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Pop Music Review

Cadillacs Prove Top-of-the-Line

April 30, 1998|ERNESTO LECHNER

In its first Los Angeles appearance since winning the Grammy for best rock en espan~ol performance in February, Fabulosos Cadillacs demonstrated on Tuesday at the Universal Amphitheatre that they are right at the top of the genre, challenged only by Mexico's Cafe Tacuba.

"Fabulosos Calavera," the band's latest album that won it the Grammy, could be considered the "Sgt. Pepper" of the rock en espan~ol movement. On stage, the Argentine octet re-created the whimsical sonic pastiche that makes up that record, a darkly humorous meditation on death as seen through Latin American folklore.

Lead singer Vicentico was in rare form, showering the audience with his usual deadpan nonsense but still serious enough to offer shattering performances of the gorgeous "Saco Azul" and "Estrella de Mar." When performing the "Calavera" tunes, he would contort his body as if pierced by a beam of deadly light.

The tragic spirit of tango was a constant presence in the show, not only through Vicentico's vocal delivery, but also because of bassist Flavio Cianciarulo's tune "Piazzolla," a dramatic tour de force dedicated to the late tango legend Astor Piazzolla.

The concert's best moments reflected the influence of hard-core in the band's style. Just as in much of post-punk pop, chunks of blinding beauty could be found randomly in the midst of the relentless sonic mayhem.

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