(Hollywood) If you have never seen Enjambre play live your life is not be complete. That is a bold statement, but this is more than just a bold group of musicians who have been rocking fans for over a decade. Enjambre is an innovative band for the 21st century built on a solid foundation of hits that make its live performances pure, unadulterated excitement.
They proved that at Hollywood’s The Roxy recently in one of the most astonishing performances I have seen in a long time. No openers, no warm-ups, no introduction – just one of the best Latin rock bands in the world delivering an incredible 19 songs and two encores over two hours of non-stop music in an intimate venue to a lucky 500 people who managed to get in.
I knew that this was going to be something special when I arrived at the club early and found that an hour and half before show time the club was almost full and there was a line. This was at 8 pm on a Tuesday night, no less. A woman standing next to me inside looked at the crowd and said to no one in particular, “they need a bigger venue”. She was right; but of course, they play in bigger venues – much bigger venues. We were just the fortunate recipients of a stop in LA and the Roxy was available.
Like most bands, Enjambre built their popularity through a circuitous route, in their case one that wound through the US and Mexico. Brothers Luis Humberto and Rafael Navejas Díaz launched the original Fantastic Four band in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico in 1996. They relocated to Santa Ana, California and in 2001 they formed Enjambre (“Swarm”) with their cousin Romeo Navejas. In 2004 they released their first album, Consuelo on Sunday, and then came back in 2008 with El Segundo es feline with Denise Gutiérra of the Mexican band Hello Seahorse. The rest is history – a history of more albums and off the charts popularity in Latin America.
The fans that crowded into The Roxy knew that history and the songs that it encompassed. More important, Humberto and Diaz understood how to electrify fans whether they were in a 10,000 seat amphitheater in Mexico or a small standing room club like The Roxy. Dramatic lighting keyed to the music, big gestures that read to the back of the hall like an opera singer playing to the balcony, electronic effects, guitar riffs and vocals that filled the room, combined with a sense of drama that built through each song, even when the entire room knew it and was singing it.
The band kicked off the night with that drama as they filtered quietly onto a dark stage and began their new release, “Y la Esperanza”, with the lights rising as the music built. From there they moved to “Celeste”, bathed in deep red light as the keyboard notes swirled over the audience and Humberto intoned Celeste Viene ya Va a nacer Cual centella. With audience completely in their hands, the band moved through sixteen songs from their albums, all favorites, all known to the audience and all accented by keyboard notes, electronic effects and guitar solos. Pure excitement.
That excitement was especially acute in songs like “Cámara de Faltas” where the band got the audience clapping and cheering before the first lyric – Son presentimientos/Rumores entre vientos, or “Tecer Tipo”, which began with the band bathed in eerie green light that cycled through the colors and ended with the houselights on, making the venue even more intimate as we could see the sea of heads and the forest of cellphones that surrounded us and the band.
The band wrapped the evening with “Sábado perpetuo” from their 2014 “Proaño album and then was called back for not one, but two encores, which they delivered, including the very popular “Elemento” from their 2013 Enjambre Los Huespuedes del orbe live album. Five years later it sounds as good as the day they first sang it….in fact every song they did from every album sounded as good as the day they first sang it. Which is one reason why the audience ranged across ages and languages – steady fans ae still in love with them and new ones can’t get enough.
Enjambre is back in Mexico with concerts lined up there from May through October. Judging from the reception they got in LA, they need to come back – and as the lady said, in a bigger venue.
Tour dates on the website.