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Review + Audio: Grupo Fantasma at The Mill


On Wednesday Night, Grupo Fantasma made a great first impression on Iowa City. A sweaty, funky, irresistibly dance-able first impression. Playing songs in a variety of Latin American styles, anchored by a world class rhythm section, and topped off with a tight, funky brass section, Grupo Fantasma were muy caliente y muy picante!

After a nice, chill opening DJ set by School of Flyentology, which focused on classic soul and hip hop, Grupo Fantasma hit the ground running and did not let up for an hour and a half. They managed to be both incredibly tight and relaxed at the same time. Their original songs are based on the classic rhythms of pan-Latin American dance music, but they convey an authentic spirit without being nostalgic or purist. Deft touches like dubby guitar solos show they’re not afraid to mix in whatever fits. As a live unit, they play fiercely like it’s no big thing, recalling for me the non-stop groove of groups like Los Lobos and Fat Freddy’s Drop.

The crowd at the Mill wasn’t huge, but it did feature several couples with salsa dancing skills that nicely added to the vibe. I really hope Grupo Fantasma makes it a point to come back through Iowa City; even better, if they come back, I hope they can book a second night playing a church hall in West Liberty, which boasts a large, well-established Hispanic community. If they did that, I would take salsa lessons and be ready to make a complete ass of myself.

[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/xfer/GrupoFantasma-2010-06-10.mp3|titles=Live @ The Mill June 9,2010|artists=Grupo Fantasma] Grupo Fantasma @ The Mill — Complete Set!


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