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Driving on from Cadillacs

Vicentico's new solo effort builds on Los Fabulosos Cadillacs' success but sweetens it with heart and soul.

May 07, 2003|Ernesto Lechner | Special to The Times

Leaving the snug security of a successful group in favor of an artistically ambitious solo career is rarely easy. Just ask Vicentico, former singer with pioneering rock en espanol outfit Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

Last year, the Argentine band performed in front of thousands at a sold-out Universal Amphitheatre. With the group now on an indefinite hiatus, Vicentico came to town Monday with a new band and excellent solo material, and a few hundred people showed up at a half-empty Knitting Factory in Hollywood.

Not that the singer's self-titled debut album lacks commercial potential. In fact, it picks up exactly where the Cadillacs' last studio effort, 1999's memorable "La Marcha del Golazo Solitario," left off.

Think of Vicentico as an old-fashioned crooner, favoring a more contemplative version of the group's trademark fusion of percolating batucada beats, tango bitterness and tropical revelry.

Accompanied by nine superlative instrumentalists, including a five-piece percussion section fronted by former Los Piojos drummer Daniel Buira, Vicentico offered soulful renditions of the new tunes, capturing both the mambo fury of "Se Despierta La Ciudad" and the wistful loveliness of "Vamos."

When it came time to satisfy hard-core Cadillacs fans, Vicentico took a creative approach, delivering pared-down versions of the oldies "Padre Nuestro" and "Basta de Llamarme Asi," as well as a particularly impassioned reading of the paranoid apocalyptic rocker "Saco Azul." But it was the new tunes that stood out, commanding attention with their sophisticated arrangements and emotional immediacy.

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