Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Cuban Brothers were hilarious! I'm so glad I went in spite of my being incredibly exhausted from the busiest week I've had at work so far.

I didn't quite know what to expect other than well, hilarity and hijinks given their reputation as the no. 1 live act in Europe at the moment.True, I'd send the link to the Guardian article to a couple of friends in order to persuade them to come, but hadn't read the article myself. If I had, I would have known better, but my sense of fun and wonder might have been dampened just a little by my knowledge.

The show kicked off with The Cuban Brothers, dressed in bright yellow suits and hats, coming up on stage and performing a song. Right after that, the frontman, Miguel, introduced his brother, Archerio, and his nephew, Kengo San ("half-Japanese, half-Cuban", a fresh graduate of the Havana School of Performing Arts and a giant 'fro), as the dancers for the group, and the DJ, Clemente, as his brother and also his uncle. Turns out that Miguel starred in over 100 pornos in Cuba back in the '70s so close followers of the industry might recognise him as Juan Bandito, "double-O-69", from films such as Brownfinger.

With that lead-in, they go into a performance of Yum Bam Be/Porno Show, a delightful little Spanish tune which seems to have "porno" as every alternate word in the chorus. Midway through that, Archerio bends over, puts his head on the stage for support and sticks his butt in the air, and Miguel comes over and plays the drums on it, prompting me to lean over to a friend and say, "Wow, those really must be buns of steel drums!" Later on, Archerio and Kengo San bust out some wicked breakdance moves and I'm just agog, half-dancing, half-laughing my head off at the sheer audacious ribald humour of it all.

The Cubans then go on to sing a song which Miguel wrote for his good friend, Thom Yorke, and proceeds to show us how it was meant to be sung - apparently, in a strong Cuban accent. After this, they engage in banter with the ground, making comments about how he wants to "finger" a beautiful lady in the audience and yells "I mean touch her, you perverted bastards!" when the rest of us burst into startled laughter at his comments.

Other highlights of the night - and there were so many! - include Miguel singing their latest single, A Million Stories, while Archerio dances on stage while on rollerskates, doing this hilarious dance move where he runs in place with the skates on. Miguel and Kengo also stripped down to their boxers to breakdance as the night wore on, something which the Cubans are apparently famous for, but which I didn't think they'd do in staid Singapore. Even Clemente got in on the dancing, by coming out from behind his console, and busting out some moves in that hilarious way only a middle-aged, lame-ass, drunk guy is capable of.

To end off the night, Miguel sang a song which he wrote for Lionel Richie so many years ago. "Senor Lionel Richie, he came and asked me to write a song for him. I say, Lionel, you cut your hair first and we can work together. He did, so we did," he told us before bursting into All Night Long. In the middle of it, he makes his way to the podium, stands on it and starts singing Too Many Broken Hearts and doing some hand movements that prompt those of us familiar with Zouk to gasp, "is that Mambo?" just before Miguel confirms it, apparently having visited Zouk the night before.

Thus ends the live portion of the Cuban Brothers' show. I'm incredibly high at this point thanks to the heady combination of dancing, violent laughter, cheesy music and alcohol. Because of that, I stay on and dance to the music Clemente spins, which turns out to be mostly oldies and '70s funk remixed with modern R&B, not exactly the kind of music I enjoy. Still, I find myself dancing my heart out to a funky version of Crazy in Love and My Girl and Play That Funky Music. Still later, at the behest of T., I do a parody of a line dance to Dolly Parton - Nine to Five, before Clemente puts on an amazing bootleg of Jay-Z - 99 Problems vs. Nena - 99 Luftballons (a version of which can be found here). Startled, I dance with sheer abandon as the chorus breaks and realise the joy J.D. and Mr. Mueller must have had in that memorable dance scene from Scrubs.

Happy, but tired, I leave before the night ends because I still have to work in the morning. There're so many songs I never thought I would hear in a club ever, I marvel to T., especially not at Zouk of all places! Nevertheless, I had an incredible amount of fun, dancing to music I normally don't enjoy.

Many thanks to Heineken for bringing them in and Zouk for providing such a delightful performance area. Can I put in a request for Basement Jaxx now?

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