15/09/11

CHICAGO – Manu Chao sets down an exuberant groove

By Kevin McKeough, Special to the Tribune

September 15, 2011

Manu Chao sets down an exuberant groove

Manu Chao stuck to the basics during the international star’s performance for an ecstatic, near-capacity crowd at the Congress Theatre Tuesday night. Leaving aside the flamenco guitar and clever sound effects that can fill his concerts, Chao and his three-man band kept bodies moving and voices soaring with jubilant mash-ups of punk and reggae during a two-hour concert, half of it a series of increasingly feverish encores.

Born in Paris to Spanish parents, the 50-year-old Chao has been mixing genres and languages in his music since the mid-1980s, winning a worldwide following. Although far from a household name in the U.S., he’s making inroads here, with his current American tour—part of a two-year global trek following his 2009 live record « Baionarena » —including Chao’s debut in a number of cities.

Bare-chested in clam-digger shorts, Chao could have been strolling a beach as he strummed lightly-skipping, Caribbean-inflected chords on his acoustic guitar. Frequently bouncing on the balls of his with age-defying exuberance, he called out in Spanish, French and English in a reedy voice, leading the crowd in singing along to his big, broad choruses. All together now: « Sexo Y Marihuana! »

Drawing on reggae and dub, Chao’s band added shimmering electric guitar leads, thick bass lines and booming kick drum echo on songs including « Mr. Bobby » and « A Cosa, » repeatedly turning on a dime to erupt into roaring buzzsaw chords and stampeding tempos.

It’s was a mix indebted to the Clash, which was most evident early during the encores, when Chao took a sharp turn to the left on the protest songs « Politik Kills » and « Rainin’ in Paradize » (« It’s an atrocity…no democracy…a U.S. country. »)

What was missing was the rich Spanish melodicism and whimsical playfulness that marks Chao’s infrequent records, and Chao’s energy couldn’t entirely overcome the repetitiveness of his groove-then-grind pattern.

If the music could have used more departures like the dreaminess Chao brought to « Mi Vida, » there was no denying the deep grooves of « Clandestino » and « Me Gustas Tu » or the celebratory fervor that had Chao pounding his microphone to his chest and forging a kind of universal language from the crowd’s chants of « Hey, hey, hey » and « Hoyoyoyo. »

Merci de remplir tous les champs




  1. MOI - 

    bien manu te esperamos aqui en Venezuela la ventura

  2. MATIAS GILIBERTO - 

    MANU CHAO LO MEJOR!!!! UN ABRAZO Y SALUDOS DESDE ARGENTINA, ES MUY DIFICIL QUE A UNA PERSONA NO LE GUSTE MANU CHAO SIN ANTES HABERSE DETENIDO A ESCUCHAR SU MUSICA~.

  3. TANIA - 

    manu! ven a los angeles<3 te amamos!

  4. OSCAR - 

    Yo estuve ahí. El concierto estuvo excelente. Muchas gracias Manu. Saludos desde la bella Cd. de Chicago!

  5. COTY - 

    manu !!! para cuando argentina !!!!????

  6. JAIRO COSTA RICA - 

    COSTA RICA LOS ESPERA!!!
    Cada noche cada día, te espero siempre mi amor!

  7. CARLOS ELIZONDO - 

    En Costa Rica te esperamos con los brazos abiertos y con muchas ansias.Saludos!!

  8. SANTIAGO - 

    con tod@s las buenas vibras mr : manu chao ! los angeles ca ahi por la carretera

  9. JUAN - 

    hola MANU, cada dia eres mas grande tio. No voy a descubrir nada, ya sabes que en ESPAÑA se te quiere mucho. ¡¡¡¡ VEN YAAAAA QUE TE ECHAMOS MUCHO EN FALTA !!!!! Queremos verte ya en concierto. Un abrazo tron.

  10. JUAN - 

    Ya sabes que el puerto de Barcelona y la Cava Baja de Madrid sin ti no son lo mismo. España te necesita oirte en concierto, necesita verte andar por sus calles, y beber en sus bares. Se te quiere.

  11. SOPHIE - 

    ET LA FRANCE??? TON PUBLIC VOUS ATTEND… L’AMOUR…

  12. CHEMA CAMEJO - 

    KE PASA MANU,CUANDO VIENES POR TENERIFE,,LAS ISLAS CANARIAS..SALUDOS,,SIN FRONTERAS…..

  13. PRONZATO - 

    désolée j’habite la france(midi-pyrénées) alors c’est quand que tu viens chanter pour nous???? ca manque!!!

  14. MARIE-LISE - 

    En France, on t’attend aussi ! A Rennes. Bises.