Last Night: Bonde Do Rolê at Studio A


Bonde Do Rolê

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Studio A

Better Than: Carnival at Rio.

In a mish-mash of Western, Latin and African sounds, Brazilian quartet Bonde Do Rolê got the crowd shakin’ their respective asses last night as they introduced their new lineup after lead singer Marina Ribatski unexpectedly left the group late last year. If they proved anything last night is that they found not one, but two suitable replacements that bring much to the table. Ana Bernardino screams and roars with such ferocity that it felt safer to take a few steps back, while Laura Taylor melodically sings, keeping the sound close to that of when Ribatski was still in the group.

Long-time members Pedro D’Eyrot and Rodrigo Gorky for the most part let the girls steal the spotlight, but each still showed they have much more experience performing in front of a live crowd than Taylor or Bernardino do. D’Eyrot played MC for the night, working the crowd and speaking a mix of English, Portuguese and Spanish, while Gorky commanded the DJ equipment, coming out from behind the decks every now and then to join in on the fun.

They churned through their set list quickly – about an hour to be exact – performing fan favorites like “Gasolina”, “Solta O Frango” and “Office Boy”. While their sound is definitely influenced by their native baile funk sound, their roots are undeniably punk rock. Their songs are short; most clock in at well under three minutes and at points different sounds seemed to be coming from all over the place. Samples of Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”, “Summer Nights” from the Grease soundtrack, and Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” added both a familiarity and vitality to otherwise unintelligible sounds to non-Portuguese speakers.

But that’s sort of point. Even in Portuguese, the lyrics are mostly gibberish to begin with. Bonde Do Rolê has and will always be about fun, party music made to make an audience work up a sweat. And last night’s crowd acted accordingly, dancing, shaking and pumping their fists to show the group they were enjoying the show.

Critic’s Notebook:

Personal Bias: Laura Taylor's exceptionally good looks won me over early on.

Random Detail: Taylor and Bernardino were selected through a competition done by the boys and MTV Brazil.

By The Way: Bonde Do Rolê missed their opportunity to sing their quirky b-side “Miami Beach” to, well, a Miami crowd.

- Jose D. Duran