Saturday Night: Lanzallamas Monofonica at Transit Lounge

Ben Thacker
Lanzallamas Monofonica backstage before their performance Saturday night at Transit Lounge. Click here to view the full slideshow.
Lanzallamas Monofonica
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Transit Lounge, Miami

Better than: Bourgeois Brickell

Good news Lanza fans: An album cometh. Fabio Patiño and his band of merry melody makers grooved and moved and laid down some serious tracks at Transit Lounge this Memorial Day weekend. The eight-piece "Afro-Latin-America-world beat-mezcla" delivered an impressive two-night performance, soon to be available as the band's first full-length record.

Lanzallamas Monofonica ("monophonic flamethrowers!") is the quintessential Miami band. Made up of musicians from backgrounds as diverse as the compositions they play, Lanza delves deep into the roots of Afro-Latin music, bringing back a little something for everyone. Salsa, samba, rumba, cumbia; English, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian -- all masterfully and convincingly performed as part of their high-energy show.

Patiño, former drummer/vocalist/percussionist for Suenalo, says Lanza is a spirit, spreading the message of unity through song. And the Mexican-born Miami legend-in-the-making clearly believes in what he's singing. Band members joke about Patiño's rehearsal regiment, saying, "He likes to rehearse. A lot."  

And it's evident. The band sounded super tight Friday night, as they flowed flawlessly through their first set. Sophisticated lighting cues and impeccable sound obviously helped, but the essence of the music, and the focused energy of the players is what really drove it home.

Of note musically was the "horn" section, made up of Alison Irvine on violin and Patrick Converse on trumpet. These two Frost Music School grads skillfully handled the complex rhythms and arrangements, blending their sounds beautifully.

Into the night, the eclectic crowd danced and swayed and smiled. The vibe, though distinctly contemporary Miami, was also at times somehow reminiscent of the 1970s fusion scene, particularly Chick Correa's all-star band Return to Forever. Cintia Lovo, Lanza's beautiful and talented female vocalist, paid subtle homage to Flora Purim, while Patiño channeled her genius husband Airto Moreira, another multi-discipline musical mastermind.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm into any bar that serves Chimay Belgian Trappist beer.

Random Detail: The Brazilian "monkey" sounds often heard in Lanza songs are traditionally played on a samba drum called the cuica. Frontman Fabi, however, impressively mimics it with his voice.

By the Way: You can catch the band every fourth Friday this year at Van Dyke on Lincoln Road. Visit for more info.

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Ben Thacker