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Dispatches From Arma…

Where a certain fiancé, George, of a certain reluctant blogger, mois, was served a virgin mojito when she ordered a double, and sipped it, annoyed as we listened to strange Cuban-Australian fusion and waited for Los Pinguos to take the stage.

We’d heard good things about Los Pinguos, and caught a sliver of their set at Potato Head last weekend, so we were pretty excited to get a full dose of the Argentinean heirs to the Gypsy Kings’ throne. That’s a compliment, by the way. And if you say you don’t like the Gypsy Kings, y’alls some lying motherfuckers. Come on, who doesn’t love Hotel California en espanol. Does The Big Lebowski mean nothing to you?

Plus, these guys were self-made street hustlers. They grouped up in BA, came to LA, busked on the Third Street Promenade where they got discovered by a Hollywood producer who booked them on some low rent reality talent search type show that nobody saw, and they won that shit. If only they waited for Simon Cowell’s show. They’d be competing for US$5 million! Instead, they were playing BSF (don’t mention this to them. They might cry).

I was also excited for another reason. See, it’s a certain passion of mine to strategically scream Spanish type screams (you know, like brrrrillllllaaaaaaahhhhh) and send echoes of said screams rippling through un-Latin crowds. George knew this about me. She’d seen it done. I warned her of my plan.

“Don’t do that,” she said. “Its really embarrassing.” Oh the simple times when everything I did was attractive

Soon, the boys took the stage in the form of two acoustic guitarists, an electric bassist and a percussionist who looked about ten years older than the others and had a certain Rob Schneider sneer to him.

They jacked in. The mic squealed its retort and they were off, into a sweet swaying, tropical Latin groove. Suddenly the crowd, which was perfectly stationary for the laborious Hip Hop trio from Jakarta and the proceeding Cuban dance group, was moving in waves. There were old men doing the squat bounce, poopy pants two step, younger white women who were moving and grooving like African voodoo queens (or so they thought), there were Javanese couples in cowboy hats doing a salsa spin, and there were the rest of us just trying to stay upright and not make jerks of ourselves. (Embarrassing side note: I was once caught on video dancing to Thriller at my brother’s wedding. It wasn’t pretty).

Energy really started to move when they launched into a cover of Manu Chao’s Clandestino, followed by the Bee Gee’s Staying Alive (how very GK of them). But, unlike the GK’s, they didn’t take themselves remotely seriously. Especially Schneider, who mugged and preened as he pounded away on his congas and timbales and shook his shaker thing violently.

A sultry she-fiddler joined them for a tune and there were harmonica accents. What were the names of their songs? I wouldn’t know because they speak Spanish too fast for me. Plus, there was a smoke machine, and that’s always distracting. Besides, what does it matter? It sounded sexy as hell, or maybe I’m saying that because George was rubbing my hands on her perfect ass the whole time.

The point is that Ubud doesn’t get acts like this too often, and judging by the bass man, who stopped midstream to take a snap of the crowd with his point and shoot, this kind of thing don’t happen to Los Pinguos much either. Cue wild Spanish-type screams!

Written by : Adam Skolnick


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