The clock on the wall at Trees in Deep Ellum may have been off by more than an hour, but everything happened right on time on a recent Thursday night in Dallas. After an eclectic disc jockey set that shifted from Bob Marley tunes into 1990s house music, Los Amigos Invisibles turned the club into quite the syncretic party.
Los Amigos Invisibles didn’t begin its set with a bang; rather, the New York-based Venezuelan funk and disco act began in darkness with a simple hand-off from the DJ to the band’s keyboardist. Layering in guitar, drums and a team of percussionists, Lost Amigos Invisibles took off with the audience and didn’t stop until the last song of their encore.
With a high-energy stage presence (and a guitarist with seriously high-energy hair), the band seamlessly ran the gamut of Latin American rhythms and European or American dance-pop. Numbers such as “La que me Gusta,” the lead single from the group’s latest album, have a decidedly 1980s-in-Argentina feel, while the wild disco of “El Reino Animal” is a direct descendant of 1970s American disco. From the unexpected reference to the surf rock standard “Misirlou” to the searing merengue finale, Los Amigos Invisibles had an excitable crowd dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
This was not the typical Latin pop or even rock en español concert. Los Amigos Invisibles leans quite a bit more toward straight-ahead funk and disco and away from the seductive grooves and melodies of other Latin fusion groups. This is not to say that the band lacks romantic crooning or hip-shaking rhythms; those aspects are just blended in with the funky keyboard lines and disco-beat drumming.
Whether whistling in harmony, inciting the audience members to respond back to their calls or simply vamping in their unique blend of Latin music and funk, the band onstage had just as great of a time performing music as concertgoers did listening. Los Amigos Invisibles surely accomplished all that they had set out to do.