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El Guincho @ The Echo, 11/20

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When Pablo Díaz-Reixa, or El Guincho, took the stage at the Echo last Thursday and asked the crowd "¿Habláis español?" he was answered with an enthusiastic "¡Sí!" I cursed myself for the umpteenth time for taking French in high school. So, if you're looking for an in-depth analysis of El Guincho's lyrical prowess or perhaps a recount of his witty repertoire with the crowd (I know it was witty because everybody laughed every time he spoke), you won't find it here. Sorry. I will work on it.

The Echo was packed for the Spanish pop experimenter on Thursday night in support of his new album Alegranza! The prospect of facing a full house seemed a little daunting to the young Spaniard as he shyly took the stage. Accompanied by his friend, Aleix Clavero, on the electric steel drums, Pablo launched into the first song, and it was clear that his nerves had evaporated. El Guincho live is a stripped down version of his recordings. This makes his songs more focused and less spastic. There is no random clapping or additional horns, just the simple melody and a beat that gets your hips shaking.

Like Greg Gillis of Girl Talk fame, Pablo Díaz-Reixa has the unique ability to get a crowd to dance, no matter how self-conscious they are. When you can get the hipster crowd at the Echo to get down, you've truly accomplished something. His tropical, afro-beat-inspired sound conjures up images of beach parties or exotic getaways-- so much so that members of the crowd formed a conga line.

The audience's demand for an encore seemed to genuinely surprise El Guincho. "We have no more songs," Pablo apologized to the crowd. Unprepared, they launched into Palmitos Park again. Not that the crowd minded in the slightest. These kids just wanted to dance. It didn't matter to what. It was at this point a young drunk woman got on stage and did her best to shimmy to the music (see photo below). A sheepish looking security guard attempted to usher off the stage, but the young lady was not to be deterred. I was half hoping that he would hoist her over his shoulder and carry her off fireman-style. Sadly, this didn't happen. Instead she was eventually grabbed and taken off the stage. To me this seem to speak volumes about what kind of show this was. It was a joyful dance party sure, but there was no room for show offs. We danced as one mass not as individuals. Like a giant bowl of hipster flavored jello with tropical fruit toppings.

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Want to know what El Guincho thought of LA? Read it here on his blog.

Photos were taken by the lovely and talented Leslie Kalohi.