It's impossible to be present at the birth of a star — the celestial version, that is — but I feel as if I was around for the birth of Bomba Estereo. I don't mean I was there at bassist Simon Mejia and singer Liliana Samet's first meeting. But I caught the band at SXSW, the massive music fest in Austin, Texas, in 2010, just after the U.S. release of their fiery Estalla/Blow Up. Their performance reflected the energy, enthusiasm and confidence of a band finding its voice on stage.
A year later, their live show is a celebration of their successes so far. The duo conducts singalongs to the most popular tracks from the album; the crowd cheerfully receives new songs and directions. The band is looking inward, refining its identity and appearing to ask more of itself than its fans.
Standing at the bar at their recent performance at the Black Cat here in Washington, D.C., looking at both the band and their fans, I was reminded of my experience at Grateful Dead shows: long, jam-like song sequences that never failed to get the fans dancing.
Like all great live bands, the intensity of Bomba's performance survives the transition from recording to stage. Listen for yourself and be part of the continued evolution of a band we feel is destined to be a star here on Earth.