Monte Negro Concert Review 08/12/2008

Monte Negro, Circo Rocktastico Tour 2008 @ Modified Arts, Phoenix-AZ.

We were extremely skeptical of the MTV Tr3s project a few years ago when it was announced; it has proved to be not as bad after all. An idea catapulted after the reggaeton phenomenon, so we expected a music channel with eyes shut down at the alternative scene. There is a long way to go, but at least we have a space that showcases Latin rock in the broadcast channel that is surprisingly available on regular broadcast television. MTV tr3s was one of this year’s most important supporters of the LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference) at least financially; too bad they cancelled their show INDIE 101 to cover it. Monte Negro is one of the new acts the channel has been extensively showcasing, along with The Dey and Pacha Massive. They all belong to an emerging generation of English-speaking artists getting their message through Spanish, English or Spanglish, with artists like JD Natasha and Alejandra Alberti also enjoying the attention. Monte Negro is currently the headliner of the Rockstatico Tour organized by MTV Tr3s in more than 30 cities of the U.S.

The Latin alternative scene in Phoenix is taking baby steps when it comes to solidifying a profitable audience. At least that’s what the 25 people number tells us, or it might just be that the concert last night had zero promotion in all media. The opener band was a notable discovery, the also L.A-based band Astra Heights. In fact, they were a tough act to follow and they were indeed the better band of the night. When a virtually unknown band steals the show from the band you went to see it means you’re pushed into a juxtaposing situation, where you wish to have the power to put an order on the concert lineup. They were followed by The May Fire, yet another interesting band that added to the overrated expectations we had for the leading band.

Montenegro kicked off their performance with the song “Me Duele No Estar Junto A Ti”, the song that made them popular early this year when they were featured on the –Descubre and Download- segment of MTV Tr3s. The music was accurately executed, but the vocals were quite hard to swallow. It appears that they have over tuned the vocals with synthesizers; the outcome can’t be less than disappointing. But as the concert went on with the next songs it turned into a much more enjoyable night because of the vocalist’s explosive visual performance. As usual with any new band they performed a cover, they chose “La Negra Tomasa” made popular by Jaguares. The most celebrated song of the night was indeed their new single “Give Me Love (No Llores)” which is currently playing everywhere as it is offered for free on MTV and iTunes. It was followed by new songs from their first LP album Cicatrix, which includes the closing and best track by the band, “Arde El Corazon.” There’s nothing else to do but to keep on eye on the promising band. Here is hoping someone gives them some guidance on the overall sound system and especially hope for the vocals to at least be shallow.

Next concert in Phoenix:
August 30, 2008
Tío Leo’s Cantina