Apparently Ozomatli are named after the Aztec monkey god of dance. It seems a fitting moniker for this hard-to-pigeonhole group from LA, who’ll be visiting the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 29 June with their unique mix of Latino-urban-rock-salsa-hip-hop. Well, we did say they’re hard to pigeonhole.
Ozomatli have an interesting past. Formed during the mid-90s in LA, they’ve never been afraid to express their progressive political views. And although a few eyebrows were raised when they became Cultural Ambassadors for the US State Department during the Bush era, the justification that they wanted to project a “different image of America” does seem pretty logical.
Politics aside, Ozomatli have a reputation for delivering high-energy performances packed with drums, trumpets and sunshine, plus the sort of rhythm you don’t usually see outside Brazil. They like to leave the stage and get up close with the crowd too, so grab your ticket now if audience participation’s your thing.
And while their sound can be a little rough around the edges, that’s just because this eight-piece prefers to get caught up in the moment rather than playing out a painstakingly rehearsed set. In short: whether you like rock, Latin, hip-hop or rap, there’ll be something for you here. Go expecting a gig, but don’t be surprised if it turns into a party before the end of the evening.