for sure is that I’m going to hunt down a copy of this live album of theirs. Go to their MySpace page and check out their sound–in the words of Handsome Boy Modelling School, you won’t be sorry for long.