Venegas makes a fiesta out of a rock show

by Erika Cueva

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Courtesy of Erika Cueva

Some like things sweet, others like things with a little a bit of “limón y sal.” Fans of Julieta Venegas were treated with the latter and then some last Friday night at 4th and B. The Mexican pop-rock singer performed a hearty set at downtown’s large venue with an older, more sophisticated crowd.

Venegas has been featured on the Jack Daniel’s Studio No.7 Latina tour for months but took some deserved time off after the birth of her first child last August. Friday’s performance was one of her first after returning to the stage last month.

During her performance Venegas seemed refreshed and at home. The Tijuana native was in the vicinity of her hometown, after all.

Venegas, svelte and lovely in a flattering white dress, played the accordion, guitar, keyboard and even a ukulele during her 25-song performance. It felt like a real Mexican fiesta; Venegas’ energy filled the venue with a lively, authentic stage presence.

Fans old and new were treated to the singer’s most popular songs from her numerous albums. Songs varying from her 2003 album “Sí,” which propelled her career, to her latest album “Otra Cosa” were performed.

Crowd favorites included “Limón y Sal,” a song about how one must accept their lover’s faults as well as their strengths. This is a universal truism in any language.

“Me Voy,” another hit single, resonated well with the crowd. The rhythmic break-up song is not angry nor bitter. Venegas sang it like a soothing lullaby for aching hearts.

The beauty of Venegas is that she is the type of artist who can transcend language barriers and reach listeners on an artistic level. Though much of her music is performed in Spanish, the tone and melody is such that it can have non-Spanish speaking listeners humming along.

Venegas has had wonderful success fusing pop with the traditional ranchera, Mexico’s folk music equivalent. Her capability to incorporate the accordion, a traditional instrument used in rancheras, fits her music perfectly. The instrument is essential to add the perfect touch of romance many of her songs revolve around.

By the end of Friday night’s performance, the crowd was still calling for more. Predictably, but definitely not regrettably, Venegas and her bandmates came back onstage and performed two last songs.

In a bittersweet concert ending, Venegas performed the strongest song of the evening, “Andar Conmigo,” to the crowd’s delight. The 2007 single is the type of song that lingers in a listener’s head hours after being heard. It’s this sweet resonance that the Venegas show was built upon, and it’s that resonance that reminds the fans of a pleasant evening when they were able to escape the drudgery of their lives and experience something truly cathartic.

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