Ozuna raised the level of a first Calibash date that had no surprises
The Calibash organizers decided to shake things up for this year’s edition. The most recognized festival of the urban genre on the West Coast, which had to take a break in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned stronger than ever in 2022, through a three-day edition that featured a considerable number of artists; but, for its current celebration, the dimensions were reduced.
And it is that the event that takes place this weekend in Crypto.como Arena was reduced to two days -Saturday and Sunday- and presents fewer musical acts on each day, which, in the words of the promoter Alessandra Alarcón, director of SBS Entertainment, responds to the desire to give longer sets to the main artists of the show.
Despite continuing to have enormous popularity, Calibash has had its ups and downs over time; in 2016, he put Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber on his stage, in the midst of various Latino stars, and just two years ago, shortly before everyone had to stay home, he presented Bad Bunny, Rosalía and Karol G, a kind of perfect trinity -and apparently unrepeatable- of the genre.
In this sense, the lineup for the first night for 2023 – made up of Ozuna, Chencho Corleone, Myke Towers, Arcángel, Ivy Queen, Jhayco, Nio Garcia & BRESH – was not as attractive as could be expected, mainly because, beyond their individual qualities, none of these exponents is already (or still) at the top of the genre.
The best of the night
This even applies to Ozuna, who a few years ago was sweeping the music charts with every release he made and who has sold close to 15 million records -something that no one can take away from him-, but whose influence has diminished considerably, to the point that His own fans acknowledge on social networks that he is not at his best, beyond the invitation he received to sing during the closing ceremony of the 2022 World Cup and his recent duet with Shakira.
In any case, in the Los Angeles colossus, the Puerto Rican with Dominican descent, who was also present at Calibash 2022, showed that he can still seduce the audience with the use of the arsenal of ‘hits’ that he produced in his most glorious stage, among those who found “El farsante”, “Caramelo”, “Baila baila baila” and, of course, “Monotonía”, the song he recently did with Shakira (and whose interpretation was accompanied on the big screens by images of the Colombian star ).
To be honest, the “light-eyed black boy” -as he is also called- gave not only an incredibly competent and decidedly professional show, but also decisively raised the production level of the entire concert, not only because his voice -with echoes of Romeo Santos – was heard loud and convincing, but because the level of production of his act was clearly superior to that of the musicians who came before him, starting with the fact that he had a live band, unlike what happened with most of the other participants.
In addition, his set was the most diverse and original, because, thanks to the presence of a real drummer, he moved away from the typical denbow to show diverse rhythms while traversing terrains typical of bachata, pop and reggae.
Without a rabbit, but with many Puerto Ricans
The biggest expectation of the night was the possibility that Bad Bunny, who had been seen the day before in the same auditorium during a Lakers game, would suddenly appear on the tabladillo; and not only because the general comments on social networks predicted it, but because the festival’s entertainers, Omar Velasco and Argelia Atilano, hinted at it almost at the beginning of the evening, which began after 8:30 p.m. Some predicted that he would appear to collaborate with Ozuna or even that he would have his own set; But none of that happened.
Ozuna was preceded by the New Yorker of Dominican descent Arcángel, who, despite exhibiting extremely limited vocal skills -he even had a second permanent vocalist-, aroused the euphoria of the audience and exhibited a predilection for trap that gave him a much better identity. more street.
Before, Chencho Corleone, a former member of the successful duo Plan B, also displayed a voice without nuances that did not seem to bother the public either, the same one who chanted his performances on more than one occasion. There was no shortage of “Me porto bonito” in his repertoire, which he recorded alongside (who else?) Bad Bunny.
Myke Towers, whose formal recording career began only two years ago, and who also hails from the Isla del Encanto, wanted to prove that he has a romantic sensibility by asking attendees to turn on their cellphone flashlights when it was the turn of “Diosa ”, a piece full of flattery for a woman. She also did not leave out “Curiosity”, which she recorded with Jay Wheeler and Rauw Alejandro.
the hidden queen
Although it was not placed on primetime and had a brief participation, the highlight of the event in terms of the directly artistic plane was the intervention of Ivy Queen, undisputed pioneer of the genre, original promoter of female empowerment and only woman who took the main microphone -and any voice microphone during the Saturday session-.
The reggaeton forerunner, who released her first solo album in the mid-’90s, displayed a strength in her throat that no one else could match as she sang pieces like “Que lloren” and “Yo quiero bailar.” Despite the fact that it continues to occupy secondary positions in this class of massive festivals, it is significant that it is being given at least a place in them, unlike what happens with such relevant generational colleagues as Tego Calderón and, above all, Vico C, a whom we have never seen in Southern California.
One of the first to show up was Jhayco, whom we knew as Jhay Cortez, and who has been inserted in the gossip press for the past two years due to a romantic relationship with former porn star Mia Khalifa that seems to have ended. .
Surprisingly, in view of his relative lack of experience, he was the only artist apart from Ozuna who resorted to a live band, which gave prominence to a repertoire that alluded to “Bad Rabbit” during the performance of “DÁKITI”, the composition that Cortez himself recorded with the great absentee from the party and that became an overwhelming success worldwide.
The second day of Calibash 2023 will take place this Sunday in the same place and will present Karol G, Farruko, Becky G, Zio & Lennox, Sech, Feid and Blessd.