Ozomatli and Galactic at McDowell Mountain Music Festival, 4/13/12
See also: A Look at the Creamy Radio Stage at McDowell Mountain Music Festival
Photos by Anthony Sandoval Galactic Horns
See also: Galactic's Robert Mercurio on Carnivale Electricos
McDowell Mountain Music Festival
Outside of The Compound Grill
Friday, April 13, 2012
Dark ominous clouds, chilly 70-degree weather, and one of the most superstitious days of the year couldn't keep music lovers away from the McDowell Mountain Music Festival kickoff last night in northern Phoenix.
The outdoor music festival spans three days and features 15 bands from an array of genres brought together to benefit the Phoenix Children's Hospital and Ear Candy, the Phoenix-based charity dedicated to providing community youths with access to music education. Day one of this year's event got started with the funky sounds of Los Angeles-based urban Latino fusion band Ozomatli, New Orleans-based jazz ensemble Galactic and improvisational jam band, Endoplasmic.
Hundreds of tie-dye wearing, pony-tailed concertgoers trampled the bumpy sod setup just outside of The Compound Grill as they enjoyed the beer booths, food tent, and vendors organized around the temporary stage.
Endoplasmic began the festivities at around 5 p.m. while crowds situated their lawn chairs and laid out blankets across the grass. Ozomatli took the stage shortly after 6:30, prompting fans to crowd the stage once the party started. Right off the bat they introduced the uninitiated to their mashup up of salsa, cumbia and hip-hop with the horn heavy "Chango" and hometown-inspired "City of Angels."
The hour-and-a-half-long set was full of tracks off of their 1998 self-titled debut, which infected people with the urge to boogie down. The high energy and unique blend of cultural influences let everyone conjure up their own weird movements when they weren't jumping up and down at the band's request.
The seven-piece group worked the stage effectively, choosing to stay in motion and chatting up the audience between songs. "I got this thing right here, called a trumpet, and I'm not afraid to use it," Asdru Sierra warned before leading an impromptu scat-off. "Oh my God, there's a jazz community in this town. Where are we, Cleveland?"
Another highlight came when the band launched into a banda beat cover of "Just Can't Get Enough." As the group pointed out, if you're a Chicano you probably have a strong fascination with Depeche Mode and Morrissey (Guilty on both accounts).
The set ended with the whistle-driven carnivalesque jam, "Como Ves" while the group invited kids in the crowd up to the stage to help out with percussion.
The band ended in their traditional way chanting, O-zo-mat-li ya se fue, as they loaded up on hand-held percussion instruments and snaked their way into the crowd keeping the rhythm and dancing going, acoustic-style.