Cabaret Diosa promises to make you dance "as if it were your last night on Earth, as if your very pants were aflame with the fires of carnal desire." Quick! Someone toss the band's copywriter into a cold shower.
But once you get beyond the shameless hype and relentless schtick--e.g. "Cabaret Diosa claims no responsibility for the provocative acts engaged in by our wildly undulating throngs of devotees"--there's the music, a rhythmically infectious blend of sounds drawn from Cuba, Brazil and Spanish Harlem. True, this nine-piece Colorado ensemble didn't come by the music naturally, yet what it lacks in authenticity it generally makes up for in spirit and solid musicianship.
The group's new album, "Voodoo Pinata," begins like an old radio show, complete with a welcoming chant and lots of theatrical atmospherics. Soon enough, though, the conceit gives way to breezy ballads ("Comet Samba"), percussion-driven rhapsodies ("Tonight You Will Be Mine") and a series of engaging tunes that celebrate the allure of tango, mambo and salsa. Another tune, the calypso-flavored novelty "Banana Rum," helps make it all go down smoothly.
Music, though, is just part of Cabaret Diosa's flamboyant act. The band members are apt to try their hand at acting in concert, "portraying comedic characters from a fictional Cuban big band of the late '50s, whose wacky adventures comprise the show's theatrical skits." A good thing? That remains to be seen.
Appearing at the Garage on Thursday for the Venezuelan Relief Fund.
* To hear a free Sound Bite from Cabaret Diosa, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8122. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)
CAPTION: Cabaret Diosa--the music's good after you wade through the gimmick.