Café Tacvba and the LA Phil find the sweet spot between Latin rock and orchestral elegance – Los Angeles Times

Café Tacvba has zigged and zagged along the fringes of Latin rock for so long that it’s astonishing to think there’s any new territory to explore. Since the early 1990s, the pioneering Mexican band’s music has mashed up everything from punk, electronica, folk and funk to salsa, cumbia and just about every other Latin rhythm. And that’s often on one album.

Sunday night revealed a whole new layer of Café Tacvba after 25 years of twists and turns. In the stately confines of Walt Disney Concert Hall, the six-piece held court with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with conductor Gustavo Dudamel at his usual perch. As part of the L.A. Phil’s CDMX Festival, a celebration of music from Mexico City, in conjunction with the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA series, the performance marked the band’s debut collaboration with an orchestra.

They were an odd couple, the kind you’d invite over for dinner but secretly worry about how the conversation would go down. Where the L.A. Phil is sophisticated and precise, Tacvba (pronounced Ta-COO-ba) is usually brash and unbridled, with one of rock’s great mad scientists on the mike, Rubén Albarrán. And yet somehow the pairing worked. Mostly.

Dudamel led the orchestra in an opening set of vivid danzones — imagine tango by way of Bernard Herrmann’s suspenseful scores for Hitchcock — by the contemporary Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, who took a bow at the end of the performance amid rapturous applause.