I gotta say the weather in NYC is just fine this year. The least oppressive New York summer of any LAMC we’ve been to. The Big Apple’s fine when it doesn’t feel like a Baked Pie.
The Conference floor looks a lot different than yesterday. A cacophony of hearty greetings and on-the-fly interviews, packed with people, and a challenge to move two feet or turn around without running into someone you know and striking up a loud energetic conversation about the music.
It could be a signature of Latin Culture but LAMC always feels different as a conference — an extended family reunion, everyone you see or meet extends a hug or a warm handshake. Truly, its sets itself apart.
Continuing the thematic reexamination of the cultural movement — 15 years of Latin Alternative — the conference opened with a Q&A moderated by NPR’s Alt. Latino hosts, Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras and a panel of large and luminary figures of the music industry — taking stock of how the identity “Latin Alternative” came to be and how it’s changed itself as it’s influence grew, beginning again with the question “What IS Latin Alternative?”
The growth of Latin Alternative along with new media is no coincidence, the panel observing that a Chilean artist like Ana Tijoux, rapping in Spanish can have a song featured in “Breaking Bad“, and drive huge numbers for downloads and listens across the country into all demographics of music listeners.
The LAMC is spread all over New York, with venues in Central Park, SoHo, and Brooklyn necessitating cab rides and train trips criss-crossing the city. In a very cool moment, a man on his regular train commute home overheard our conversation and recognized Raul, telling us he was a local New Yorker and listened to KCRW everyday.
We were on the train en route to one of our favorite events of the conference — normally held on Friday night — the LAMC Celebrate Brooklyn Showcase at Prospect Park. It was no less raucous on a Thursday.
The park is fantastic, the entire Brooklyn venue staff is incredibly friendly, and the crowd jubilant, always dancing and full of energy. As RVSB (DJs Raff and Bitman out of Chile) opened the show, some distinguished women with walkers were jammin’ up and down the aisles to their set. Nuthin’ like Brooklyn.
The crowd really had their arms in the air and feet off the ground to the Afro-Colombian Hip-Hop and Funk group Choc Quib Town.
The park was filled by the start of their set and hundreds of fists pumped to the sky their awesome high-energy performance.
The front of the audience suddenly grew compressed with screaming young women once the headlining act, the Argentinian Hip-Hop and Rock duo Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas took the stage.
It was a fantastic evening with lots of dancing and conversation with friends old and new.
It had been a full day and, with an even crazier one tomorrow, we opted to head back to the hotel and call it an evening, catching the train outta Brooklyn sometime after 12:30am — a very early night when you’re at LAMC.
– Brent Gordon