Live at Venice West

April 27, 2023, Review by Jason Roberts
Ozomatli closed out their April residency at Venice West in Venice Beach with a sold-out show featuring several surprises. The band has been celebrating the recent release of their album “Marching On.”

After more than 25 years in the music industry, their core six-person lineup remains original. The legendary Los Angeles band features Asdru Sierra (lead vocals, trumpet), Raul Pacheco (lead vocals, guitar), Willy “Wil-Dog” Abers (bass), Justin Poree (percussion), Ulises Bella (horns, guitar), and Jiro Yamaguchi (drums).
In their longstanding career, they have picked up two Latin Grammys, toured the globe, and garnered fans worldwide. “Marching On” displays their variety of musical styles, all of which are guaranteed to get you dancing.
For the final performance of their residency, they kicked off their set with “City of Angels,” followed by high-energy songs “Gallina” and “Chango,” which got many in the room onto the dance floor.

A special guest singer named Jabu came out for their next song, “Sat Night,” which featured a mix of funk band One Way’s hit song “Cutie Pie” intertwined into the chorus.

Another special guest singer, this time named Nancy, came on to sing a more melodic song called “Alma.”

Ozomatli addressed the crowd, saying, “One of the fun things [about shows] is getting to perform with a bunch of your friends and other great musicians.” They continued, “When we first started playing 28 years ago, we all came from different bands and knew each other, but we decided to get together and just started playing music we like. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us tonight.”
Their next guest was a gentleman named Paul who wowed on the sitar performing “Ya Viene.” Once again Ozomatli spoke to fans, explaining, “We traveled all over the world together and performed in over 60 countries. One time we got to go to North Africa and the Middle East, and what we got back are Paul and their sitar guitar.
Another surprise guest, this one named Rocky, immediately brought the tempo in the room back up with “Soul Makossa,” and the Bob Marley hit “Get Up Stand Up.” Rocky continued his guest appearance with Ozomatli by doing a special tribute to music and film legend Harry Belafonte by performing his hit song, “Jump in the Line.”

Ozomatli finished their set the same way they started – with their core members and high-energy songs. “Temperatura,” “Paleta,” and “Como” had the audience chanting “Ozomatli!” over and over again. During the band’s last song, they moved off the stage and into the center of the crowd, playing their instruments to the fans’ delight!

You can catch Ozomatli this Saturday in San Diego at Epstein Family Amphitheater, or take the trip up north to Cali Roots in Monterey on May 27th.


by Robert Hale Images



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