LOS PRISIONEROS at the Kool Haus, September 3. Tickets: $35. Attendance: 600. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Why was the line outside this under-attended show so long? How can the Kool Haus ATM charge $2.99 to withdraw $20? And where can I get one of those tasty empanadas they're advertising at the box office?
These were the deep philosophical questions flooding my head on the way into the crowd of middle-aged Latin people gathered before the stage. I'd have lots of time to mull them over while a DJ hidden on the side played Spanish pop songs during the wait for Los Prisioneros to seize the night.
Big screens showed projected photos of the band rocking a massive stadium, and an image eerily resembling the Apple computer logo from the cover of their latest album, Manzana, flashed hypnotically on the large balls hanging on both sides of the drum kit.
As the wait stretched to the 90-minute mark, I made a new friend to my left, and we talked about the band's iconic status as the group that exposed social injustice in the wake of Pinochet's tyrannical rule in Chile.
When the four-piece band finally came on at 11:30 pm, the patient and excited crowd went bananas, snapping digital and cellphone cameras, checking the images they'd captured, shaking their heads, deleting the pics and taking new ones.
Wearing matching red T-shirts (guitarist Claudio Narea mixed it up with a Strokes-esque brown jacket), Los Prisioneros, in Spanish, launched into what they do, which is strikingly close to what U2 and a lot of extremely popular American bands do in English.
Singer/bassist Jorge González is very charismatic, favouring one stance in particular: looking triumphantly to the sky, smiling broadly with arms outstretched, fingers pointing.
They even did a Spanish cover of Devo's Whip It Good, which was the only point when they lost people.