It’s late. I’m tired. I should be sleeping. Listening to a fabulous old vinyl compilation of even older Tito Puente hits. I love the dearly departed, Tito very much. I only discovered him towards the very end of his career but fortunately I was able to see him perform several times in his last years. Such an amazing composer, arranger and performer. The changes in his songs are simply spellbinding. This is one of many records and CDs I picked up on our SF adventure. I hadn’t been in most of a decade and I can’t say things really seemed any different to me. We had a few beautifully sunny days and some crappy, crappy days that made Portland seem tolerable by comparison. The night before we left we had our Atlas show at Holocene. Since we were getting on the plane for SF right after the gig I was simultaneously having to pack for Atlas, pack for the SF gig, and pack for the trip. I have trouble with just one packing experience, much less three overlapping. The Atlas gig went great. Huge crowd, one of our biggest in a while, which is saying something because all our gigs have been great lately.
We slept all day after arriving in SF. Our friend and Bhangra instructor extraordinaire, Joti Singh, took great care of us and made our gig such a success. We went to a mutual friend’s wedding and then had to jet straight to the gig. A reggae band had also been scheduled for an early show and they were still playing when we arrived. At first there were only a few people there to see them but by the end of their set the room was full. They seemed miffed at having to leave the stage but their final song was met with faint clapping and that heartened me to realize that the room was actually full of people that were there to see us. We were lucky to have many friends there. The band took a long time to move their gear and since they were set up on the dance floor it set things back a bit. Joti eventually gave a spirited lesson and quickly it was dancin’ time. We had a good time and already have several interested parties trying to bring us back to SF so hopefully that will happen before too long.
We saw Cheb I Sabbah at Underground SF. He is no longer DJing at his long-time haunt, Nicky’s. His set was almost entirely Bhangra which is quite a difference from when we first saw him several years ago. He was kind enough to give Anjali a pre-release of a new remix album of his which is coming out. In the five years Anjali and I have been DJing Bhangra we’ve seen its profile change quite a bit as it becomes more and more standard as a part of any international DJ’s set list. Even some DJs who years ago claimed they “couldn’t stand” Bhangra. (Not a reference to Cheb I Sabbah.)
Alright, I need to be sleeping. As good as the Tito Puente record is I’ll call it a night. Here’s to you Tito (and Santos too!) wherever you are.