Undeniably the toughest band name to pronounce at Bumbershoot this year – Aterciopelados (translated as “The Velvety Ones”) are one of the biggest bands to come out of Colombia. Signed to the infamous Nacional Records, their music is Latin-infused, using traditional llanera rhythms and flamenco-bolero sounds. Although relatively unknown here in the States, Aterciopelados albums have received countless Latin Grammy award nominations and brought them tons of loyal followers, an amazing feat considering their deliberate attempt to create something completely different for each album. Whether it’s traditional Latin, Punk, Hip-Hop, or electronica, Aterciopelados seem to be comfortable with embracing change. These are the surprising kinds of performances the KEXP Music Lounge is known for.
Aterciopelados front woman Andrea Echeverri came out on stage at Music Lounge and let us know they “just arrived yesterday, so we know nothing about Seattle.” It didn’t matter though and the lively Lounge audience was more than welcoming to the band’s high-spirited Latin rock. They started with the song “Rompe Cabezas” before Andrea introduced the band and strapped on her guitar, which was covered in bumper stickers, including a prominent “I Heart Tijuana” sticker serving as the pick guard. Aterciopelados’s music is highlighted by fluttering Peruvian pan flute lines and the dynamism of Echeverri. She would dance without reservation as she sang, converse with the crowd in both Spanish and English, and never failed to get everyone smiling and plugged into the vibe of whichever song they were playing. After “Rompe Cabezas” the band played “Dia Paranormal”, “El Estuche”, and “Ataque de Risa” which translates to “laugh attack” and was given a thoughtful introduction by Echeverri, who explained how the song belongs to the “rio” which can mean “river” or “laugh” and how humor and the earth are connected.
They then played “Bandera” which translates to “flag” and represents that we are all under one flag on this planet as brothers and sisters, before playing “No Llores” or “no tears.” Echeverri feigned tears and sobbing to start the song, before the flutist Marquito let go a jovial “Yeeeeaahahahah” before the band dived into one of the most upbeat and high-spirited songs of the set. After they finished Echeverri said that their time was up to which the entire Lounge let out a communal sigh of disappointment. They eventually decided to do “uno mas” and played one last rousing jam that was followed by the only standing ovation I had seen at the Music Lounge so far. Though Aterociopelados knew nothing about Seattle before today, the audience at the Music Lounge made no mistake about letting the band know they will always be welcome.