Me + Kinky = 2gether 4ever

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By Molly Freedenberg

Dear Kinky,

Oh, how I love you. Unlike so many other objects of my affection, you always come through. And not just because you come when you say you will, or because you’re always dressed for the occasion, or even because you always act as though there’s nowhere in the world you’d rather be except right here, right now, with me.

No, not only do you always deliver on your promise of high-energy music and a great live show. But you also always exceed my expectations.

Wednesday night at the Independent, you were better, cuter, more energetic, and more incendiary, than I’ve ever seen you before. And that’s not easy, because you were pretty damn good when I saw you at the Knitting Factory in L.A. several years ago. and again at in Santa Barbara during that festival Modest Mouse was headlining with “sunshine” in the title. But this. Oh, God. This.

Could it be that you were riding a post-Coachella high? Or that you noticed at least half your audience actually spoke your native language (unlike, oddly, the shows I saw further down south)? Maybe you’ve just gotten even better at, and even more in love with, what you do.

I dunno. I don’t care. When Gilberto Cerezo came out on stage and said “Hola, San Francisco!”, my heart melted. In fact, could that have been the liquid making my feet stick every time I tried to dance, (which was every fucking second of your set)? Nah, it was probably the beer the girl next to me spilled on my shoulder. When bassist Cesar Pliego started doing his cowboy stomp, the beads of sweat literally rolling off his western-style hat, I fell in love. Then I watched drummer Omar Gongora banging on instruments I don’t even know the name of, and fell in love again. And again with Ulises Lozano -- a rock star with an accordion! – and then again watching the understated, clean-shaven Carlos Chairez playing guitar at the other end of the stage.

And the fact is, you could’ve stropped at being musically groundbreaking and painfully cute. You didn’t also have to be talented. Cerezo sings in two languages, raps, and plays trumpet? Pliego plays electric and stand-up bass? American pop stars don’t even have to play one instrument well to fill a room as big as the Independent – and here you foreigners are putting even folkies to shame with pure musical prowess.

You played your hits. You played new songs. You got the crowd dancing with your Latin -meets-rock-meets-electronica that is so profoundly, uniquely yours. You covered “Mexican Radio” with just the right hint of irony and appreciation. So that when you asked, “Hey San Francisco, do you want more?” before launching into your best-known and beloved song, Mas, every cell in my body was screaming, “Oh my God, yes. I want more. Don’t stop, Kinky. Don’t stop.”

But you did. Not without giving us a few good encores, but you did stop. You had to, I know. I tried to comfort myself with plans of listening to your CD in the car, over and over, like re-reading love letters from a long-distance boyfriend.Kinky-popup.jpg

Then I went home and took a cold shower.

It was still all worth it.

Thank you.

Yours,

Eternally Kinked