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Average User Rating 9.60
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Here's a nifty little band
Venue/Date: Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, CA)
Concert Date:  
November 11th, 2002
Reviewer: aceshooter

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ROCK REVIEW; Rooted in Mexico, a Band With International Flair

Published: December 4, 2002

Jaguares, one of Mexico's leading rock bands, billed its Town Hall concert on Monday night as an acoustic show, reflecting its new album, ''El Primer Instinto'' (BMG U.S. Latin). Without the imprimatur of MTV, the album unplugs the best-known songs by Saúl Hernández, Jaguares' leader, singer and guitarist, for both Jaguares and Mr. Hernández's previous band, Caifanes. On Monday, the audience came to sing along; as the band played quietly, fans' raised voices could be heard more clearly.

Mr. Hernández's songs take on grand topics -- passion, the meaning of life, the omnipresence of death -- with a gothic sweep. ''I will pray for you until I make the sea rise/ I will change the face of the ancestral mystery,'' he sang in ''Imagíname.'' His voice is hoarse and ragged, as if it's been through lifetimes of suffering. Between songs he spoke quietly and earnestly about struggles for a more just and democratic Mexico and about the influences on Jaguares' music, from the Beatles to 1970's rock to Mexican boleros. He had to ignore shouted requests and chants of ''Méjico! Méjico!'' as he spoke.

Most of Jaguares' music looks across the Atlantic, to English and Irish bands like the Police, Led Zeppelin, U2 and Pink Floyd. Only a handful of songs, among them ''La Celula Que Explota'' and ''La Vida No Es Igual,'' showed Mexican musical roots.

For the first part of the concert, Jaguares performed quietly, picking or strumming acoustic guitars over a subdued rhythm section, and the new arrangements were rarely an improvement. In trying to make the songs more intimate, Jaguares also scaled down its impact and exposed musical flaws, like out-of-tune vocals and guitar. Too many of the new arrangements traded arena anthems for soft rock.

Perhaps Jaguares also thought something was missing. Halfway through the concert, the band switched to electric guitars and surged into songs like Caifanes' ''Afuera'' and Jaguares' ''Cuando la Sangre Galopa.'' Although the band sometimes fell into hard-rock clichés, the more expansive sound captured its ambitions far better.

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