Ozomatli is a fixture in the L.A. scene reflecting the cultural mix of the city. Their MySpace page lists the sound as “Hip Hop/Latin” but there’s also reggae, jazz, salsa and funk influences found in their songs. The band comprises a fluid group of musicians that met through the Peace and Justice Center in the city, who embrace disparate genres of music to promote cooperation between cultures. They are currently on tour promoting their fifth release, Fire Away, and it was an instant party at New York’s Irving Plaza from the very first song, “Dos Cosa Ciertas” which translates into two certain things. (See video from the opener for evidence.)
The crowd was eager to join in various dance moves and call backs – “I say Ozo, you say Matli”—as instructed. Show highlights included the rapping “Saturday Night”, a call to shake it for “Can’t Stop” and the mellower “After Party”, when people of the world were asked to join in a classic love song. For the finale the band marched into the audience with only horns and percussion for a medley in the middle of the floor, playing “The Hokey Pokey” and Depeche Mode’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough”. The group then started a traditional brass band parade, snaking through the crowd as others joined in second lining until everyone went right out the exit.