By: Patrick O’Heffernan
Mitre’s performance at the Gypset Concert upstairs at Los Globos in Silverlake, Los Angeles, Friday night, was smoother and bit more polished than his introduction to the LA music scene at a BMI-sponsored CD Release party at the Gibson Showroom last December. He co-headlined the evening with Rana SantaCruz; the opening acts included Iliza Rosario and Sharin. Mitre’s flair for fusion fission – the blending the color and form of traditional Mexican music with modern rock and pop instrumentation and sensibilities was on full display from Los Globos’s stage, thrilling the hip bi-lingual audience that makes the Gypset Magazine’s music events so interesting.
Introduced by sets from Sharin and Ilza Rosario, who joined Mitre on stage during his set, Mitre also continued his custom of collaborating with other singers, alternating leads and backup vocals with his guest singers. He was also joined by Alih Jey and Ximena Muñoz, who brought different colors to the rainbow that Mitre conjured from the stage with eight songs from his Lloro and Mitre EP’s and new songs, at least to me.
As always, Mitre’s audience was welcomed by the La Calavera Catrina , played by Hugo Melendez. Caterina, known as the “Dapper Devil” and derived from a 1910 zinc etching by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, is an icon in the Día de los Muertos celebration in Mexican communities and a regular in Mitre’s live shows.
As Caterina moved from musician to musician on the stage, Mitre opened with his familiar “Lloro” pop anthem with a Mexican cadence and high-pitched, almost anguished vocals. For the many people in the audience who knew Mitre, this was home, the soaring lyrics with the emotional impact of a death in the family. He followed up with the higher tempo “Aquacero” and “Katerina” and then dove into the powerful “Depredor”, from his the Mitre EP. The Mexican cadence combined with his and his collaborator’s voice, made the live version every bit as powerful as the studio recording. Unfortunately, the Los Globos speaker system did not have the range to handle Mitre and the song was tainted by some low end resonance.
With “Salto Sin Red”, Mitre moved into a lusher, more anthemic pop territory with a slow-moving bass-beat that supported Mitre’s astonishing voice. But the reverie did not last long as Mitre hit us with the right-between-the-eyes Latino-Gringo pop song “Bulletproof”, followed by the beautifully sad “Casi Un Recuerdo” and finished the set with the spooky “Demons”.
Band members Josh Sonntag (guitar) and Gloria Estrada (bass and melodica) more than made up for the lack of a drum in the night’s performance. In fact, they added so much energy, a drum kit would have been over the top, although it fit in perfectly in other shows.
One of the most gracious artists I know in the LA music scene, Mitre thanked his audience, his band members and guest singers, and Gypset for its production and support, not only for him but for emerging artists in its events throughout the city. As I have said elsewhere, Mitre is representative of a new generation of Latin artists for whom language and culture are colors on a palette, not barriers to popularity. Luminous talent, sparkling creativity, and strategic collaborations demonstrated why Mitre’s fusion fission is making him an icon of that generation.
Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, Music Friday Live!
Mitre’s music is available on iTunes and Soundcloud