The most exciting current synthesis of traditional music and modern sounds is the "rock en espanol" movement, and no one--not even genre heavyweights Puya and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs--does it quite like Cafe Tacuba.
Inspired by a raucous, sweaty, stage-diving audience at the Black Cat on Wednesday, the Mexico City quartet steamrolled its catalogue, which touches on a dizzying array of styles. Cafe Tacuba doesn't merely cross genre lines. It obliterates them.
Bassist Enrique Rangel and keyboardist/programmer Emanuel del Real were the instrumental anchors, while guitarist Joselo Rangel and singer/guitarist Ruben "Cosme" Albarran splayed in myriad melodic directions. "La Locomotora" was driven by Enrique's hook on the tololoche (a form of stand-up bass) and "Chilanga Banda" spiraled around a hip-hop keyboard riff.
Barely pausing for breath, Tacuba tore through five speedy numbers before plunging into a psychedelic instrumental interlude that featured "Reves," half the title of its impossibly eclectic new double record "Yosoy/Reves." The band changed from Mexi-punk to lush samba-like balladry, sometimes in the same song, then pulled into the electronica overtones of "La Uno" and the surf guitar chant of "Guerra."
In a set that was positively thrilling, Cafe Tacuba's spirit evoked Brazil's late '60s Tropicalia movement, an astounding scene that mixed psychedelia, Beatlesesque pop and traditional instrumentation.
When it all came together, the band's ebullient creations proved not just as exciting as anything in "rock en espanol," but as anything in contemporary music anywhere.