France has long had one of Europe’s most dynamic and disparate immigrant populations, so it makes sense that it would produce lots of multiculti musical acts like Sergent Garcia, who are playing tonight at the Logan Square Auditorium. Writing about the band’s Chicago debut back in 2000, I was impressed by their unself-conscious, party-friendly mix of salsa, reggae, funk, dancehall, and hip-hop. I haven’t followed the band for quite a few years, and now such panglobal olios are a dime a dozen, from Ozomatli to Grupo Fantasma.
Mascaras, Sergent Garcia’s most recent album, was released in 2006, and though the band displays an even more fluid command of the international grooves that make up its music—the mix now includes cumbia and reggaeton—it sounds a little glib and faceless to me. But to be fair, I don’t think this is headphones music—Sergent Garcia is for dancing, not for sitting and rigorously analyzing.
The group , part of a tour that was almost scuttled thanks to the usual nonsense from U.S. customs and immigration. According to event organizer David Chavez, four of the band's five Cuban expats (all French residents for more than a decade) were denied entry to the States when Sergent Garcia tried to cross the border after a Canadian tour earlier this month. The band enlisted replacements from Paris and New York to keep the show on the road, and late last week the Cubans were finally granted visas; the lineup in town tonight is the full working band.
Yosuke Yamashita Trio, Clay (Enja)
Jenny Wilson, Hardships (Gold Medal)
Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (Fantasy/Ardent)
Deradoorian, Mind Raft (Lovepump)
Hilde Marie Kjersem, A Killer for That Ache (Rune Grammofon)