When I heard that Bomba Estereo would be doing an instore performance at Amoeba, I didn’t know what to think. A few years ago, I heard their song “Huepajé” on a Nacional Records compilation and I dug it. Almost every time I played that song in the clubs, someone asked me about the song. I was anticipating their album Blow Up when it came out, only to be slightly disappointed by the somewhat sterile sound of it. I felt it was an adequate album, but not the one I was expecting. Perhaps their Electro-Tropical hybrid worked better as a single than a whole album. Soon after the album was released, I was getting reports from wherever Bomba Estereo played, from folks in Texas to a good friend in Tokyo, that this band live was not to be missed. It was only now that they got to make their way to Los Angeles. I hoped my friends were right.
The audience waiting for the show was small before the band went on. It was mostly your Latin Alternative enthusiasts and curious NPR types. Later, just before Bomba Estereo went on and during their set, the late-arriving Colombian nationals started trickling in, some decked out in yellow, blue and red, the colors of the Colombian flag. I saw a few gentlemen sporting the traditional Sombrero Vueltiao, the traditional hat of Colombia commonly worn by Cumbia and Vallenato musicians. I even saw a woman that was a complete Shakira knock-off in the front row, I kid you not! So when Bomba Estereo hit the stage and started the first song with the thud of conga synonymous with Cumbia, the audience was up and dancing.