I don’t care that Venezuelan pop stars Los Amigos Invisibles sing in Spanish and weave cumbia rhythms and congas into their music — they are the sound of American dance floors in the early 1980s. Slightly disco, but with more of the R&B sound that, at the time, was redefining itself into dance music. Ironic that a band would revive the old club vibe that essentially put cover bands out of business for a few years. DJs ran that show and created the mixes that became the soundtrack for the giant and seemingly endless party that was disco. The music was only about two things: dancing and hooking up. And listening to LAI is like bringing that all back to life, but this time with a hazy acid feel and the aforementioned Latino presence.
“Thanks to ex-President Caldera’s economic policies,” the band writes in their bio, “LAI decides to try their luck with 20 CDs under their arms in New York.” They shopped the CDs to a record store. As luck would have it, David Byrne (ex Talking Heads) bought one. He called the band and offered to sign them to his own label. For the Venezuelans, this was a fortuitous move. “From now on,” the LAI bio continues, “music is no longer a hobby and becomes the profession of the band members.” That entry was dated 1997.
By 2003, critics were calling The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1 a masterpiece. Just short of jam-band status, the Grammy-nominated Los Amigos Invisibles have a killer sense of humor — there is as much buffoonery crammed into their videos as there are cameos by hot Latina babes. And they crank with as much dance-floor passion as did their ’80s forebearers. It sounds so good that you have to wonder if disco is going to rise again, on the backs of newcomers — in polyester and bad wigs and platforms.
LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES: House of Blues, Thursday, August 6, 7 p.m. 619-299-2583. $17.50.