Ana Tijoux and Zuzuka Poderosa - Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park - 8/11/11
Better than ...the ol' boys club
The lady rappers who owned MacArthur Park's outdoor stage last night popped thick, multilingual rhymes at the mic -- all the while, we must point out, rocking some impressively rad leggings. In back-to-back sets, Brazilian-born Brooklyner Zuzuka Poderosa (in animal print) and Chilena Ana Tijoux (in dizzying geometric) launched the park's playful kids-soccer-filled afternoon into a thumping nighttime frolic.
It took mere minutes for Zuzuka to get the 1,000-plus crowd -- cozily seated on picnic blankets and soft grass, polishing off some Mama's Hot Tamales -- up on their feet. Uniformed kids in shin-guards and cleats stepped aside as peeps got light on their feet and Zuzuka's tank-topped-hat-cocked DJ whined: "I'm going, going back, back to Rio, Rio."
Tijoux took the stage to sirens (her DJ's handiwork, not the cops') and instantly captivated, her charms seeming to work just as much on her bandmates as they did on the crowd. Jazzy keys player Andres Celis had a look of sheepish enchantment whenever he caught Tijoux's eyes, and drummer Abraham Yussef's thin arms seemed about ready to fly off as a giant smile overtook his face. It almost looked like his kit was pounding back.
Giovanni Solis Zuzuka Poderosa
A couple of times Tijoux channeled something that we felt like we'd heard before. When, during "Un Día Cualquiera," a bright electro-piano phrase duetted with Tijoux's throaty words, it recalled Eve's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind." And later, when she asked the crowd "How many people is in love?" as a lead-in to "Problema de 2," it seemed to be an homage to Lauryn Hill.
But her encore "1977" -- which rolls off the tongue so softly sing-songy in Spanish: "mil novecientos noventa y ... pshh" -- was all Tijoux. In a nice display of gratitude, Tijoux returned to stage with a video camera in one hand and mic in the other. During the final song she turned her lens on the audience, noting, "If I didn't do this, my grandmother would not believe." Then, into the camera: "Abuelita, mira." Right on cue, the chick behind us screamed, "What up, Gramma!" and everyone's hands went up.
Personal bias: This reviewer has always pronounced Ana's surname "Tee-ju," but the announcer introduced her as "Anita Tee-HO" -- which is it?
Giovanni Solis Ana Tijoux, DJ Dacel
The crowd: Profesh ladies in cardigans, babies, bikers, dogs, hoody dudes ever-maintaining one flat hand in the air.
Random notebook dump: In the waning daylight of Zuzuka's set, we spotted some bizarre-o dancers -- you know, the kind that only show up at the outdoor shows? This included, but was not limited to: a skinny, old dude in acid-washed jeans and a poofy vest doing the robot; a long-haired hippie in all white (down to his chunky sneaks!) swaying; and a biker in running shoes doing a shoulder-shimmy.
And just so ya know: Tijoux's "1977" is going to be featured in this week's episode of Breaking Bad. Sweet.
Set list below